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Sydney Film Festival 2003 Preview
by Michael Collins and Stephen Groenewegen

It’s Sydney Film Festival time again with 2003 being its 50th year. The festival has something for everyone, but to what category of Everyone do you fit into and which films fit into that category? Worry not film festival fans, EFC will help you out. Read on and you’ll find a list of categories to help in finding the film for you for SFF 2003.

WHAT DID EVERYBODY ELSE THINK

Festival prize winners from other festivals include:
MONDAYS IN THE SUN - Best Film at San Sebastian Film Festival
MINIMAL STORIES - Prize winner at Fribourg, Nantes, Havana and San Sebastian Film Festivals
STEVIE - Grand Prize winner at 2002 IDFA Film Festival
AMANDLA - Audience Award for Documentary Sundance Film Festival
HUKKLE - European Film Award for Discovery of the Year
CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND - Silver Bear Award for Best Actor (Sam Rockwell)
BROKEN WINGS - Nine Israeli Academy Awards, winner at Jerusalem, Tokyo and Palm Springs Film Festivals
PERSONAL VELOCITY - Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Sundance Film Festival

A number of the festival films have already been reviewed by our writers. So don’t rely on that one paragraph blurb in the festival guide. Check out what our writers have to say.

RAISING VICTOR VARGAS http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6875
THE SPANISH APARTMENT (L'Auberge Espagnole) http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7654
STEVIE http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7385
BUS 174 http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7634
GERRY http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7015
HUKKLE http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6783
CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6500
THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6820
SPELLBOUND http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7496
THE SEA http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6781
CABIN FEVER http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7206
AUTO FOCUS http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6234




GIVE ME HOLLYWOOD

CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND is George Clooney’s directorial debut which he also stars in along with Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore.

KEEPING IT FOR REAL

Documentaries are sure fire winners when you are trying to pick which films to see purely on a single paragraph description from the program.

Oliver Stone has COMANDANTE about Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
SPELLBOUND follows the kids who do those spelling competitions climaxing with the National Spelling Bee which carries a ten G prize.
JIMMY SCOTT
THE ORIGINAL MERMAID

I LIKE MY FILMS BOTH WAYS

There are a number of films with gay themes.
YOSSI AND JAGGER is an Israeli gay war film. Don’t see that a lot.
MADAME SETA is about an uneducated six foot tall 170 pound gay street fighting killer Brazilian who doubles as a cabaret drag queen. Don’t see that a lot either.
BECOMING JULIA tells the story of a guy from Bathurst who wanted to be a woman. So he became one. People from Bathurst are going to love this one.
DON’T WORRY IT WILL PROBABLY PASS. A world premiere, this film tells of a girl who placed an ad looking for girls who are attracted to both boys and girls. She did the same thing fifteen years later meeting up with a few of the same people.
ROAD MOVIE - Korea’s first gay film apparently.


THE SIGHT OF MUSIC

AMANDLA
TOGETHER is a Chinese film telling the story of a 13 year old violinist living in provincial China.
SEVILLE SOUTH SIDE is sure to be a winner for flamenco fans.
THE SWEATBOX details pop star Sting’s dealing with Hollywood. As usual with dealings with pop stars and /or Hollywood, it involves scandal, ego, betrayal and frustration.
JIMMY SCOTT is a jazz vocalist who sang with a feminine voice due to Kallman’s Syndrome. What’s Kallman’s Syndrome? See the film and find out.
NAQOYQATSI


C’MON GIRLS LET’S SHOW THE GUYS HOW IT’S DONE

Irani film often have feminist themes and I’M TARANEH, 15 continues that trend. Want to know what it would be like to be 15, engaged, pregnant and alone? Then see this.
THE ORIGINAL MERMAID is a doco about the girl from Marrickville who inspired The Million Dollar Mermaid? Heard of that one? No? Well see this and find out all about it.
PERSONAL VELOCITY is three stories in one about modern American womanhood.

YOU CAN’T SCARE ME

The SFF coincides with a Friday 13th, so a special night of pants wetting films are on offer which look great.
ARAGAMI (A Chinese film that looks like Chinese Ghost Story), UNDEAD, and CABIN FEVER. The gore and body count should be up to standard in these films so don’t miss it.

TALKING IS OVERRATED

AMANDLA A REVOLUTION IN FOUR PART HARMONY is a musical documentary of the importance of music in urging political change.
With no dialogue whatsoever, HUKKLE is worryingly described as Microcosmos meets Twin Peaks. What the hell would that mean? More helpful is that it’s a cross between a nature documentary and murder mystery.
There’s two silent films on offer SHRAZ (1928) and JAVIER TELLEZ AND TITICUT FOLLIES (1967). I guess it doesn’t matter if you talk during these movies.
NAQOYQATSI is the long awaited third instalment in the Godfrey Reggio/Philip Glass montage trilogy. Translated as, ‘war as a way of making life Naqoyqatsi was ten years in the making and is a must for fans of the first two parts of the trilogy.

FORGET HOLLYWOOD, I WANT BOLLYWOOD

A TALE OF A NAUGHTY GIRL
BOLLYWOOD QUEEN is actually English and has a star crossed lovers theme. Might be this year’s Bend It Like Beckham.

