The 69thth The Sydney Film Festival has unveiled the first 22 new films to be screened at this year’s event, which will mark a return to its winter program, after two years of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdowns.
Sydney Film Festival 2022 takes place from 8 June to 19 June.
“This first tasting of the festival’s 2022 program gives audiences a snapshot of the selection and taste of films at our first full-scale festival since the pandemic began,” said Sydney Film Festival director Nashen Moodley.
“The last few years have been tough for the film industry, where many films have stopped production across the globe. Now the world is starting to open up again, we are seeing a resurgence of brave, innovative and compelling storytelling. It is an exciting time to program a film festival when there is such a vast array of groundbreaking films that allow audiences to discover unique and current stories from home and around the world. “
“The 22 films unveiled today take us on a kaleidoscopic odyssey of the human experience. Travel across space and time with features about boyfriends who bond in virtual reality through COVID-19 lockdowns, to rich westerners who perform “bad in the high Atlas Mountains of Morocco, to a single mother who was freed from her husband in 1980s Paris. And landed back in Australia for tales of a millennial’s Instagram-obsessed chicken weekend going very badly.”
“From an insightful documentary that reveals the struggle of the native Uru-eu-wau-wau people to protect their homeland in the Amazon to a reality story that follows female street dancers training for Australia’s biggest dance competition, these films are signs of the incredible local and international titles in this year’s program. ”
Early program announcements
Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes show the audience that revenge is a dish that is best shared on Instagram Sissy. A SXSW success, this smart Australian thriller sees an influencer played by Aisha Dee (The bold type) encounters the tormenting spirit of his childhood on a chicken weekend.
The incomparable John Michael McDonagh’s (Calvary – SFF 2014) black comic drama The forgiven featuring global stars Jessica Chastain (Oscar winner for Tammy Faye’s eyes – SFF 2021) and Ralph Fiennes (The white crow – SFF 2019) depicts the rights of Westerners compared to the lives of ordinary Moroccans in a ruthless neo-colonial society.
Luke Cornish’s Sydney Documentary Keep stepping is about two notable female artists training for Australia’s biggest street dance competition, Destructive Steps: a tale of love, obsession and the transformative power of performance.
Winner of Audience Award and Special Jury Award (World Cinema Documentary) at Sundance 2022, The territoryis Alex Pritz’s debut about the struggle for the indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people of Brazil, as they are forced to protect their motherland from underpaid and ambitious peasants.
Directly from the World Cinema Documentary Competition at Sundance 2022 is Joe Hunting’s We met in Virtual Realitywhere love, imagination and technology merge in this groundbreaking documentary filmed right inside the VRChat world during the pandemic.
Macario De Souza’s (Bra boys) movie 6 festivals serves as an emotional tale of friendship and a celebration of Australia’s iconic festival scene, with comedians from several notable local musicians, including Bliss n Eso and Peking Duk, as a young group of friends try 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, in fabric – SFF 2019) contributes Flux Gourmeta delicious deadpan comedy by the British outrage cinema master Peter Strickland (I Stof – SFF 2019), for a monstrous film that depicts the stay in a ‘culinary collective’ that turns cooking sounds and supermarket shopping into performance art.
Peter Stricklands In Fabric is now streamed on SBS On Demand
The French filmmaker Mikhaël Hers’ (Amanda) slice-of-life drama set in 1980s Paris, Passengers of the Night, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg (Sunset, The Tree – SFF 2010, Antichrist) as a single mother rediscovering herself after being abandoned by her husband.
Please honey is a genderqueer musical with Andrea Riseborough (Shepherds and Butchers – SFF 2016) and Demi Moore (Songbird) as a 1950s Manhattan couple unlocking a sexual awakening in themselves after witnessing a violent incident.
Directly from Rotterdam International Film Festival 2022 is Australian documentary drama The plainswhich takes place almost exclusively in the world of a car during peak hours in Melbourne by Director David Easteal (Monaco). The film paints a compelling portrait of a fifty-something lawyer facing an existential crossroads.
Devery Jacobs (Reservation dogs, The sun at midnight – SFF 2017) participates in social drama Bootleggerabout two women on opposite sides of the debate over legalizing the sale of alcohol in a First Nations community in northern Quebec.
International award winners
International festival award winners include the Golden Shell winner at San Sebastián 2021, Blue moonwhich depicts a young woman rebelling against her dangerously dysfunctional family in a gripping first feature by Romanian writer-director Alina Grigore.
Winner of the Instructional Award (World Cinema – Documentary) at Sundance 2022, A house made of splinters by Simon Slope Wilmont (The dog’s distant barking – SFF 2018), is a heartbreaking documentary filmed in Ukraine before the invasion, which tells the story of a small group of tireless social workers who run a temporary shelter for neglected children.
Winner of the Toronto 2022 NETPAC Award and the London Film Festival 2022 Audience Award Costa Brava, Lebanonstars BAFTA nominee Nadine Labaki (Rock at the Casbah – SFF 2014) and Saleh Bakri (Must – SFF 2018). The film follows a family who left life in Beirut to have a more peaceful life in the mountains, only to discover that the escape is not so easy.
Toronto 2021 Platform Prize winner June by Indonesian filmmaker Kamila Andini (The seated and the unseen – SFF 2018) follows a bright Indonesian student exploring her ambitions as opposed to the societal pressures she faces in her conservative Indonesian society.
Venice Days 2021, winner of the BNL People’s Choice Award, Private desert is Aly Muritibas (Rust) gripping tale that explores ideas about lust and masculinity as the film follows a disgraced police officer who wanders around the country in search of an online lover who has joked about him.
Also from Sundance 2022 is Calendar girlsSwedish filmmakers Maria Loohufvuds and Love
Martinsen’s uplifting, joyful documentary about a female dance troupe over 60; as well as SirensRita Baghdadi’s (My country no more) arresting documentary about the Middle East’s first female, queer death metal band, skillfully capturing their magnetic energy while highlighting their struggle to secure a place in the culture of their homeland.
European cinema will have a strong presence throughout the festival’s program with stories such as Blidthe first Hungarian film selected for competition at Sundance, starring the real bodybuilder Eszter Csonka, an athlete willing to sacrifice far too much perfection and success.
Stefan Ruzowitzky, Director of the Oscar winner The counterfeit coinshonors the great age of German expressionism with the Locarno Film Festival Audience Award winner The hinterlanda visually stunning thriller set in the abdomen of post-World War I Vienna, about a returned prisoner of war’s quest to capture a serial killer.
And the French cult filmmaker Quentin Dupieuxs (Deerskin) silly time travel frolic Unbelievable, but true with Alain Chabat (Mood Indigo – SFF 2018), sAn average suburban couple moves into their dream home only to fall victim to strange bouts of hectic time travel as a result of their mysterious basement.
Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin is now streamed on SBS On Demand
The first of this year’s Family Films is Super Furball saves the future, a funny animated film that follows a young girl who must save the world from a future without bees. Directed by Joona Tena (Arctic Circle).
The full program of the Sydney Film Festival will be announced on Wednesday, May 11, 2022.