Showing all posts tagged: Sydney Film Festival

Letterboxd scavenger hunt for Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City

2 June 2023

The Australian premiere of the latest Wes Anderson feature, Asteroid City, takes place in less than a week on Thursday 8 June 2023, at the 2023 Sydney Film Festival.

If you need a little something to keep you occupied between now and then though, help contain the excitement and all, film social network Letterboxd is running the Asteroid City Scavenger Hunt for the next two weeks:

Every day for the next fourteen days, a new item will be hidden on Letterboxd somewhere in the extended Wes Anderson universe of films and their creators. We’ll drop daily clues on our social media, and once you have collected all fourteen items, you’re automatically in the draw to win the grand prize: a private screening of Asteroid City for you and your friends at your nearest cinema.

Letterboxd, in case you’ve not heard of it, was established in New Zealand in 2011, by Matthew Buchanan, and Karl von Randow, and I’ve been a member since 2012. If you’re looking for a place to discuss film, and film only, Letterboxd is where you need to be.

And here’s something, the screenplay for Asteroid City is available to buy in hardback book, or Kindle format, from Amazon on Tuesday 22 August 2023. I didn’t know that was a thing.


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Asteroid City Australian premiere at 2023 Sydney Film Festival

10 May 2023

Asteroid City, by Wes Anderson, film still

Still from Asteroid City, directed by Wes Anderson.

The full program of the 2023 Sydney Film Festival was published earlier today, and the news is especially good for fans of American filmmaker Wes Anderson. His new film, Asteroid City, will have its Australian premiere on Thursday 8 June 2023, at the State Theatre in Sydney. The storyline is perhaps best described as being very Wes Anderson.

Asteroid City is set in a fictional American town of the same name in 1955, and follows the story of Woodrow (Jake Ryan), who is driving his children across the country to see their grandfather (Tom Hanks). When their car breaks down in Asteroid City, the family is forced to spend time in town.

Their arrival coincides with the annual stargazers’ convention, an event which intrigues Woodrow’s son. The convention takes place on what’s known locally as Asteroid Day, which commemorates the day, thousands of years earlier, when an asteroid struck the region. Strange events begin taking place however, leading some people to suspect extra-terrestrials are responsible.

Additional screenings of Anderson’s latest feature also take place the next day at Hayden Orpheum Cremorne on Friday 9 June, and at the Randwick Ritz on Saturday 10 June. Asteroid City opens nationally in Australian cinemas on Thursday 22 June 2023*.

* according to the Internet Movie Database that is. Flicks meanwhile suggests Asteroid City opens on Thursday 10 August 2023.


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Sydney Film Festival unveils first twelve films for 2023

5 April 2023

The Sydney Film Festival, now its seventieth year, has announced the first twelve films that will be part of the 2023 program. Afire, trailer, by German filmmaker Christian Petzold, who made the brilliant Barbara in 2012, caught my eye immediately with its storyline, that among other things, includes an out of control bush fire:

Friends Leon (Thomas Schubert) and Felix (Langston Uibel) head to an idyllic seaside holiday home for the summer. They look forward to relaxation, but also must work on their creative projects. Leon will finish the manuscript of his anticipated second novel, while Felix has to complete a photography portfolio. On arrival they find an unexpected guest Nadja (Paula Beer, Undine), whose loud sex with local lifesaver Devid (Enno Trebs) elicits irritation… among other feelings. Soon Leon is smitten with Nadja, and Felix taken with Devid — and the summer holiday is filled with lust, jealousy, competition and creativity. All the while the forest fires, once distant, encroach and grow, leading to a shocking climax.

The full program of the festival will be announced on Wednesday 10 May 2023.


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Close by Lukas Dhont wins 2022 Sydney Film Prize

21 June 2022

Belgian film director and screenwriter Lukas Dhont’s 2022 feature Close was named winner of the 2022 Sydney Film Prize, on the closing night of this year’s Sydney Film Festival.

Thirteen-year-olds Leo and Remi are best friends. We meet them running happily through vast fields of flowers. They dream of unimaginable wealth, of being stars on YouTube. Remi is an aspiring musician, and Leo is his greatest fan. Theirs is a loving and genuine friendship. And then they start high school. For the very first time, their closeness comes into question as they are teased and taunted by their schoolmates. Gradually a rift develops between the friends, with tragic consequences.

So far I can’t find any information about a theatrical season in Australia, so at the moment it looks like streaming or the film festival circuit are your best bets. No actual trailer that I can find either, but there is this short clip from the film here.


