In two weeks time, Sydney’s biggest annual film event is about to take place. For many cinephiles like my self, our Christmas’s are about to happen all at once. For 12 days Sydney Film Festival 2018 will screen 257 films from 65 countries. So no matter what your favorite genre or style is, whatever actors or directors you fancy, spoken or unspoken language you speak, you will defiantly find what your looking for.
Indeed, for his seventh year at the wheel, festival director Nashen Moodley has once again spoiled Sydney movie-goers for choices, but still remains true to his stance that film has the social power to move not only people but mountains too. By allowing the viewer to experience situations so different from their own, in a country so distant from their own and arrive at an understanding that all people have the same concerns, desires and needs.
So without further a due here is my top 5 picks on my must see list for Sydney Film festival 2018, word to the wise though don’t wait to long cause tickets are selling fast, grab yourself a flexipass and get booking.
Disobedience (USA): Based on the novel by Naomi Alderman and directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Sebastian Lelio (Gloria, A fantastic woman) Disobedience tells of story of New York photographer Ronit Krushka (Rachel Weisz) who upon learning about the death of her estranged father, returns to London in order to pay her respects. The welcome she receives isn’t a warm one, as Ronit is returning to the same Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her decades earlier for her childhood attraction to Esti (Rachel McAdams), a female friend. Their fortuitous and happy reunion soon reignites their burning passion as the two women explore boundaries of faith and sexuality.
The Guilty (Denmark): A sympathetic ear and willingness to help is what you expect when you dial 000. That’s not what happens when Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) answers. “It’s your own fault, isn’t it?” he tells one caller. But this demoted cop with a bad attitude springs attentively to life after receiving a call from Iben, a distressed mother who claims her violent ex-husband has kidnapped her. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman.
Searching (USA): After David Kim (John Cho)’s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective (Debra Messing) is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter’s laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter's digital footprints before she disappears forever.
Upgrade(Australian): Grey (Logan Marshell-Green) is an old-school mechanic in a near-future where Artificial Intelligence does almost everything. After low-life scumbags murder his wife (Melanie Vallejo) and leave him paralysed, Grey is implanted with STEM, a miracle-performing microchip. Soon, he’s transformed into a super-warrior bent on revenge. Director and Screenwriter Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious) delivers a cyberpunk-horror-action thriller that is bound to have you laughing and rioting in the isles.
You were Never Really Here (USA, UK, France): Director and Screenwriter Lynne Ramsey has a gift for getting into the mind of troubled characters (We need to talk about Kevin, Ratcatcher). In her latest film Ramsey introduces us to Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) a hulking, heavily bearded blank whose mind flickers with snapshots of a horrific childhood and his traumatic military experiences. A hired gun for a private detective, Joe specialises in rescuing missing girls from sex traffickers. When his mission to save a senator’s daughter Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov) spirals out of control, Ramsay brilliantly makes us feel the horrors she very deliberately does not show. A superb score by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood adds the finishing touch to a devastating film about the after-effects of physical and emotional violence.