Entertainment

Sydney Film Festival highlights: Seven movies you don’t want to miss

The Sydney Film Festival is already underway but here are seven highlights you can still book.

The Sydney Film Festival is already underway, the first time it’s run a full program during its normal time of the year, but there are still many, many movies you’ll want to see.

Here are seven highlights.

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The Japanese director of Cannes Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters, Hirokazu Kore-eda, is comfortable creating in other languages. He followed up Shoplifters with the English and French-speaking The Truth and now turns his hand to South Korea.

The epic stars Parasite actor Song Kang-ho as a laundromat owner and churchgoer who, one night, steals a baby from the church’s baby box, where mothers can safely abandon their newborns. When the mother returns, she is recruited into the plot.

Stars at Noon

Provocative French filmmaker Claire Denis has collected a raft of talent including Margaret Qualley, John C. Reilly, Danny Ramirez, Joe Alwyn and Benny Safdie for this romantic thriller that won the Grand Prix at Cannes.

The erotic film is about an American journalist and an English businessman who become involved in a Central American city during the pandemic.

Blaze

Australian artist Del Kathryn Barton has crafted a movie that blends animation, puppetry and live action filmmaking in this fantastical work which stars Simon Baker and a young talent named Julia Savage.

Savage plays 12-year-old Blaze, who witnesses a brutal crime which plunges her into a spiral. Her desperate father wants to help her heal but he doesn’t have any easy solutions – because there are none to deal with her trauma.

Godland

Icelandic filmmaker Hlynur Palmason’s follow-up to his grievance spiral feature A White, White Dayis set in the 19th century and follows a Danish priest to a remote part of Iceland on a mission to build a church.

As he journeys across his harsh landscape, the young man loses sight of his mission and starts to lose his moral code.

Navalny

Directed by Daniel Roher, Navalny is a searing and terrifying documentary that captures the extraordinary twists, turns and pure villainy in the Vladimir Putin and Alexei Navalny saga.

Following the events of the Russian dissident’s poisoning at the hands of the state, it’s a story that feels ripped out of a Cold War-era spy novel, except it all happened. And now, Navalny’s struggles have taken on an extra layer of malevolence.

Return to Seoul

Premiering in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, Return to Seoul is a trilingual adoption drama about a 25-year-old woman who spontaneously flies to Seoul from Paris, in search of the birth parents who gave her up.

Starring Park Ji-min and directed by Davy Chou, it’s an emotional journey for a character who is reconnecting with a culture she never really knew while also having to face her bitterness at being “abandoned”.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

A sex-positive romp that is as empowering as it can be heartbreaking, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande stars the incomparable Emma Thompson as a recently widowed woman who decides to explore her desires with a young sex worker.

Directed by Australian filmmaker Sophie Hyde, it’s a movie that confronts social norms and expectations around sex and intimacy.

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