Sydney Film Festival 2011: AFR Suggestions

31 May

1. Michael de Martino


SURVIVING LIFE: I am a Švankmajer nut. He is my third favourite director ever. I own all the films it is possible to own from him. I have also written on him and have mentioned him in numerous writings. I knew this film was on the brink of a release but as of yet I haven’t been able to get my hands on it so naturally, this is my top selection of the films at the festival. I should stop here because I can get very carried away with Švankmajer. The guy is a genius, no doubt about it.

THE TROLL HUNTER: I was quite a fan of The Blair Witch Project, so to hear of a satirical Nordic film about trolls made in the same style made my jaw drop. I haven’t seen too many Nordic films which is something I hope to rectify asap, and what better way to do this than by seeing a totally unique film like this one? Genre films like this don’t come around as often as they should, so you have to enjoy them whenever you can.

13 ASSASSINS: Like Švankmajer, I’m a huge fan of Takashi Miike. His films are such an eccentric mix of action, humour, violence, and sexuality; all at the same time. Visitor Q has to be the favourite so far, which has to be one of the most screwed up films ever made. The director of Zebraman taking on a samurai epic with a 40+ minute battle scene, how could you say no? Plus, this fits in well with my current Asian cinema obsession.


HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN: Trash cinema starring Rutger Hauer. Honestly, does anything more need to be said? Not only does this film sound hilariously exciting, but I believe this is a film that many people will actually go out of their way to see, definitely compared to the other films I have selected here. It would be great to get in first.

MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD: Again with the Asian obsession; this film sounds so Japanese. This film sounds great but a film like this can be somewhat hit & miss sometimes. I have high hopes, and I would love to see it, but the risk of it not delivering my high expectations is why it comes in number 5.

2. Ronan MacEwan

SEPTIEN: It may be suffering from a 5.9 on IMDB, but there’s plenty to be intrigued about this Sundance selected film from NYC based Michael Tully. A spooky tale of family dysfunction and troubled young men grown old. Beautifully shot, full of ambiguity and with a unique and dream-like approach to storytelling.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE: An intense and creepy looking thriller starring John Hawkes (Deadwood) and Elizabeth Olson (yes, the younger sister of those gruesome twins) which hints at an exploration of the trauma of living under a charismatic cult leader. This will likely get a wide release after the festival (Fox Searchlight distributing), but i’m not sure I can wait that long; it looks absolutely fantastic. Check out the trailer:

CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS: Werner Herzog meditates on our existence, I don’t need much more than that to make this a must see. Added to this it’s shot in 3D, using state of the art equipment (heatless lights!) to get into an unexplored nook / cranny of our human past: an ancient cave only a “handful of researchers” have ever had access to.

END OF ANIMAL: I love South Korean cinema, so this odd apocalypse film, which looks fantastically claustrophobic and paranoid, is on my hit list. Described as a “broken down road movie” it looks both mesmerising and depressing and shows that when things fall apart, they really fall apart.

3. Julian Buckeridge


TYRANNOSAUR – An extension of Paddy Considine’s 2007 short Dog Altogether, the film has been praised for excellent performances by Colman and Mullan and picked up the World Cinema Directing Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

THE TREE OF LIFE – Five years after his last feature, Terrence Malick contemplates life, death and immortality with a critically praised performance by Pitt. With music by Alexandre Desplat, is there any doubt?

A SEPARATION – It dominated the Berlin Film Festival Awards, taking home Best Picture and Acting categories. An honest depiction of Iranian life, this looks to be a gem.

4. Elizabeth lamb

MUTANT GIRL SQUAD: It’s all in the title. Japanese fighting mayhem in insane outfits with bizarre disfigurements. Sign me up!

SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE: I consider myself a connoisseur of both the rant and the audio serial. This documentary combining the two sounds right up my alley, with or without the grunge references.

NULLABOR: I’ve crossed the Nulabor Plain in a Toyota Tarago three times. Once with gastro! I want to see something good happen there, and I think this animated short may provide it.

For the the full program and guide to the Sydney Film Festival 2011, click here.


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