Sydney Film Festival 2015 – What To See

From June 3rd through to June 14th, the annual Sydney Film Festival is set to entertain plenty of cinema lovers from around Australia with an eclectic and enjoyable mix of world cinema. A combination of several local and world premieres blend with some of the best titles from Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca and Cannes this year along with presentations and fun re-releases.

Today, Dark Horizons is proud to present its ten must see picks of this year’s line-up. It was such a good line-up this year that it was impossible really to contain it to just ten, so the ‘honourable mentions’ list is filled with many titles just as worthy as these. Our ten most anticipated titles going in:

1. Women He’s Undressed
Acclaimed filmmaker Gilliam Armstrong tackles one of the most unsung Australian cinematic legends – costume designer Orry-Kelly. The three-time Oscar winner worked on almost three hundred films during Hollywood’s golden age including “Some Like It Hot,” “Casablanca,” “Gypsy” and many more. In a deeply conservative business, Orry-Kelly was uncompromising in his sexuality and well-regarded by practically everyone from Bette Davis to even the legendary testy Jack Warner. Armstrong explores a man who gave rise to many iconic images of cinema, yet has been largely forgotten even by people in the industry.

2. Holding the Man
This year’s closing night film sees Tim Conigrave’s legendary award-winning play finally adapted for the big screen under the helm of Neil Armfield. Ryan Corr and Craig Stott star as John Caleo and Timothy Conigrave respectively, two young men who fell in love while teenagers at their all-boys high school. John was captain of the football team, while Tim was an aspiring actor.

The film follows their enduring romance over fifteen years (from the late 1970s to the early 1990s), this looks at the discrimination they face, the periods of bliss and tragedy when they are diagnosed HIV-positive. Guy Pearce, Anthony LaPaglia, Kerry Fox, Sarah Snook and Camilla Ah Kin also star.

3. Mr. Holmes
Bill Condon re-teams with his “Gods and Monsters” leading man Ian McKellen for this story about a now 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes who has retired to a farmhouse by the sea. Struggling with his fading memory and upset over the fictional representations of him, Holmes is haunted by the unsolved final case that forced him into retirement. Bound to be one of the most popular and wide appealing films of the festival.

4. Arabian Nights
Call it epic, ambitious, indulgent or just plain crazy, “Tabu” filmmaker Miguel Gomes has tackled a look at modern-day Portugal with his three-part, six-hour odyssey “Arabian Nights”. Inspired by the actual “One Thousand and One Nights” collection of stories, Gomes blends the surreal and all too real in a demanding triptych that will test even the most stalwart of filmgoers.

5. Attack of the Double Feature
A double bill of sci-fi classics from the fabulous 1950s – “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Them!” – all staged in their monochrome glory from the comfort of your motor vehicle at the iconic Skyline Drive-In in deepest, darkest Blacktown. No doubt over the top fun and silliness will be had by all.

6. The Look of Silence
A companion piece to Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar-nominated “The Act of Killing,” this avoids the killers’ accounts of the Indonesian communist purge of the 1960s in favor of putting the focus on the victims, their families and community. Dealing with a far more gentle soul who probes for the long-concealed truth about his brother’s death and those savage times.

7. Sherpa
The slopes of Mount Everest have seen numerous disasters in recent years. In 2013, there was a shocking mountain-high brawl as European climbers fled a mob of angry Sherpas. Director Jennifer Peedom and her team set out to uncover the truth about that incident and explore the Sherpas’ point of view during the 2014 climbing season. Instead, she ended up capturing a terrible tragedy when a huge block of ice crashed down onto the climbing route, killing sixteen Sherpas. Shot by high-altitude cinematographer Renan Ozturk, the doco explores the unequal relationship between cashed-up foreign expeditions and their guides.

8. Tangerine
Shot entirely on the iPhone 5s, Sean Baker helms this hilarious and insightful film about a journey through the lively streets of L.A. with two transgender sex workers on Christmas Eve.

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez stars as Sin-Dee, who has just been released from a stint in prison and discovers that her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone) has been unfaithful with a biological woman. Incensed, she her best friend Alexandra (May Taylor) embark on a wild mission to get to the bottom of the rumour.

9. Amy
The team behind the highly acclaimed “Senna” deliver a new documentary about Amy Winehouse, the five-time Grammy Award winner and truly talented British female singer/songwriter lost to us all too soon.

The doco follows her coming of age in the public eye and how the level of celebrity she attained she could never truly come to terms with. The filmmakers were also granted interviews with family members, close friends and colleagues, as well as access to never-before-seen archival footage.

10. The Daughter
Inspired by his award-winning adaptation of The Wild Duck, Simon Stone makes his feature film debut on the emotional drama “The Daughter” which boasts a strong local cast including Geoffrey Rush, Ewen Leslie, Paul Schneider, Miranda Otto, Anna Torv, Odessa Young and Sam Neill.

The story follows a young man who returns home for his timber mill owner father’s latest wedding to a much younger woman. He reconnects with an old friend and begins to bond with his family, in the process piecing together a puzzle that will have devastating consequences.

Also Highly Recommended: 54 – The Director’s Cut, 99 Homes, The Daughter, Dope, Far from the Madding Crowd, Going Clear, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Ruben Guthrie, Slow West, Song of the Sea, Strangerland, The Tribe, Vincent