The 2011 Sydney Film Festival is upon us, and with 161 films, from 42 different countries, in 49 different languages, the festival once again promises to be a diverse and memorable experience for cinephiles.
The Australian premiere of the high octane thriller Hanna will open the Sydney Film Festival at the State Theatre on the 8th of June. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana, Hanna marks a departure for British director Joe Wright, who is better known for his period dramas Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. Cate Blanchett will attend the opening night.
12 movies are featured in the Official Competition, with local films and international releases duking it out for the top prize of $60,000. Among them is the erotic drama Sleeping Beauty, the directorial debut of novelist Julia Leigh which stars Emily Browning in a daring role; A Separation, the Asghar Farhadi directed drama which won the film and ensemble acting awards at the Berlin Film Festival; and the much awaited return of master filmmaker Terrence Malick, with his anticipated drama The Tree of Life starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, finally making its way to our screens.
Chen Kaige, one of China’s most influential directors whose Farewell My Concubine won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, will play the role of Jury President. His period film Sacrifice is also playing in the festival.
Also in competing are 10 local documentaries for the Foxtel Australian Documentary Prize, with a cash prize of $10,000. The 10 finalists shortlisted for the completion include the controversial Scarlet Road, which looks at the sex lives of people with disabilities; Dancing with Dictators, which focuses on the arrest and imprisonment of Australian newspaper publisher Ross Dunkley by the Burmese government; and I’m Not Dead Yet, where the life of influential and politically incorrect Australian country singer Chad Morgan is looked upon.
With so many films, categories have been created to help navigate the vast field of quality movies on offer:
FIRE ME UP fuels the flames of controversy and revs up the action, and features the likes of the acclaimed Japanese thriller 13 Assassins (director Takashi Miike) and Errol Morris’ latest documentary Tabloid.
TAKE ME ON A JOURNEY will sweep you away with its selections, led by the western Meek’s Cutoff starring Michelle Williams.
Closing the festival on the 19th of June is the whimsical drama Beginners from director Mike Mills, which stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer.
Yet that is not all. With retrospectives, forums, and many, many more films, the 2011 Sydney Film Festival is the place to be for film lovers of all tastes. Check out their website and book your tickets now!
The 2011 Sydney Film Festival runs from 8-19th June,
to view the full programme click here