The 69and The Sydney Film Festival has unveiled the first 22 new films to be screened in this year’s event, which will mark a return to its winter schedule, after two years of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns associates.
The Sydney Film Festival 2022 will take place from June 8-19.
“This first look at the Festival’s 2022 program gives audiences a taste of the selection and flavor of films featured in our first full-scale Festival since the start of the pandemic,” said Sydney Film Festival Director, Nashen Moodley.
“The past few years have been difficult for the film industry, with many films halting production across the world. Now that the world is starting to open up again, we are seeing a resurgence of bold, innovative and compelling stories It’s an exciting time to program a film festival when there is such a wealth of groundbreaking films, giving audiences the opportunity to experience unique and timely stories from home and around the world.
“The 22 films unveiled today take us on a kaleidoscopic odyssey of the human experience. Travel through space and time with stories about lovers bonding in virtual reality through COVID-19 lockdowns, wealthy westerners behaving badly in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, a single mother freed from her husband in 1980s Paris. And land in Australia for the stories of an Instagram-obsessed girls’ weekend gone horribly wrong.
“From an insightful documentary revealing the struggles of the indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people to protect their Amazonian homeland to a real-life story following the training of street dancers for Australia’s biggest dance competition, these films are indicative of the incredible local and international titles on this year’s programme.
The first announcements of the program
Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes show the public that revenge is a dish best shared on Instagram with sissy. An SXSW hit, this clever Aussie horror sees an influencer played by Aisha Dee (The fat guy) meets her childhood bully during a girls’ weekend.
The inimitable John Michael McDonagh’s (Calvary – SFF 2014) black comedy drama The Forgiven features global stars Jessica Chastain (Oscar winner for Tammy Faye’s eyes – SFF 2021) and Ralph Fiennes (The white crow – SFF 2019) depicting the entitlement of Westerners juxtaposed with the lives of ordinary Moroccans in an unforgiving neo-colonial society.
Luke Cornish’s documentary Sydney keep walking is about two remarkable female performers training for Australia’s biggest street dance competition, Destructive Steps: a story of love, obsession and the transformative power of performance.
Winner of the Audience Award and the Special Jury Prize (World Cinema Documentary) at Sundance 2022, The territoryis Alex Pritz’s first film about the struggle of the indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people of Brazil as they are forced to protect their homeland from ambitious, underpaid farmers.
Live from the World Cinema Documentary Competition at Sundance 2022, Joe Hunting’s We met in virtual realitywhere love, fantasy and technology merge in this groundbreaking documentary filmed entirely in the world of VRChat during the pandemic.
Macario De Souza (Boys Bra) movie 6 Parties doubles as an emotional story of friendship and a celebration of Australia’s iconic festival scene, featuring cameos from several notable local music groups, including Bliss n Eso and Peking Duk, as a young band of friends tries to attend as many music festivals as possible in the wake of their friend’s serious diagnosis.
Asa Butterfield (Sex Education, X + Y – SFF 2015) and Gwendolyn Christie (Game of Thrones, fabric – SFF 2019) star in Gourmet Feeda deliciously tongue-in-cheek comedy from British master of outrageous cinema Peter Strickland (Fabric – SFF 2019), for a scandalous film depicting the residence of a “culinary collective” that transforms the sounds of cooking and grocery shopping into performance art.
In Fabric by Peter Strickland is now streaming on SBS On Demand
by French filmmaker Mikhaël Hers (Amanda) slice-of-life drama set in 1980s Paris, passengers of the night, throws Charlotte Gainsbourg (sunset, tree – SFF 2010, Antichrist) as a single mother rediscovering herself after being abandoned by her husband.
please baby please is a genderqueer musical starring Andrea Riseborough (Shepherds and butchers – SFF 2016) and Demi Moore (Songbird) as a 1950s Manhattan couple unlocking a sexual awakening within themselves after witnessing a violent incident.
Direct from the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2022 is an Australian docudrama The plainsset almost entirely in the world of a Melbourne rush hour car by director David Easteal (monaco). The film paints a striking portrait of a lawyer in his fifties facing an existential crossroads.
Devery Jacobs (Reservation Dogs, The Midnight Sun – SFF 2017) social drama stars Bootleggerabout two women with opposing positions in the debate around the legalization of the sale of alcohol in a First Nations community in northern Quebec.
International festival winners include winner of Golden Shell at San Sebastián 2021, Blue Moonwhich portrays a young woman in rebellion against her dangerously dysfunctional family in a gripping feature debut from Romanian director and screenwriter Alina Grigore.
Winner of the Direction Award (World Cinema – Documentary) at Sundance 2022, A house made of shards by Simon Lereng Wilmont (The distant barking of dogs – SFF 2018), is a moving documentary filmed in pre-invasion Ukraine, chronicling a small group of tireless social workers who run a temporary shelter for neglected children.
Winner of the 2022 Toronto NETPAC Award and the 2022 London Film Festival People’s Choice Award Costa Brava, Lebanonfeatures BAFTA nominee Nadine Labaki (Rock the Casbah – SFF 2014) and Saleh Bakri (Wajib – SFF 2018). The film follows a family who left life in Beirut for a more peaceful existence in the mountains, only to find that escape isn’t so easy.
Toronto Platform Award Winner 2021 yuni by Indonesian filmmaker Kamila Andini (The visible and the invisible – SFF 2018) follows a brilliant Indonesian student, exploring her ambitions in contrast to the societal pressures she faces in her conservative Indonesian community.
Venice Days 2021, winner of the BNL People’s Choice award, private desert is Aly Muritiba (Rust) poignant tale exploring ideas around desire and masculinity as the film follows a disgraced police officer who wanders the country in search of an online lover who has ghosted him.
Also from Sundance 2022 are Girls CalendarSwedish filmmakers Maria Loohufvud’s and Love
Martinsen’s uplifting and joyful documentary about a 60-plus-year-old female dance troupe; as well as Sirensby Rita Baghdadi (My country is no more) gripping documentary about the Middle East’s first all-female queer death metal band that skillfully captures their magnetic energy while highlighting their struggle to carve out a place for themselves in the culture of their homeland.
European cinema will be strongly present throughout the Festival’s program with tales such as Softthe first Hungarian film selected in competition at Sundance, starring real bodybuilder Eszter Csonka, an athlete ready to sacrifice everything for perfection and success.
Oscar winner Stefan Ruzowitzky Counterfeiterspays homage to the great era of German Expressionism with the winner of the Audience Award at the Locarno Film Festival Countrysidea visually stunning thriller set in the underworld of post-World War I Vienna, about a returned POW’s quest to catch a serial killer.
And that of cult French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux (deer skin) wacky time travel Incredible but true with Alain Chabat (indigo in mood – SFF 2018), sees an average suburban couple moves into their dream house only to become victims of strange episodes of upside-down time travel due to their mystical basement.
Deerskin by Quentin Dupieux is now airing on SBS On Demand
Friendly and family
The first of this year’s family films is Super Furball saves the future, a fun animated film following a young girl who must save the world from a future without bees. Directed by Joona Tena (Arctic Circle).
The full Sydney Film Festival program is announced on Wednesday 11 May 2022.