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Before, Now & Then, by Kamila Andini, Sydney Film Prize contender

18 May 2022

Before, Now & Then, trailer, by Indonesian filmmaker Kamila Andini, is one of twelve films in competition for the Sydney Film Prize, at the 2022 Sydney Film Festival:

Kamila Andini tells a very personal story set against the backdrop of tumultuous political times in Indonesia in this beguiling period drama. Nana (a luminous Happy Salma) loses her family, including her husband, in the war in West Java. Years later, now in the 1960s, we meet her again. Her poverty now a thing of the past, she has remarried a significantly older man, Mr Darga, who is wealthy and a philanderer. Though her life is comfortable, Nana’s dreams are still occupied by the past.

A chance discovery of a carelessly forgotten item of clothing leads Nana to discover that Darga is having an affair with an even younger local woman, Ino. What follows is unexpected. Rather than a confrontation, Nana and Ino become friends, and take comfort in each other, jointly imagining a path to freedom. Meanwhile, through talk in the town of secret communists, and on radio broadcasts, the political tensions that will alter the future of Indonesia are made clear.

Before, Now & Then, also known as Nana, is competing against eleven other films for the Sydney Film Prize, the winner of which will be announced on Sunday 19 June 2022.

It looks like a tight contest to me.


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Keep Stepping, a documentary by Luke Cornish

19 April 2022

Keep Stepping, trailer, by Sydney based documentary maker Luke Cornish, which has its world premiere at the 2022 Sydney Film Festival, explores the world of competitive street dancing in Australia.

On Sydney’s urban fringe, two young women battle for a better life in the underground world of competitive street dance. Patricia, Romanian-born and hanging out for a visa, is a breakdancer. Gabi, of Chilean-Samoan heritage, pops with power. Both dream of escaping the rough hand they’ve been dealt. Will a win at Australia’s biggest dance competition Destructive Steps – in which 60 contestants compete in the preliminary rounds – be their golden ticket? Or will the external pressures of financial hardship and volatile relationships stop them from even reaching the dancefloor?


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Sydney Film Festival announces first 22 films for 2022

6 April 2022

The Sydney Film Festival has unveiled the first twenty-two movies that will be featured at this year’s event. Among their number is The Passengers of the Night (Les passagers de la nuit), directed by French filmmaker Mikhaël Hers, and starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, as a woman trying to get her life back on track.

Election night, 1981. Socialist François Mitterrand has been declared president and there are hopeful celebrations across Paris. But it is not a happy night for Elisabeth (Gainsbourg, Antichrist), whose marriage has come to an unexpected end. She must find the means to support herself and two teenaged children. When she lucks upon a job on her favourite talkback radio show, she meets Talulah (Noée Abita, Slalom, SFF 2021), a charismatic young woman who is struggling, and invites her home. Free-spirit Talulah has a lasting impact, inspiring confidence in each of the family members.

I couldn’t find a trailer, but did locate a clip of this scene from the film.


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Trailer for Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World”

15 October 2021

The Worst Person in the World (trailer), the latest work by Norwegian film director Joachim Trier, stars Renate Reinsve as a young woman named Julie who has trouble finding a balance between her love life and professional life. Peter Bradshaw, film writer for The Guardian described Trier’s feature as an instant classic. The Worst Person in the World screens three times as part of the Sydney Film Festival in early November.


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The Power of the Dog, by Jane Campion

14 October 2021

The Power of the Dog, the latest film by Sydney based New Zealand director Jane Campion stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank, a rancher living in the American state of Montana in the nineteen-twenties.

When his brother George (Jesse Plemons) marries the widowed Rose (Kirsten Dunst), a furious Phil takes to tormenting Rose, and her son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Quite abruptly though, he seems to soften his stance, and begins warming to Peter. But is Phil’s change of heart sincere, or does he have an ulterior motive? The Power of the Dog screens at this year’s Sydney Film Festival on Friday, 5 November.


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The French Dispatch, by Wes Anderson

13 October 2021

The French Dispatch is the twentieth (or so) film by prolific American filmmaker Wes Anderson, and will be the closing feature of this year’s Sydney Film Festival. Set in the offices of a fictional American magazine, in a fictional French town named Ennui-sur-Blasé, the story follows the ins and outs of the paper’s journalistic staff.

Long time Anderson collaborators Owen Wilson and Bill Murray are among the star studded cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Anjelica Huston, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Liev Schreiber, Saoirse Ronan, Jeffrey Wright, and Léa Seydoux. Count me in then for the closing night of the Sydney Film Festival.


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