Film Festival

THE RUSSIAN FILM FESTIVAL IS COMING!

The Russian Resurrection Film Festival is one of the largest, oldest and most respected Russian film festivals outside of Russia. The festival takes audiences on a captivating journey into one of the world’s most diverse film cultures.

From humble beginnings in 2004 screening in just three cities in Australia, the festival has grown in size and now screens in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland in New Zealand.

2017 is set to be bigger than ever with a fantastic line up of new films screening and a special retrospective celebrating the 80th Birthday of Andrei Konchalovsky, the legendary Russian and Hollywood director.

One of the most keenly anticipated films of 2017, THE BOLSHOI tells the story of a young small-town girl who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer with the Bolshoi Theatre. Continue reading THE RUSSIAN FILM FESTIVAL IS COMING!

MAHBAS : OPENING NIGHT FILM TO THE 14TH ARAB FILM FESTIVAL

Perhaps not as funny or as slick as the current film phenomenon, The Big Sick, MAHBAS, casts a probing eye on carcinogenic parental prejudices that cause impediments to impending intended unions of their offspring.

While both studying in Dubai, Lebanese lass, Ghada and son of Syria, Samer, fall in love and plan matrimony. Ghada’s dad, Maurice, has no trouble giving his blessing but baulks at telling his wife, Therese, knowing her systematic hatred for Syrians will null the nuptials.

Twenty years ago, Therese’s brother was killed by a Syrian bomb and ever since she has borne a bias against all things Syrian.
Dad has the fervent but foolish belief that an ambush meeting between the intended in laws will bring Therese to her senses, especially as the stakes are her only child’s happiness.

And so the scene is set for some some sprightly, spiteful conflict, with Therese going into seat of the pants sabotage mode in an attempt to rent the couple asunder.

Apart from being a study in racial or cultural tensions, MAHBAS can be read as a meditation of marriage, the sterility of the unions of both parents in contrast to the couple eagerly anticipating their own embarkation into the deadlock of wedlock.
Maurice is busily shagging his secretary, excused by Therese’s devotion to her martyred brother. Samer’s dad is gregarious whereas his mum is the opposite. She harbours an idea that all Lebanese girls are sluts.

It is interesting to note that both mothers perceive their prospective son in law/daughter in law as unsuitable, whereas the father’s are both happy for the match to take place.

Sophie Boutros‘ film has a slow burn beginning where drama takes the ascent before the descent into comedy leavens the mood. However, just before it free falls into farce, the fractious facts of foibled humans ferment and foam in a brew that is true, sobering and bitter sweet.

MAHBAS is anchored by a sterling performance by Julia Kassar as Therese, conniving, manipulating, furious and flawed. Her counterpoint is delightfully played by Betty Taoutel, as her daffy neighbour, Solange, a scene stealer at every stage.

A screening of MAHBAS will launch the 14th annual Arab Film Festival Australia at the opening night party in Sydney, held at Riverside Theatres Parramatta, Thursday 17 August with director Sophie Boutros in attendance.

http://riversideparramatta.com.au

5TH QUEER SCREEN FILM FEST 19 – 24 SEPTEMBER 2017

The QUEER SCREEN FILM FESTIVAL lineup has been announced and it will feature 20 films from four continents, including 16 Australian premieres, puts the diversity of LGBTIQ experience and Queer strength on screen in Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

There are screenings at the Mt Vic Flicks, Event Cinemas and thanks to a partnership with City of Sydney, Queer Screen Film Fest will also present three free film events for the whole community.

There is an outdoor family screening of Moana at Sydney Park, a seniors (and friends) viewing of the moving documentary The Lavender Scare, complete with afternoon tea. In addition there is a youth event featuring Behind The Curtain: Todrick Hall, a high energy documentary following the titular YouTube and Rupaul’s Drag Race sensation.

“Being able to give back and reach out to the community is something Queer Screen views as vitally important, and through our strong relationship with City of Sydney we are again able to provide free entertainment that focuses on three pillars of the LGBTIQ community: families, seniors and youth” says Festival Director, Lisa Rose. Continue reading 5TH QUEER SCREEN FILM FEST 19 – 24 SEPTEMBER 2017

THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE

Currently in competition at The Sydney Film Festival, THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE will not be in line for any award Peter Dutton might lend his name to.

Khaled, a young Syrian refugee who has lost virtually all of his family, drifts to Helsinki as a stowaway passenger on a collier to seek asylum without great hopes for his future life. Honourable and honest, he reports to the local police, not wanting to be considered an illegal.

Simultaneously, Wikström, a travelling salesman of about fifty representing mainly men’s shirts and ties, becomes a refugee from a broken marriage, walking out on his alcoholic wife and selling his entire stock of cravats and collars. Going for broke personally and professionally, he stakes his stash on a poker game in which he cleans up.

With the winnings he buys an unprofitable restaurant at the far end of an inner court along a back street in Helsinki. Along with the venue, he inherits a trio of eccentric employees – a cook, a maitre d’ and a waitress. Continue reading THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE

THE DANCER :A DANCER’S QUEST FOR BEAUTY AND PERFECTION

Part of the French Film Festival, THE DANCER is exquisitely, lushly photographed with some sensational performances. A feast for the eyes, it is fascinating for those who love dance, even if the film is heavily fictionalised. Some of the film is in English, at other times it is in French with subtitles.

Stéphanie Di Giusto’s film follows the life of avant- garde dancer Loie Fuller (Soko) who was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, lived with her father in the boondocks, and after his sudden tragic death was sent to live with her strict, God fearing mother in New York before becoming a sensation in the world of dance, first in New York and then in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, inspiring artists the like of Toulouse- Lautrec and Rodin and esteemed scientists such as Marie Curie.

The film also tells the story of her relationship and rivalry with Isadora Duncan, a fellow American who at one stage was Fuller’s protégé. Continue reading THE DANCER :A DANCER’S QUEST FOR BEAUTY AND PERFECTION

TROP JNR 2017 : OUR YOUNG FILMMAKERS SHOW PLENTY OF PROMISE

Mums and Dads were highest on the thank you lists from the participants for TROP JNR this year and the audience was certainly filled with siblings and adults rooting for their films.

TROP JR is part of TROPFEST and has been running side by side since 2008. Modelled on the world’s largest short film festival, TROPFEST,  TROP JR is a short filmmaking competition and a free, outdoor festival for kids aged 15 years and younger.  Each year there is a ‘signature item’ which needs to be included. This year was it was ‘mask’.

TROPFEST moved from Centennial Park to Parramatta Park this year but the weather was not co-operating. To keep the kids safe in the extreme heat, the organizers moved events to a cinema and everyone I spoke to was incredibly relieved to be settled into the air con. Some of the tiniest supporters may have missed having a run in wide open spaces but the rest of us settled back to see these remarkable young filmmakers’ work. Continue reading TROP JNR 2017 : OUR YOUNG FILMMAKERS SHOW PLENTY OF PROMISE

THE PASS

The Pass: Queer Screen’s 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival

THE PASS is a tough watch yet a terrific choice for the Queer Screen’s 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival.

“Our guiding vision for this year to tell as many queer stories as possible through the most diverse range of characters, stories and genres yet” says Festival Director Paul Struthers as he announced the 10 ‘teaser’ films this week. And if these ten are any indication it will be an exciting season. The Festival will allow Sydney audiences to see, not only the most impressive films from the LGBTIQ film circuit, but many award-winners from Berlin, Toronto and other A-list film festivals. Continue reading THE PASS