Sydney Film Festival has partnered with Australia’s most distinctive streaming service SBS On Demand to present Sydney Film Festival Selects. Curated by Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley, the movie collection features 40 of his all-time favourite Sydney Film Festival titles for Australians to binge, anytime, anywhere, for free, from 10 June to 10 July.
Relive, or discover for the first time, 40 world-class cinematic gems from the Festival’s past, for free, with SBS On Demand presents Sydney Film Festival Selects. All films will be accompanied by bonus material exclusively created by SBS Movies, including filmmaker interviews, SBS Movie critic reviews, and Dinner and A Movie ideas (dishes to pair with films in the program, with recipes supplied by SBS Food).
SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said: “Australians are turning to TV now more than ever to keep us entertained while we’re spending more time at home. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Sydney Film Festival to provide audiences a virtual environment to enjoy the best of cinema from the comfort of your sofa, free of charge. Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley’s expertise in curating films means this handpicked collection will satiate all audiences, whatever your preference – from Australian dramas to international romantic comedies to heartfelt family sagas.”
Highlights include the wildly emotional Academy Award-nominated Belgian drama The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012), Studio Ghibli’s stunning animated fantasy fable The Red Turtle (2016), winner of the Best Australian Documentary category at the Sydney Film Festival last year She Who Must Be Loved (2018) and the quietly powerful triptych Certain Women (2016) starring Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart and Michelle Williams.
The Sydney Film Festival Selects collection is one of several SFF initiatives launched in the wake of the global Coronavirus pandemic, which forced the cancellation of events in public spaces from March 2020. The Sydney Film Festival has also launched a virtual edition of its 67th program, featuring: 10 feature-length Australian documentaries in contention for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award; the 10 finalists for the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films; 3 short films by screen practitioners with a disability, programmed through the SFF Screenability strand; and 10 premiere features by European female directors, programmed in the Europe! Voices of Women in Film strand. The SFF virtual festival launches 10 June, along with Sydney Film Festival Selects.
The full list of titles in SBS On Demand’s Sydney Film Festival Selects appears below.
A FANTASTIC WOMAN
2017, Chile, Spanish
Sebastian Lelio’s Best Foreign Language Oscar winner. Daniela Vega is unforgettable as Marina, a woman in love with a man 20 years her senior, who faces suspicion and bigotry from his family when she loses her beloved.
Stars Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco
Directed by Sebastian Lelio
2010, France, Farsi
Asghar Farhadi’s first Best Foreign Language Oscar winner weaves a wider metaphor into an engrossing domestic dispute. A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Stars Payman Maadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat
Directed by Asghar Farhadi
2016, Australia, English
Meet Ali, the charming son of a Muslim cleric who, despite the best of intentions, just can’t seem to make the right life choices. Ali dreams big – he wants to be with the girl he loves, but he’s been promised to another girl at his father’s mosque. He wants to be the great doctor that the community expects him to be, but he doesn’t get the marks. And above all, he wants to make his father proud – really proud. So what will Ali do to live up to the impossible expectations? He must fake it, because as the son of the cleric, he doesn’t have a choice. It’s one bad decision after another as Ali’s wayward quest to please his father spirals out of control, with cataclysmic consequences.
Stars Osamah Sami, Helana Sawires, Don Hany
Directed by Jeffrey Walker
2012, France, French
Director Michael Haneke's heartbreaking film starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert, won the Palme d'Or in 2012. Georges and Anne are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter lives in Britain with her family. When Anne has a stroke, George and his daughter's love for their mother is tested by her decline.
Stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuele Riva
Directed by Michael Haneke
2009, United Kingdom, English
Jenny is a bright young girl on the cusp of her 17th birthday who finds herself in a whirlwind romance with a much older David. Once she sees the lifestyle David can provide, one she never imagined might so easily be hers, she is hooked. Thoughts of prep school and one day attending Oxford fly out the window. Nominated for three Oscars in 2010.
Stars Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard
Directed by Lone Scherfig
2010, New Zealand, English
Eleven-year-old Boy lives on a New Zealand farm with his gran, a goat and his younger brother. Shortly after Gran leaves for a week, Boy's father (Thor director Taika Waititi) appears out of the blue. Having imagined someone to admire, Boy comes face to face with an incompetent hoodlum who has returned only to find a bag of money.
Stars James Rolleston, Taika Waititi
Directed by Taika Waititi
CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR
2015, Thailand, Thai
Lonely housewife Jenjira volunteers at a makeshift hospital for soldiers suffering from a mysterious bout of narcolepsy. When one of her bedridden charges captures her attention, she enlists a medium to commune with his sleeping spirit. In a hallucinatory bond between the two women, the pain of times gone by combines with the reality of the present. By the director of Palme d'Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, comes this meditative and mythic rumination on the state of his nation, infused with his childhood memories and enacted with his trademark serenity and patience.
