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SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 2007 – PREVIEW

AUSTRALIA TO THE FORE
A large Australian selection combines with 60 new films from around the world – including opening night’s La Vie En Rose - in Clare Stewart’s debut program for the Sydney Film Festival (June 8 – 24) of 290 films, including 113 features, 86 documentaries and 91 shorts.


The Australian premiere of the highly anticipated Edith Piaf biography La Vie en Rose will open the festival on 8 June, directed by Olivier Dahan, featuring a career defining performance by Marion Cotillard. Day Watch, the sequel to the horror hit, Night Watch, from Russia’s Timur Bekmambetov, will close the festival on 23 June.

This year’s selection of Australian films will be bigger than ever, tackling a wide range of contemporary issues. Feature films in the section include Tony Ayres’ The Home Song Stories, whose cast includes festival guest Joan Chen and which achieved critical acclaim at Berlin earlier this year; West, Daniel Krige’s edgy drama set in Sydney’s western suburbs (featuring Khan Chittenden, Nathan Phillips and Gillian Alexy). Emma Lung stars in The Jammed, directed by Dee McLachlan, a gritty social thriller about human trafficking inspired by actual events; and Lucky Miles, a comedy from first-time feature director Michael James Rowland which tackles one of Australia’s hottest topics - illegal immigration. Also topical is Cross Life directed by Claire McCarthy intertwining stories from the Kings Cross area of the city.

Documentaries include Temple Of Dreams set in Sydney’s west which provides a different take on the Islamic community in Australia and Rachel: A Perfect Life, directed by Fiona Cochrane, the story of a NSW woman’s fight to control her epilepsy. The Fibros and the Silvertails starts out as a story of the feud between the Wests and Manly in the late 70s and turns into a film about class and corruption, portraying social history, sports history and political essay all rolled into one.

By contrast, In The Company Of Actors, directed by Ian Darling, follows the success of the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Hedda Gabler, and features festival patrons Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving. In Our Name is the new film from multiple Dendy Award winner Christopher Tuckfield, an investigation of the use of torture; and Bomb Harvest documents the work of Australian bomb disposal expert Laith Stevens in Laos.

ACCESSIBLE CINEMA brings powerful and inspiring films by or about people with a disability to Sydney. The eye-opening documentary Autism Every Day follows a day in the life of eight families with children who have autism and Blindsight, produced by festival guest Sybil Robson Orr, follows the awe-inspiring journey of six blind teenagers who climb Mount Everest. In the moving Hear And Now filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky’s parents decide to undergo cochlear implant surgery after 65 years in silence while Braindamajd’d…Take II follows filmmaker Paul Nadler’s amazing recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury.

WORLD VIEWS offers a selection of more than 60 new titles from across the globe. Highlights include 12:08 East Of Bucharest (Romania) the winner of the Golden Camera at Cannes and After The Wedding (Denmark), which received an Academy Award© nomination for Best Foreign Language film and features a knockout performance by Mads Mikkelsen. Also included is the hilarious Black Sheep (New Zealand) which already looks set for cult status and Away From Her (Canada) the directorial debut from respected Canadian actress Sarah Polley, starring Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent and Olympia Dukakis.

David MacKenzie follows Young Adam with Hallam Foe (Scotland), starring Jamie Bell and Clare Forlani and festival guest, screenwriter and director Jeff Nichols, presents his first feature Shotgun Stories. Bella (USA), directed by Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, won the Audience Award at Toronto and the stripped back and minimal approach of Beaufort (Israel), ensured Joseph Cedar the Best Director Award at this year’s Berlinale.

The Walker (USA), directed by Paul Schrader, has a strong ensemble cast including Woody Harrelson, Lauren Bacall, Lily Tomlin and Kristin Scott Thomas. Also featuring a stellar cast is writer-director Craig Brewer’s anticipated Black Snake Moan (USA), starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake.

WORLD VIEWS also features Spanish thriller Me. Lead actor Alex Brendemühl and the director Rafa Cortés are both guests of the festival and the film will also screen as part of Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival. Screenwriter Wahid Hamed will be in Sydney with Yacoubian Building (Egypt), an epic tale of a famous Cairo building and its residents. Further highlights include the exuberant Hana from Japan and the perfectly formed The Last Dining Table from Korea.

The deeply evocative films in TURKISH POETS reflect the rich complexities and profound contradictions of contemporary Turkey. Echoing the literary poetics of Nobel prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk, are award-winning films such as Climates, Takva – A Man’s Fear of God and Times and Winds. Other films screening in this section include feature film Riza, documentaries To Make An Example Of and Housekeeper along with select short films.

STORIES FROM BRAZIL showcases an eclectic mix of stories and the renewed energy of Brazilian cinema. Highlights include the sassy and streetwise Antonia which follows four girlfriends splitting from their roles as back-up singers and starting their own R&B and Brazilian hip-hop group; the visually and aurally arresting Cattle Callers explores ‘aboio’ – a singing style invented by Brazilian cowboys; Suely In The Sky which centres on an impoverished, but full-of-life character determined to change her fate. Also included in STORIES FROM BRAZIL is the double bill Mapping Brazil which features Săo Paolo_CityTellers which documents the survival tactics of a few of the city’s 18 million residents and Accident which captures the rhythms of daily life across 20 cities and towns in south-east Brazil.

NEW CROWNED HOPE comprises of a daring collection of films - Dry Season, Half Moon, Opera Jawa, Paraguayan Hammock, I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone, and Syndromes And A Century. Mozart’s Visionary Cinema: New Crowned Hope was commissioned by Peter Sellars, the Artistic Director of Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival, in partnership with Illumination Films to celebrate Mozart’s 250th anniversary. Each film responds to the dominant themes of Mozart’s final works – magic transformation, forgiveness and reconciliation and recognition of the dead.

EMERGING TALENT focuses on festival guest and award-winning Dutch filmmaker Nanouk Leopold who wowed critics and audiences at this year’s Berlinale with Wolfsbergen (2007). Leopold’s previous two features Guernsey (2005), which was selected for Directors Fortnight at Cannes and Îles Flottantes (2001) screen along with Leopold’s graduation short Weekend, demonstrating the developing talent of a rising star.

For the first time, Sydney Film Festival is devoting a strand of the program to KIDS’ FILMS, created to give the young people of the city a chance to see some fantastic films from around the world. The first film to screen in the strand is the 1953 musical fantasy The 5,000 Fingers of Dr.T, the only film ever scripted by ‘Dr. Seuss’. Other highlights include Dorm a ghost story (and winner of the Glass Bear for Best Children’s Feature Film at the Berlin Film Festival) from Thailand, Swedish feature Kidz in da Hood, French animation U and the enchanting Winky’s Horse. Sydney Film Festival is also delighted to present Pixar: 20 Years of Animated Shorts. Festival guest and Pixar character animator Gini Santos will introduce the Australian premiere of the Academy Award© nominated short film Lifted, along with nine other short films from Pixar.

SOUNDS ON SCREEN offers a selection of music documentaries, live events, screenings, shows, parties and dance lessons.

Published May 10, 2007
 

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La Vie En Rose - opening night film


Festival Director Clare Stewart

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West


Daywatch - closing night film


The Home Song Stories


Blind Sight


The Jammed







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