Sydney Film Festival 2012: At A Glance

So it's film festival time again folks and despite requests from my bank managerto the contrary, I am going up to Sydney again to see what is happening in the world of film. Those that have followed my coverage in the past will notice I'm doing things a little differently this year. In my greater efforts to 'sell out', I will be supplying a bit of coverage to ArtsHub and Quickflix so most of the bigger reviews will be ending up there.
Have no fear dear readers, I will not neglect you though. I'm not entirely sure what form my coverage here will take but I'm considering using this outlet to offer up a more personal, diary style of posting. I'll be linking to all the reviews that are published on other outlets so you won't miss out (follow my twitter feed or facebook group for quicker links to those pieces if you are impatient) but all the snarky comments, embarrassing photos of drunk film critics, descriptions of bad eating patterns and general fatigued ramblings will end up here. With any luck it'll give a good insight into the psychedelic, malnourished nature of film festival immersion and you know, I can swear more here, so fucking woohaa!
But enough of the formalities. What am I seeing? What am I looking forward to? Lets get into the program shall we.
Note: I am only attending the festival for the final 7 days hence will miss some of the early big hitters such as Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts Of The Southern Wild.
Undoubtedly my most anticipated film of the festival. Reports from Sundance were divisive to say the least and I'm a huge fan of star Tim Heidecker's Tim & Eric work. All signs point to THE COMEDY as a dry, misanthropic, defiantly audience unfriendly film that has been described as anti-comedy. Count me in!
William Friedkin has had a long, mixed career but KILLER JOE is apparently a dirty, violent, obscene, exploitation flick starring Matthew McConaughey as a hitman. Described as a cross between BLOOD SIMPLE and THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN, this deeply offensive film was smacked with a NC-17 rating in the States for “graphic aberrant content”. You officially have my attention KILLER JOE.
Anything new by Michael Haneke will be immediately anticipated by me regardless of a damn Palme d'Or. FUNNY GAMES is one of the best films of the last 25 years in my opinion so Haneke has a lifetime pass with me and rarely makes a dud. AMOUR looks a little more emotional than his previous cold, clinical work but the recently released trailer suggests it will be as devastating as anything he has previously done.
Incredibly dubious that this film will be brilliant but anyone who has been affected by Kerouac's classic Beat novel will be keen to take a look. Not entirely sure a good film can be made from the material and lukewarm reviews from Cannes recently suggest it is an elegant and respectable adaptation. It also apparently includes a scene where Kristen Stewart nakedly masturbates two men while driving in a car down the highway so you know, there's that going for it...
I'm always up for some Japanese insanity and this film has me super excited for something special. If anyone remembers a film from a few years ago entitled FUNKY FOREST then they should know that the director of THE WARPED FOREST worked on that film (particularly the brilliant Cronenbergian sequence involving a TV, an orifice and a Japanese schoolgirl) and while this isn't a literal sequel, it certainly seems to be operating in the same universe. If this is half as good as FUNKY FOREST then it could easily be my favourite of the festival.
P.S: See FUNKY FOREST immediately!
This violent, animated story of teen bullying comes from South Korea with extraordinarily strong word of mouth. Not the biggest fan of the style of film but the words 'brutal', 'nihilistic' and 'unflinching' have frequently been used in its descriptions so colour me intrigued. Also, how great is that poster?
Whether or not I actually see this 5 hour Bollywood epic is yet to be determined. It just premiered at Cannes recently and word was amazingly strong. Described as an Indian Tarantino gangster epic this is a fast-paced, violent, absurd piece of Bollywood that sounds indescribably crazy. It has one big long screening on the final day of the festival. Will I be in any state to watch a film like this at the tail end of a festival? Is this the best state to be in to watch a film like this? Stay tuned.
A bunch more films will inevitably be viewed which may or may not include: LIBERAL ARTS featuring that guy from HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER; LIVID, French horror, yes please; ALPS the new one from the director of DOGTOOTH; MISS BALA, a totally amazing Mexican film that is a masterclass in steadicam usage; DEATH FOR SALE, a Moroccan neo-noir? Why not; and possibly many more, some will surprise, some will disappoint, who knows what will happen.
Ahhhh film festivals, how I've missed you. Keep your eyes peeled on this site, Twitter and Facebook for updates and check Quickflix and ArtsHub for some pretty comprehensive coverage from me and several others.