Who can believe it's been a fortnight* since we bid adieu to the 57th Sydney Film Festival? Something about the heady cocktail of sleep deprivation and party's over syndrome provides quite the rocky welcome back to reality; what do you mean we can no longer spend days in the cozy confines of the State Theatre watching back-to-back films?
Fortunately, however, the party can continue, as a raft of festival favourites will soon be making their way back onto Sydney screens. Here are some of the cinematic gems you should begin eagerly anticipating:
Taika Waititi’s Kiwi comedy is breaking all the records in New Zealand and may well do the same here when it’s released on August 26 (it already took out the festival Audience Award for best Fiction Feature). This is an utterly charming coming-of-age story about an eleven year old (James Rolleston) reuniting with his father (Waititi), and, set in the 1980s, there are E.T., Michael Jackson and Shogun jokes a plenty. You'll definitely laugh and may just need to wipe away a tear or two as well.
British satirist Chris Morris is known for his fearless brand of comedy (if you haven’t heard of Brass Eye, here’s a taste) and doesn’t disappoint now he’s taken on terrorism. The concerted efforts of a group of British Muslims preparing for jihad make for comedy gold; just take a look at the trailer. There’ll be more news from Concrete Playground in the lead up to the film's release on August 19, so stay tuned.
The Waiting City
A tender and honest Australian love story set against the chaos of Calcutta, this debut film by writer/director Claire McCarthy features truly wonderful performances from Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton. Marriage, motherhood, trust and loss are all tied up in a spectacularly photographed film that will be released on July 15.
The Kids are All Right
Lisa Cholodenko’s sublime take on the modern family closed the festival to many chuckles and much applause. The brilliant cast sees Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a married couple with two teenage children (Josh Hutcherson and Australia’s Mia Wasikowska), who go behind their mums' backs to meet their biological father (Mark Ruffalo). It’s a warm, wonderful comedy with many intelligent observations to make. You’ll have to wait until September 2 for it’s theatrical release, but in the meantime, go and rewatch Cholodenko's fabulous Laurel Canyon.
And just briefly, here are four films without set release dates, but they deserve to be on your radar: Spenser Susser’s debut film starring Joseph Gordon Levitt as an anarchic, heavy metal squatter Hesher, James Franco in powerful Allen Ginsberg biopic-cum-poetry recital Howl, the impossibly cute documentary Babies and the fascinating tribute to indefatigable New York fashion photographer and octogenarian Bill Cunningham New York (which won an Audience Award for best documentary at the festival).
Published (*22 June) on Concrete Playground