Stars Jenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomni
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
2016, USA, English
Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Lily Gladstone star as four women striving to forge their own paths amidst the wide-open plains of the American Northwest. Laura (Dern) is a lawyer who finds herself contending with both office sexism and a hostage situation. Gina (Williams) is a wife and mother whose determination to build her dream home puts her at odds with the men in her life. And Beth (Stewart) is a young law student who forms an ambiguous bond with a lonely ranch hand (radiant newcomer Lily Gladstone). As their stories intersect in subtle but powerful ways, a portrait emerges of flawed yet strong-willed individuals in the process of defining themselves.
Stars Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams
Directed by Kelly Reichardt
2014, India, Marathi
A sewage worker's dead body is found inside a manhole in Mumbai. An ageing folk singer is arrested and accused of performing an inflammatory song, which may have incited the worker to commit suicide. The trial unfolds in a lower court, and the lawyers and judge are observed in their personal lives beyond the theatre of the courtroom.
Stars Vira Sathidar, Vivek Gomber, Geeranjali Kulkarni, Pradeep Joshi, Usha Bane, Shirish Pawar
Directed by Chaitanya Tamhane
2012, USA, English
Frances (Greta Gerwig) lives in New York, but she doesn't really have an apartment. Frances is an apprentice for a dance company, but she is not really a dancer. Frances has a best friend named Sophie, but they aren't really speaking anymore. Frances wants so much more than she has but lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness. A modern comic fable that explores New York, friendship, class, ambition, failure and redemption.
Stars Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver
Directed by Noah Baumbach
2018, Belgium, Flemish
15-year-old Lara is committed to becoming a professional ballerina. With the support of her father, she throws herself into this quest for the absolute at a new school. Lara's adolescent frustrations and impatience are heightened as she realises her body does not bend so easily to the strict discipline because she was assigned a boy at birth.
Stars Victor Polster, Arieh Worthalter, Oliver Bodart
Directed by Lukas Dhont
2010, Canada, French Canadian
Francis and Marie have it all: youth, good looks and a best friendship that is indestructible. That is, until the night they both meet a beautiful young man named Nicolas at a dinner party, and instantly fall for him. A casual crush turns into an emotional obsession for them both, and as they pursue him with dinners, parties and trips to the countryside, their friendship falls apart. This touching and hilarious film about young love and friendship is the second feature from maverick young writer/director Xavier Dolan.
Stars Xavier Dolan, Monia Chokri
Directed by Xavier Dolan
2002, Australia, English
When psychiatrist Dr Valerie Somers disappears, Homicide Detective Leon Zat and his partner Claudia attempt to solve the mystery of her absence. As they investigate, a complex web of love, sex and deceit emerges, drawing in four related couples whose various partners are distrustful and suspicious about each other's involvement.
Stars Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Barbara Hershey, Kerry Armstrong
Directed by Ray Lawrence
LEAVE NO TRACE
2018, USA, English
A father and daughter live a perfect but mysterious existence in Forest Park, a beautiful nature reserve near Portland, Oregon, rarely making contact with the world. But when a small mistake tips them off to authorities, they are sent on an increasingly erratic journey in search of a place to call their own.
Stars Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Foster, Jeff Kober
Directed by Debra Granik
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
2008, Sweden, Swedish
Twelve-year-old Oskar is bullied at school and at home tends to retreat into his own violent fantasies. Oskar's life changes when he makes friends with the mysterious and unkempt 12-year-old Eli. However, when locals start falling victim to a series of gruesome murders, many drained of their blood, Oskar starts to realise that Eli might just be exactly what she seems.
Stars Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
2015, France, Turkish
Early summer in a village in Northern Turkey. Five free-spirited teenage sisters splash about on the beach with their male classmates. Though their games are merely innocent fun, a neighbour passes by and reports what she considers to be illicit behaviour to the girls' family. The family overreacts, removing all 'instruments of corruption', like cell phones and computers, and essentially imprisoning the girls, subjecting them to endless lessons in housework in preparation for them to become brides. As the eldest sisters are married off, the younger ones bond together to avoid the same fate. The fierce love between them empowers them to rebel and chase a future where they can determine their own lives in Deniz Gamze Ergüven's debut, a powerful portrait of female empowerment.
Stars Gunes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu
Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven
MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI
2016, France, English
After losing his mother, a young boy is befriended by a police officer and sent to a foster home with other orphans his age. With the help of his new friends, he begins to trust and love again.
Stars Will Forte, Ellen Page, Nick Offerman
Directed by Claude Barras
2013, Palestine, Arabic
A young Palestinian freedom fighter agrees to work as an informant after he's tricked into an admission of guilt by association in the wake of an Israeli soldier's killing. Oscar-nominated in 2014 for Best Foreign Language Film.
Stars Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
2018, France, English
The saying goes that 'Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives', but Kena and Ziki long for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls resist and remain close friends, supporting each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, the two girls will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.
Stars Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva, Jimmi Gathu, Nini Wacera
Directed by Wanuri Kahio
SHE WHO MUST BE LOVED
2018, Australia, English
A documentary that tells the epic life story of Freda Glynn, 78-year-old Kaytetye woman, stills photographer, co-founder of the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), and Imparja TV, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, radical, pacifist, grumpy old woman, who in equal measure loves the limelight and total privacy. Part-biopic, part-social history, it details the life of a woman born beneath a tree north of Alice Springs in 1939, her childhood living under the Aboriginal Protection policies and the complex impact this had on her life.
