Tag Archives: David Stratton


The 66th Sydney Film Festival (5 – 16 June) has announced the World Premiere of Palm Beach, an uplifting drama/comedy from Australian director Rachel Ward, as the Opening Night Film at the State Theatre on Wednesday 5 June.

Sydney Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala is proudly presented by Lexus Australia. Tickets are on sale now via sff.org.au.

Palm Beach features an all-star cast of Australian screen legends including Golden Globe-nominated icons Bryan Brown (Australia Day, SFF 2017),Sam Neill (The Daughter, SFF 2015), Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park), Greta Scacchi (The Player, SFF 1992), Jacqueline McKenzie (Romper Stomper) and Heather Mitchell (Rogue), as well as Brown and Ward’s daughter Matilda Brown, playing Ella – the daughter of Brown’s character Frank.

Set at Sydney’s spectacular Palm Beach, the film follows lifelong friends who gather to celebrate a milestone birthday, only for tension to mount when new and old resentments arise, along with the threat of an old secret coming to light.

With a filmmaking team comprising over 50% female crew, the film is Ward’s second feature film following Beautiful Kate, which will also screen at this year’s Festival as part of Essential Australian Women Directors – 10 Trailblazers Selected by David Stratton.

“Film festival time in Sydney is my favourite time of year. To be kicking it off is a really special treat,” said Rachel Ward.  “’The inspiration for the film came over a Christmas in Wales with friends …  It was a funny and warm occasion, but also one where we realised no one is untouched.”

“Set in one of Sydney’s most beautiful locations, it’s great to think Palm Beach will open this year’s Festival,” she said.



David Stratton Curates Aki Kaurismaki Retrospective for Sydney Film Festival

Featured image – Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki.

Sydney Film Festival, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) are delighted to announce that David Stratton will present a program of 10 essential films directed by the great Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki.

Entitled Essential Kaurismäki: Selected by David Stratton, the curated films will screen as a retrospective program at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Dendy Opera Quays cinema, as part of the 65th Sydney Film Festival (6-17 June).  The retrospective will also screen in Melbourne at ACMI (14-30 June) and in Canberra at NFSA’s Arc cinema (29 June – 10 July).

This retrospective consists of ten of the finest films made by Kaurismäski, from Crime and Punishment (1983) to Le Havre (2011).

Since his debut, Aki Kaurismäki has become Finland’s most celebrated filmmaker. Known for his idiosyncratic, droll style, his films provide social criticism through the stories of ordinary people who overcome all the odds stacked against them to achieve modest successes.

Renowned critic and broadcaster, David Stratton, a former director of the Sydney Film Festival (1966 to 1983) will also introduce the Sydney screenings.

David Stratton said, “Kaurismäki is the complete auteur, producing, directing, scripting and usually editing his films. A master of the deadpan, the dialogue in his films is laconic and laced with stoic humour, not including a streak of sentiment, despite the presence of a loveable dog in almost every movie. ”

“This retrospective is a great showcase of his signature style and will be a revelation to those unfamiliar with the work of an exceptional director.”

The 10 films in the program are:

Crime and Punishment (1983) La Vie de Boheme (1992)
Shadows in Paradise (1986) Drifting Clouds (1996)
Ariel (1988) The Man Without a Past (2002)
Leningrad Cowboys go America (1989) Lights in the Dusk (2006)
The Match Factory Girl (1990) Le Havre (2011



What a cast!

Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Sam Neil, Judy Davis, Jackie Weaver, Rachel Griffiths, Geoffrey Rush, Bryan Brown and Eric Bana. To name a few. That’s the incredible line-up amassed for DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE.

A film critic can sometimes unearth an audience for a film that does not have the vast advertising techniques and budget that ensures a mass audience for a major movie, usually from a studio in Hollywood.

Such an excavator is David Stratton whose exuberance for the wide exhibition of quality films, especially those made in Australia, is extolled in this brilliant exultation of local films, DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE. Continue reading DAVID STRATTON : A CINEMATIC LIFE


Sydney Film Festival Number 63 has come and gone again for another year. The Festival attracted many celebrities. These are some of my favourite pics.

Mel Gibson
Grainnie Humphreys, Simon Field, Robert Connolly- panelists on the Sydney Film Festival main jury
Judy Davis
Margaret Pomeranz & son Joshua
Ursula Yovich
Ewen Leslie and partner
Jack and Billy Thompson
David Gulpilil
David Stratton
Lord Mayor Of Sydney Clover Moore
Simon Baker & Bryan Brown
Leo & Anne Schofield
Josie Lacey & Walt Secord MP
Damien Walshe-Howling and Hugo Weaving
Dan MacPherson & Brooke Satchwell
Helen and Michael Caton
Gillian Armstrong & Bruce Pleffer
Alex Greewich MP
Tasma Walton
John Jarrett

David Stratton’s Great Britain Retro Film Festival @ Hayden Orpheum till 19th August

Inset pic- A still from the 1947 film Black Narcissus. Featured pic- A still from The Tales Of Hoffman.

David Stratton is proud to announce the inaugural Great Britain Retro Film Festival – the first of its kind in Australia – of which he is curator and patron.

Nineteen classic British films, rarely seen on the big screen, will play in this two-week festival from August 6-19 in three premium cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Stratton says there are many highlights to be enjoyed in this festival, not least of which is the opportunity to see some of these classic films painstakingly digitally restored and presented for the first time in Australia, in the peerless 4K format. Continue reading David Stratton’s Great Britain Retro Film Festival @ Hayden Orpheum till 19th August

Alliance Francaise French Film Festival @ Palace Cinemas

Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, patrons of this year’s Festival

The 26th French Film Festival opens tonight in style at Palaces Verona and Norton Street cinemas with Anna Fontaine’s classy new film  GEMMA BOVARY  starring two of France’s finest actors, Gemma Atherton and Fabrice Luchini.  Fontaine’s film is an adaptation of Posy Simmond’s graphic novel and is a  fresh take on the classic Gustav Flaubert novel.

This year the Festival will screen some 49 movies. With so many films to choose from, and only so much time available, it helps to have some guidance as to what films to select.

In a great initiative, the Festival this year invited our two most famous film critics, David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz, to be patrons of the Festival and asked them to choose their picks from the Festival. This may go some way in helping you to make your choices. Continue reading Alliance Francaise French Film Festival @ Palace Cinemas

Sydney Film School Goes Global

Sydney Film School Graduation 2014 (Day 3), After Party, Chauvel Cinema, Paddingtion, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Sydney Film School has announced a new initiative for its 21st Sydney Film School Festival: for the first time, Sydney Film School festival films will be released online at the same moment they have their premiere screening in Sydney.

Broadening the reach of the Sydney-based film festival, the release will offer audiences worldwide the opportunity to view and share a carefully curated selection of eight outstanding short films from the 21st Sydney Film School Festival: from Thursday 11 December 7pm AEST until Thursday 18 December 7pm AEST only.

Founder and artistic director of Sydney Film School Ben Ferris said “The Sydney Film School community is spread around the world, so it makes sense to screen our films on an international platform. Continue reading Sydney Film School Goes Global