The Sydney Film Festival (SFF) hits the “play” button, screening a myriad of new and old, Australian and international flicks as part of this year’s program in a celebration of raw innovation and emerging talent both behind and in front of the camera from 8 to 19 June 2022 in cinemas across the city.
After a brief intermission due to global health restrictions, the world, both on and off-screen, has re-opened and “we’re seeing a resurgence of gutsy, innovative and compelling storytelling,” says SFF Director Nashen Moodley. “The twenty-two films revealed today take us on a kaleidoscopic odyssey of the human experience. Travel across space and time with features about lovers bonding in virtual reality through the COVID-19 lockdowns, to rich Westerners behaving badly in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, to a single mother liberated from her husband in 1980s Paris. And land back in Australia for tales of a millennial’s Instagram-obsessed hen’s weekend that goes very badly.”
Additional picks include Luke Cornish’s Sydney documentary Keep Stepping, about two remarkable female performers training for Destructive Steps (Australia’s biggest street dance competition) in a tale of love, obsession, and the transformative power of performance. In the same beat, Macario De Souza’s film 6 Festivals doubles as an emotional tale of friendship and a celebration of Australia’s iconic festival scene, with cameos by several notable local music acts, including Bliss n Eso and Peking Duk, as a young group of friends attempt to attend as many music festivals as possible in the wake of their friend’s serious diagnosis.
Please Baby Please is a genderqueer musical starring Andrea Riseborough and Demi Moore as a 1950s Manhattan couple unlocking a sexual awakening within themselves after witnessing a violent incident. Asa Butterfield and Gwendolyn Christie star in Flux Gourmet, a deliciously deadpan comedy by British outré cinema master Peter Strickland, an outrageous film depicting the residency of a “culinary collective” that turns cooking sounds and supermarket shopping into performance art. Slowing down the pace, direct from the 2022 Rotterdam International Film Festival is Australian docudrama The Plains, set almost entirely in the world of a car during peak-hour traffic in Melbourne by director David Easteal. The film paints a compelling portrait of a fifty-something lawyer facing an existential crossroad. Private Desert, the Venice Days 2021 BNL People’s Choice award-winning film, is Aly Muritiba’s poignant tale exploring ideas around desire and masculinity, following a disgraced police officer who wanders the country in search of an online lover who has ghosted him.
International close-ups include cult French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux’s goofy time-travel romp Incredible But True, starring Alain Chabat, which sees an average suburban couple move into their dream home only to become victims of strange bouts of topsy-turvy time travel as a result of their mystical basement. And on the family-friendly, PG-rated reel, Super Furball Saves the Future, a fun animated film following a young girl who must save the world from a future without bees. Directed by Joona Tena, this film is perfect for kids (both young and old) from 10 years and up.
Hit rewind; the world premiere of We Are Still Here can be viewed at SFF’s Opening Night Gala on Wednesday 8 June, at the State Theatre, followed by a post-screening celebration at Sydney Town Hall. The film is a multi-genre First Nations collaboration that interweaves eight stories by ten directors from Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Told through the eyes of eight heroic protagonists, traversing over 1,000 years, We Are Still Here reflects on the strength of love and hope required to overcome shared traumas, both past and present.
Sydney Film Festival also presents a number of events, including parties, talks and awards. Visit their website for the full program.