The 66th Sydney Film Festival happens in June, and – in the lead-up to the announcement of the full program on May 8 – organisers have dropped a first look 25 films that'll be screening this year.
Standouts include The Final Quarter, which follows Indigenous footballer Adam Goodes’s stand against racism (and the subsequent backlash); Amazing Grace, a 1972 Aretha Franklin show filmed by Sydney Pollack; High Life, a sexually charged sci-fi thriller from French director Claire Denis (Chocolate), which stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche and singer André 3000 (really); and Michael Winterbottom’s noir thriller The Wedding Guest, starring Dev Patel (Lion, Slumdog Millionaire).
The list of documentaries includes Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, an exploration of humankind’s devastating impact on the planet; The Hope Six Demolition Project, a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of British musician PJ Harvey’s 2016 album of the same name; and School of Seduction – Three Stories from Russia, which delves into Russian workshops where women learn skills for seducing rich men.
As expected, there’s a solid line-up of Australian films. In She Who Must Be Obeyed Loved, the life of pioneering Indigenous filmmaker Alfreda Glynn is celebrated by her daughter and granddaughter. Animals, from Adelaide director Sophie Hyde, stars Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat and Holliday Grainger from The Borgias as best friends drinking and sleeping their way through Dublin until something unexpectedly tests their bond.
Film guru David Stratton (formerly of At the Movies) has also put together a program of 10 films directed by leading Australian female filmmakers for the Essential Australian Women Directors imitative. Each film signals a milestone in Australian film history, from the silent movie The Cheaters to Bedevil, the only film by Indigenous artist Tracey Moffatt.
The festival will take place at venues across the city including the State Theatre, Dendy Opera Quays and Newtown, Randwick’s Ritz Cinema, the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace in Cremorne and Casula Powerhouse.
Sydney Film Festival’s full program will be released on May 8. The festival runs from June 5 to 16, and flexi-passes and subscriptions are now on sale.