HANNA - OPENING NIGHT FILM
Joe Wright's (Atonement) teen assassin thriller, Hanna will be the opening night film for this year's Sydney Film Festival. Starring Saoirse Ronan as the titular hit girl, Hanna also stars Eric Bana, as her father, and Cate Blanchett as the government operative charged with tracking her down and bringing her in. Ebert described it as "an odd cross between a fairy tale and a high-tech action movie." Here's hoping Cate and Eric attend opening night!
Two words: Paul Giamatti. That's enough to pique my interest in any film. Throw in director Tom McCarthy, whose The Station Agent (2003) and The Visitor (2008) are indie gems, and you have an irresistable combination. Giamatti plays an attorney whose blundering scheme to keep his business afloat lands his family with an elderly client's runaway teenage grandson. "This movie wins you over, head and heart, without cheating. It's just about perfect." said Rolling Stone's Peter Travers. Sold!
I loved Miranda July's 2003 directorial debut Me and You and Everyone We Know, and am looking forward to her follow-up. Los Angeles couple Sophie and Jason (July and Hamish Linklater) decide they must fulfil all their life desires in the 30 days before their freedom is curtailed by the arrival of newly adopted cat Paw Paw - the film's feline narrator! It promises to be as enjoyably left of centre as July's debut.
Who doesn't enjoy a good cinematic menage a trois? And Tom Tykwer's (of Run Lola Run) delicious romantic drama promises to be such. Simon and Hanna's relationship has reached a plateau, then Hanna meets Adam and Adam meets Simon - and all three fall for each other while remaining oblivious to the others' affairs. Sounds delicious.
TREE OF LIFE
The film which cinephiles the world over have been waiting for, seemingly for forever, finally arrives! After its world premiere in Cannes, Terrence Malick's Tree of Life will screen in competition with a little less mystique but no less interest. Some Oz reviewers (myself included) saw it a couple of weeks ago but are still under embargo but let me say, definitely worth seeing.
LIFE, ABOVE ALL
A film championed by Roger Ebert since its premiere at Cannes 2010, this South African AIDS drama focusses on a 12 year old girl who struggles to overcome fear and suspicion in her village. With wonderful music and a big heart, it's bound to be a crowd pleaser.
BEGINNERS - CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Writer-director Mike Mills (who happens to be the partner of fellow writer-director and SFF entrant Miranda July) directs a semi-autobiographical story of a writer (Ewan McGregor) coming to terms with his father's (Christopher Plummer) late-in-life coming out and dating a younger man. The film also stars the lovely Melanie Laurent and a scene-stealing dog.
Other films of note include: Jane Eyre, The Beaver, 13 Assassins, Norwegian Wood, and Australian Cannes 2011 entrant, Sleeping Beauty. For all films, screenings, bookings etc go to:
The 2011 Sydney Film Festival runs from the 8th to the 19th June.