Here are 27 new films to be featured in this year's festival,
plus a 10-film Ingmar Bergman retrospective curated by David
Stratton. This preview gives you a taste of the range of features
and documentaries you will find in the full program released
Wednesday 6 May at 11am. Tickets to all films will also be
available from this date.
Brendan Cowell's directorial debut - starring Patrick Brammall,
Alex Dimitriades, Abbey Lee, Robyn Nevin and Jack Thompson - is a
hilarious, bittersweet love letter to Sydney, a beautiful city with
a dark side.
Our Closing Night Film is under wraps until our full program
launch on Wednesday 6 May, but you can secure your seat now to this
signature Sydney Film Festival event. Bid a fond farewell to the
62nd annual Sydney Film Festival at an evening filled with acclaim,
applause, awards and another example of the best in film at the
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance, this darkly
funny, unconventional western is thrilling and romantic. A
mysterious traveller (Michael Fassbender) conceals his motives from
the lovelorn and naïve Scottish teenager (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who
embarks on a perilous quest to find his beloved in 1800s Colorado.
Ben Mendelsohn is brilliant as a fur-clad outlaw.
Swedish cinematic visionary Roy Andersson (You, the
Living, SFF 2008) brings his trademark absurdist humour and
singular vision to this winner of the Venice Golden Lion. Zipping
back and forth through time, and peopled with a bizarre, yet
strangely familiar cast of characters, the film is a meticulous
series of tragicomic vignettes.
David Stratton will present a program of 10 essential
classics directed by the great Ingmar Bergman from 6-14 June 2015.
The renowned critic and broadcaster will introduce each screening
in the retrospective program.
Aged 93 and long-retired, Sherlock Holmes (beautifully acted by
the great Ian McKellen) lives in a farmhouse and tends to his bees.
Struggling with his fading memory, Holmes is determined to solve a
mystery that has tormented him for decades. Inspired by his
housekeeper's son, he sets about cracking one final case.
Nicole Kidman makes a welcome return to Australian independent
cinema in this striking film. The teenage children of Catherine
(Kidman) and Matthew (Joseph Fiennes) mysteriously disappear from
the outback town the family has recently settled in. When local cop
Rae (Hugo Weaving) tries to solve the case, he uncovers a dark
history with repercussions for him too.
One of the hottest films at Sundance, this eye-opening look at
the Church of Scientology is the latest offering from Oscar-winning
documentarian Alex Gibney. Expect a candid portrait of the
eccentric founder L. Ron Hubbard and his church's rise to power and
fortune, with the help of tax breaks and Hollywood A-listers like
John Travolta and Tom Cruise.
Musical genius Brian Wilson is portrayed brilliantly by both
Paul Dano and John Cusack in this beautifully moving portrait.
Love & Mercy looks at the seminal moments of Wilson's
life, from the period in which the Beach Boys were churning out
chart-topping hits to the recording of the magnificent 'Pet Sounds'
and his battle with mental illness.
The Look of Silence is a companion piece to Joshua
Oppenheimer's Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing (SFF
2013), but a very different journey. While the earlier film
concentrated on the killers' account of the 1960s Indonesian
communist purge, the second focuses on the victims, their families
and community. Their story, however, is no less harrowing.
This fabulously funny and gory Kiwi horror flick was the talk of
this year's SXSW Film Festival. When metal-thrashing teenage
misfits Brodie and Zakk find a strange piece of sheet music they
accidentally summon a hideous supernatural entity. With nothing
less than the annihilation of human existence on the beast's
malevolent mind, carnage and hilarity ensue.
A new cut of this 1998 cult-classic ode to
hedonism at legendary New York disco Studio 54 celebrates director
Mark Christopher's homoerotic original vision. The naïve Shane
(Ryan Phillippe) uses his undeniable sex appeal to climb the club's
hierarchy. Mike Myers is scintillating as dissolute club owner
Steve Rubell; Salma Hayek and Neve Campbell co-star.
Winner of the People's Choice Award at Toronto, this eloquent
documentary celebrates the resilience of the inhabitants of
war-torn Sudan's Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain communities. Through
traditional music and dance, they cope with this conflict with an
exuberance that may seem at odds with the terrain in which they
The infamous 1968 televised clash between left-leaning novelist
Gore Vidal and conservative author William F. Buckley, Jr. is the
subject of this entertaining documentary. Directors Robert Gordon
and Oscar-winner Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, SFF
2013) skilfully blend vintage footage and more contemporary
interviews with humorous and fascinating results.
The joy and potential of two-wheeled transport, in an era when
the design of our cities is determined by the automobile, is
explored in this timely, globetrotting documentary. Activists and
thinkers from São Paulo, Toronto, Stockholm and Los Angeles fight
for better cities, refusing to stop riding despite the increasing
number of traffic-related fatalities.