ME IS ONLY WANNA TO SEE ONE OR TWO DIG, ON A NIGHT OUT TO FOOL ME MATES INTO FINKIN’ I’M A WELL ‘ARD FINKIN’ KINDA PERSON, LIKE

KEN PARK
CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND

I’LL ONLY PUT UP WITH THOSE BLASTED SUBTITLES IF IT’S SOMETHING COOL LIKE AMELIE OR RUN LOLA RUN

Amelie star Audrey Tatou does make an appearance in THE SPANISH APARTMENT. This one looks funny, so it might be your thing.

AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE! - MOVIES! MOVIES! MOVIES!

THE HONOURABLE WALLY NORMAN - opening night film. No-one knows why as it seems an unusual choice for the honour of opening the festival. We'll reserve our final judgement when we see the film.
PRESERVATION is a story of a couple of outsiders during the late 19 century. Starring the always good Jacqueline McKenzie and Simon Burke this one looks pretty cool.
PURE is actually English, but it stars David Wenham as a pimp. From Diver Dan to Dan the Pimp Man - who’da thunk it?
THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE
A COLD SUMMER
UNDEAD

YEAH I WOULDN‘T MIND SEEING IT, BUT I MIGHT WAIT WHEN THEY‘RE OUT AT THE MULTIPLEXES AND A BIT CHEAPER

For the patient and financially challenged among you there are some of these films pencilled in for Australian cinematic release.

19 June - Naqoyqatsi
10 July - Auto Focus, Personal Velocity
24 July - Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
31 July - Wilbur wants to kill himself
21 August - Raising Victor Vargas
28 August - The Man on the Train
11 September - Cabin Fever
18 September - Together
September - Broken Wings
9 October - The Honourable Wally Norman
October - Swimming Pool

Although you should see them at the festival before everybody else so as to impress your friends and score with the movie groupies.

ARE THERE ANY FILMS WITH - Y’KNOW, REAL SEX?

You might be in luck.

SEX IS COMEDY is directed by Catherine Breillat who did Romance which did include actual penetration. Sex Is Comedy stars Roxane Mequidox. She was the cute one in Fat Girl (also directed by Breillat) where her character was raped. The rape scene included the guy - shall we say - at full attention, with Mequidox being barely 14 or so when the film was made. So Sex Is Comedy is bound to be a riot.

There’s also Larry (Kids) Clark with his film KEN PARK which takes on sexual themes in his usual explicit and confronting style.

If that sounds a little too heavy then there’s FRIDAY NIGHT. It’s French and talk of it mentions sex a lot. That’s always promising for at least some soft core action.

GIVE ME FIVE

That’s always so hard, but I’d go with:

COFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND
THE SPANISH APARTMENT
SPELLBOUND
NAQOYQATSI
SEX IS COMEDY


GIVE ME TEN

The above five plus:

PRESERVATION
KEN PARK
ARAGAMI
UNDEAD
CABIN FEVER

If you want to count the horror triple bill as just one film (and you should) then throw in:

BROKEN WINGS
PERSONAL VELOCITY

STEVE‘S TOP 10 CHOICES

CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND
A TV host who moonlighted as a CIA assassin? The bizarre story of Chuck Barris, as told by Charlie "Adaptation" Kaufman and directed by George Clooney, promises to be irresistible. These two sessions will sell out. Book NOW.
A COLD SUMMER
Aussie director Paul Middleditch's follow-up to the underrated and sadly little-seen Terra Nova.
SWIMMING POOL (Closing Night)
One of the few films to receive raves at Cannes this year, hotshot Director François Ozon reteams with Charlotte Rampling (Under the Sand) and Ludivine Sagnier (8 Women) for a murder mystery.
PERSONAL VELOCITY
A Sundance prize-winner from writer-director Rebecca Miller, who also has some impressive connections - she's the daughter of legendary playwright Arthur Miller and wife of Daniel Day-Lewis.
PRESERVATION
Not only is first-time writer director Sofya Gollan a graduate of both NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) and AFTRS (Australian Film Television and Radio School), but she's been deaf since birth. That's worth repeating - deaf.
GERRY
Gus Van Sant directs Matt Damon and J. Lo's future brother-in-law in a
real-time homage to Hungarian art-house director Béla Tarr. Anyone
Expecting Good Will Hunting 2 is in for a rude shock.
HUKKLE
Speaking of Hungary, how often do we get to see Hungarian films in Sydney? Let alone Hungarian films without any dialogue.
PURE
Another grim English film about drug addiction and poor families, but Pure features the always compelling David Wenham in a career about-face as a pimp and drug pusher.
WATERMARK
Georgina Wallis' shortish (76 minutes) film was selected for the
Prestigious Directors' Fortnight at last month's Cannes Film Festival (not that you'd know from the Australian Film Commission's lack of publicity for it). This is our chance to discover firsthand if it's any good.
THE SWEATBOX
Disney asks Sting to write songs for animated movie. Sting's wife starts filming. Disney decides to drop most of Sting's songs from the movie. Prospect of a fly-on-the-wall doco suddenly becomes interesting.


GIVE IT TO ME I CAN TAKE IT - I WANT THE FULL ON FILM FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE.

Then be a subscriber.

48 films for $155 amounts to just $3.23 each. Bargain! But you’ll never want to see another film for the rest of your life.

So that’s the festival. We’ll be doing regular reports and reviews of the festival so stay tuned to find out what’s best and not so best of the fest. More info on the festival can be found at: http://www.sydneyfilmfestival.org/2003program/default.asp , but stick with us. We’ll keep you on the pulse.


link directly to this feature at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=737
originally posted: 05/28/03 06:12:16
last updated: 01/03/04 00:33:55
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