When you’re faced with a film festival program entitled Infinite Stories, it can be a little daunting. Infinite, you think? Really? How many hours in a day do they think I have? Luckily, incoming Festival Director Nashen Woodley is not being literal; he’s more referring to the thrill of a crowd sharing a story in a darkened room – a thrill, that is, no doubt, infinitely regenerating. But to make things easier for you, we’ve put together our shopping basket of must-see Sydney Film Festival stories; capped at a manageable ten.
Not Suitable For Children (pictured) Fanboys and girls may come for the star billing of True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten, but will stay for what promises to be a nuanced study of the tenacity of life in the face of premature death. Filmed in inner-city Sydney by first-time WA director Peter Templeman, it also stars faces-to-watch Sarah Snook and Ryan Corr.
Jun 6 (7.30pm, State Theatre) & Jun 9 (4pm, Event)
Dead Europe You loved The Slap – will you love its zombie-populated predecessor? With the inimitable Ewen Leslie on-board as gay, Greek photographer Isaac, and director Tony Krawitz (Jewboy, The Tall Man) behind the lens, all signs point to yes.
Jun 14 (6.30pm, State Theatre) & Jun 15 (12pm, Event)
Moonrise Kingdom (pictured) This is the much-anticipated newie from quirkmeister Wes Anderson, starring big-screen legends Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzmann and Tilda Swinton. Nuff said.
Jun 8 (8.30pm, State) & Jun 9 (9pm, Event)
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry An extraordinary insight into the life of persecuted artist Ai Weiwei; his work (including Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium) and activism (“I don’t think I’m a dissident artist; I see them as a dissident government.”)
Jun 9 (2pm, Event) & Jun 16 (6.30pm, Event)
The Imposter This unnerving Texan doco comes served with ample spades of industry buzz; and no wonder in a prodigal son case in which the truth is truly stranger than fiction.
Jun 9 (9.35pm, Dendy Opera Quays) & Jun 17 (8pm, Dendy Opera Quays)
On The Road Can Kerouac be converted to celluloid? Only time will tell, with this Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) directed adaptation with Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen behind the wheel.
Jun 10 (2pm, State) & Jun 12 (5pm, Event)
Where Do We Go Now? A delightful follow-up to the debut Caramel from the director (Nadine Labaki) dubbed the Lebanese Pedro Almodovar, cheekily mixing religious strife with Ukrainian dancing girls.
Jun 8 (6pm, Event) & Jun 9 (2pm, Event)
Under African Skies Cultural appropriation? Or theft? The debate still rages around Paul Simon’s seminal album Graceland, and here Philip Glass, Quincy Jones and Dali Tambo weigh in on the issue against a backdrop of vibrant archival footage.
Jun 8 (6.30pm, Event) & Jun 10 (2.30pm, Event)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (pictured) A fantastical feature-film debut set in an isolated bayou known as The Bathtub; where six-year-old Hushpuppy must fend for herself against prehistoric beasts and a ferocious storm.
Jun 8 (6.30pm, State) & Jun 9 (12pm, Event)
Barbara Winner of the Best Director prize at Berlinale, Barbara is the tale of an exiled German paediatric surgeon, living with the dual threats of intimacy and oppression.
Jun 13 (8.30pm, State) & Jun 15 (2pm, Event)