A Special Jury Award winner at Sundance, this revealing look at
today's China is from the team behind festival favourites Last
Train Home (SFF 2010) and Fallen City (SFF 2013).
With extraordinary access, they document non-conformist Mayor Geng
Yanbo of Datong and his controversial efforts to revive the glory
of the former capital of Imperial China.
Dubbed the next Slumdog Millionaire, this funny and
charming film from South India is for both adults and older kids.
Two mischievous and resourceful brothers living in poverty in a
Chennai slum see an ad for pizza and become determined to taste
this magical food for the very first time, setting off an adventure
full of both triumphs and setbacks.
Fiercely compassionate, honest and moving, Dreamcatcher
is the latest from renowned documentarian Kim Longinotto
(Sisters in Law, SFF 2005). This compelling portrait of
former sex worker Brenda Myers-Powell, who mentors Chicago's
streetwalkers through her Dreamcatcher Foundation, earned
Longinotto the Documentary Directing Award at this year's
This sensual melodrama is a chronicle of a lesbian S&M
relationship between Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen,
Borgen) and Evelyn (Chiara D'Anna) who engage in an erotic
game of increasing strain and intensity. The Duke of
Burgundy is both a heart-warming romance and an homage to
European erotica: kinky, funny and a pleasure from start to
Daring, sexually explicit and wildly funny, Peter Greenaway's
latest film depicts Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein's visit to
Mexico in 1931 to shoot a film. Politically and financially
vulnerable, Eisenstein - together with his Mexican guide, Palomino
- experiences the ties between sex and death through 10 days that
would shape his life and career.
This gripping chronicle from documentarian Jerry Rothwell charts
the birth of Greenpeace from 1970s Vancouver to international
status. Revealing interviews, excerpts from eco-warrior Bob
Hunter's eloquent writings, and compelling archival footage, reveal
how internal squabbling and power plays endangered the group's
Following his Oscar-nominated exposé of sexual abuse in the army
(The Invisible War), director Kirby Dick tackles the tough
issue of rape on American college campuses from Harvard to
Berkeley. The facts are staggering: of the one in five women
sexually assaulted only a handful of cases are reported. Two young
women decide to fight back using a little-known case law.
In this sweet, sexy ensemble drama from former 'pink film'
director Ryuichi Hiroki, a love hotel in Tokyo's red-light district
plays host to its occupants' illicit goings-on. J-pop band AKB48's
Atsuko Maeda (Tamako in Moratorium, SFF 2014) stars in
this bittersweet portrait of disaffected urbanites that combines
graphic sex and sentimentality.
This exquisitely crafted, award-winning portrait of a South
Korean couple married for 76 years was a box office sensation in
its homeland. The couple's love seems immutable and you can well
imagine these lovebirds in the bloom of youth. But time stands
still for no one, and Jo Byeong-man, the older of the duo at 98, is
becoming increasingly frail.
Shot in striking black and white, Necktie Youth is a
visually stunning tale of disaffected youth in contemporary
Johannesburg. A year after the live-streamed suicide of their
friend Emily, Jabz and September take a drug-fuelled trip through
the affluent suburbs of their city, discussing bizarre sex,
politics and race, and finding themselves in increasingly strange
This complex mystery of deceit is director Christian Petzold's
sixth collaboration with Nina Hoss (including Barbara, SFF
2012). A concentration camp survivor returns to Berlin and attempts
to reclaim the life she was stripped of. With nods to Hitchcock's
Vertigo, and a brilliant final scene, the power of
Phoenix lasts long after the credits roll.
This enchanting treat for families is inspired by Ireland's rich
Celtic folklore. Ben and his fairy-like sister, Saoirse, live on a
rocky island, where seals bob up to inspect their every activity.
Nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year's Oscars, this
legend-inspired tale is chock-full of glorious imagery, captivating
critters and lilting Gaelic music.
Set in Ramallah, the directorial debut from award-winning
screenwriter Suha Arraf (The Syrian Bride, Lemon
Tree) offers a rare glimpse into aristocratic Palestinian
Christian society. Shut away in their villa, three unmarried
sisters cling desperately to their former glory until their
orphaned niece arrives to turn their world turns upside down.
This emotionally gripping noir is Partho Sen-Gupta's first
dramatic feature in a decade. Shifting between dream and reality, a
grief-stricken Mumbai police inspector - played almost wordlessly
by Adil Hussain (Life of Pi) - searches for his kidnapped
six-year-old daughter, haunted by visions of an elusive spectre and
the seedy Paradise nightclub.
Set during America's 2008 housing crisis, this intelligent,
adrenaline-charged thriller from Ramin Bahrani generated tremendous
buzz at Venice, Toronto and Sundance. Desperate construction worker
(Andrew Garfield) is seduced into accepting a job with a ruthless
real estate broker played by Michael Shannon, the very man who
evicted him from his family home.