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Sydney Film Festival 2004 Preview

The Grand Assembly at SFF venue the State Theatre
by Michael Collins

The Sydney Film Festival is on this week starting Friday. EFC gives you a preview to tell you what's what, and which are the films to check out.

This year's SFF has expanded yet again with over 230 films to choose from across four venues. If you can't find something for you then you're a book reader head to a book store instead. Let me recommend Cornstalk on King Street.

There's quite the assortment of contemporary cinema from around the world with a number of themed selections within the main program. To help you with the difficult process of film selection, here's some of the nice ones that are worth braving the queues and subscribers to see.

There's 70s tribute Baadassss (all those a's and s's are necessary apparently), and biopic, Life and Death of Peter Sellers, with Geoff Rush in the title role and Charlize Theron as Britt Ekland. Control Room provides an insight into what it's like too see the world via Al Jazeera the famous (for some, infamous) Arab news network service. Other films concentrating on the state of the world include documentaries on Imelda Marcos (simply titled, Imelda), the life of an Afghan youth in The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan and if you want insight on what Los Angeles thinks of its self-portrayal in film then check out Los Angeles Plays Itself.

The Discovery section of the program is dedicated to the young, up and comers of the world of cinema screening at the Dendy Cinema. This section can be a little hit and miss, yet, Zelary, looks the goods (directed by the producer of past festival favourite and Oscar winner, Divided We Fall). Something else that should be a favourite is the story of a female rock band in, Prey For Rock n' Roll, and the life of a teenager in Korea with, 15.

The film, 15, was so touchy that the Singapore Police described it as a threat to national security! Now there's a ringing endorsement if I've every heard one. A movie about a teenager seen as a threat to a whole country - And you thought the US government was paranoid.

There are a number of specialist sections that will be great for a fan of that theme. There's The Dendy Short Film competition (which will include Oscar winner Harvie Krumpet), A documentary section that includes a whole bunch of music documentaries with Ramones doco, End of the Century looking the best.

There's also dLux and Scope digital media works sections, an Italian Master, Michelangelo Antonioni retrospective, a focus on Canadian films (a country that has been pumping out some great films recently), there's silent films, latino films, Hong Kong action films, and multi-plot films including Jim Jarmusch's newy Coffee and Cigarettes (starring Cate Blanchett) and Danish wacko Lar's Von Trier's cheeky The Five Obstructions.

And if that's not enough you can talk about those film in the various film forums that are to be held.

The eight hour yes, that E-I-G-H-T hours documentary, West of the Tracks, will test even the most dedicated of film watchers. Man, are you going to be sore after that one or what? Including intervals, you're dedicating 10 hours to the one film. I don't even do things I like for that long - Except perhaps sleep.

If that 's not to your liking then something else will. That's the great strength of the SFF the flexibility in how you want to have your film fest experience.

There's various subscription packages , multi-ticket deals (which has been improved from last year with even more flexibility) or for the financially minded you can just go and see one film if you're that way inclined - There's really no excuse.

There's an overwhelming amount of film on offer here. This is pig in mud territory for the film fanatic. It should be great.

For reviews of films that will be appearing at the festival go here. The best coverage of the festival is going to be right here.

See you at the coffee queue in the State Theatre foyer.


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1133
originally posted: 06/06/04 13:06:30
last updated: 11/04/04 11:29:54
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