SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 2009 – PREVIEW
A CHANGED LOACH HERALDS A CHANGED FEST
Ken Loach doesn’t usually do ‘funny’ so his new film, Looking for Eric, is
newsworthy and no wonder Clare Stewart has chosen it to open this year’s Sydney
Film Festival; we need a good laugh that’s not at the expense of our bumbling
politicians. And there are three Australian films out of the 12 in the
Competition, albeit not comedies, vying for the $60,000 Hunter Hall cash prize,
reports Andrew L. Urban. But it also ends on an upper, with Lone Scherfig’s An
Education. In between, a new Foxtel-sponsored doco competition kicks off, in
what is a year of change all round.
There is a clear sense of change in this year’s Sydney Film Festival, as it
shortens its run to 12 days, introduces a new competition for docos, shifts the
programming to ‘visceral’ groupings and expands its menus of local and
Teri Hatcher will be at the Australian premiere of Henry Selick’s Coraline on
Wednesday, June 10 and director John Woo will walk the red carpet for the
Australian premiere of his film, Red Cliff, on Tuesday June 9. Three of the
Competition films are direct from the 62nd Cannes Film Festival: Altiplano, Face
and Opening Night film Looking for Eric.
World Premieres include Rachel Ward’s Beautiful Kate and Khoa Do’s Missing
Water; International Premiere: Tsai Ming-liang’s Face; Australian Premieres (as
well as the Cannes films): Peter Brosens and Nicholas Winding Refn’s, Bronson,
Henry Selick’s, Coraline, Steve Jacobs’ Disgrace, Steven Soderbergh’s The
Girlfriend Experience, Gustave de Kervern and Benoit Delépine’s Louise-Michel,
Sebastián Silva’s The Maid and Alexey German Jr’s Paper Soldier.
Rachel Ward, Bryan Brown and Clare Stewart at the launch
And there’s more – premieres from seasoned filmmakers like Claire Denis’ 35
Shots of Rum; Stephen Frears’ Cheri; Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard; Jerzy
Skolimowski’s Four Nights with Anna, Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control, Abbas
Kiarostami’s Shirin and Hirokozu Kore-eda’s Still Walking.
Other Australian films in the program include the first Australia/Israel
co-production, Tatia Rosenthal’s animated feature $9.99 (voices of Geoffrey
Rush, Anthony LaPaglia) and Andrew Lancaster’s Accidents Happen (starring Geena
Davis), Glendyn Ivin’s Last Ride (featuring SFF Patron Hugo Weaving), and
Jonathan auf der Heide’s Van Diemen’s Land.
First-time filmmakers and established documentarians are among the ten
selected finalists to be shortlisted for the inaugural Foxtel Australian
Documentary Prize. Shortlisted films: Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s Bastardy and
Cicada, Bentley Dean and Martin Butler’s Contact, Nicky Crowther’s A Fortunate
Soldier..., Safina Uberoi’s A Good Man, Brian McKenzie’s Meet Me at the Mango
Tree, David Bradbury’s My Asian Heart, Michael Angus & Murray Fredericks’ Salt,
Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw’s Stolen, and Megan Doneman’s Yes Madam, Sir.
In addition, Clare has managed to squeeze in a Retrospective: Girls 24/7,
selection of films by women directors from the 60s and 70s that include new 35mm
prints of Angès Varda’s Cléo from 5 to 7, and Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman;
as well as Restorations that include Wake In Fright (1971) and the 65th
anniversary of D-Day on June 6 is marked with a screening of Overlord, an
extraordinary film from 1975 that combines archival images of this historical
landing with a fictional story about a young soldier, followed by Q&A with
director Stuart Cooper.
The special screening of Bob Fosse and Liza Minnelli’s 1972 history-making
collaboration, Liza with a Z (made the year they won Oscars for Cabaret)
followed by a Q&A live via satellite with Minnelli.
Perhaps unavoidably, there is also a Sustainability sidebar showing films
that deal with the environment, and of course, something for the family, films
about disability, silents and a glam-bam for Fashionistas, featuring behind the
scenes expose from Vogue, The September Issue.
The program is varied, interesting and has a fresh feel, offering respect as
well as cinematic adventure, political correctness as well as rebellion.
Published May 21, 2009
Email this article
Looking for Eric
Sydney Film Festival
June 3 -14, 2009