Directed by Erica Glynn
2017, Poland, Polish
Duszejko, an eccentric retired construction engineer, an astrologist and a vegetarian, lives in a small mountain village on the Czech-Polish border. One day her beloved dogs disappear. A few months later she discovers the dead body of her neighbour, a poacher. The only traces leading to the mysterious death are those of roe deer hooves around the house. As time goes by, more grisly killings are discovered. The victims, all hunters, belonged to the local elite. The police investigation proves ineffective. Duszejko has her own theory: all murders were committed by wild animals.
Stars Agnieszka Mandat, Wiktor Zborowski, Jakub Gierszal
Directed by Agnieszka Holland
2018, Australia, English
Milena travels to a remote opal mining community to see her estranged, ill father. Lost and alone, she falls into his bewildering world, where men escape society and share ideals of freedom. Soon, he doesn't want her to leave. Stuck in time, father and daughter try to mend their fractured bond, but their connection is fragile, like the strange, colourful gems he digs up from the Earth.
Stars Kate Cheel, Justin Courtin
Directed by Alena Lodkina
2015, Australia, English
Newcomers to the remote Australian desert town of Nathgari, Catherine and Matthew Parker's lives are flung into crisis when they discover their two teenage kids, Tommy and Lily, have mysteriously disappeared just before a massive dust storm hits. With Nathgari eerily smothered in red dust and darkness, the townsfolk join the search led by local cop, David Rae. It soon becomes apparent that something terrible may have happened to the children. Suspicion is cast, rumours spread and the town begins to turn against the Parkers.
Stars Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving
Directed by Kim Farrant
2015, USA, English
It's Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend hasn't been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumour. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles, including an Armenian family dealing with their own repercussions of infidelity. A decidedly modern Christmas tale told on the streets of L.A. bursting with energy and style by director Sean Baker (The Florida Project).
Stars Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor
Directed by Sean Baker
THAT'S NOT ME
2017, Australia, English
Polly's dreams of success as an actor are ruined when her identical twin sister, Amy, catapults to international stardom.
Stars Alice Foulcher, Isabel Lucas, Janine Watson
Directed by Gregory Erstein
THE BAND'S VISIT
2007, Israel, Hebrew
A band comprised of members of the Egyptian police force head to Israel to play at the inaugural ceremony of an Arab cultural centre, only to find themselves stranded, penniless and still wearing their sky-blue uniforms in the middle of nowhere. Winner of three awards at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Stars Sasson Gabai, Ronit Elkabetz
Directed by Eran Kolirin
THE BREAKER UPPERERS
2018, New Zealand, English
Fifteen years ago, Mel (Madeleine Sami) and Jen (Jackie van Beek) discovered they were being two-timed by the same man. Bitter and cynical they became fast friends and formed The Breaker Upperers, a small-time business breaking up couples for cash. Now they're in their late thirties and business is booming. They're a platonic, co-dependent couple who keep their cynicism alive by not getting emotionally involved with anybody else. But when they run into an old victim, Mel develops a conscience and their friendship is truly put to the test.
Stars Jackie Van Beek, Madeleine Sami, Celia Pacquola
Directed by Jackie Van Beek
THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN
2012, Belgium, Flemish
This 2012 Belgian drama was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, won Best Foreign Film at the 39th Cesar Awards and won the 2013 Lux Prize. Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight, in spite of their differences. He talks, she listens. He's a romantic atheist, she's a religious realist. When their daughter becomes seriously ill, their love is put on trial.
Stars Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh, Nell Cattrysse
Directed by Felix Van Groeningen
2018, Denmark, Danish
Alarm dispatcher and former police officer, Asger Holm, answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman. But soon he realises that he is dealing with a crime that is far bigger than he first thought.
Stars Jakob Cedergren, Johan Olsen
Directed by Gustav Moeller
2013, India, Hindi
The late, great Irrfan Khan stars in this gem about Mumbai's famously efficient lunchbox delivery system. A meal made by an unhappy young housewife (Nimrat Kaur) mistakenly lands in the hands of a widower (Irrfan Khan). After realising the mix-up, the strangers begin to communicate through a series of letters, revealing a little more of themselves each time.
Stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Directed by Ritesh Batra
THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE
2017, Finland, Finnish
Set against the current refugee crisis, this bittersweet comedy follows two people searching for a place to call home. Displaced Syrian Khaled lands in Helsinki as a stowaway; meanwhile, middle-aged salesman Wikstram leaves behind his wife and job and buys a conspicuously unprofitable seafood restaurant. After Khaled is denied asylum, he decides not to return to Aleppo – and the paths of the two men cross fortuitously.
Stars Ville Virtanen, Kati Outinen, Tommi Eronen
Directed by Aki Kaurismaki
THE RED TURTLE
2016, Japan, No Dialogue
Produced by Studio Ghibli, The Red Turtle is a 2016 animated fantasy film about a stranded castaway who reflects on what’s most important in life: companionship, love, family and the stewardship of nature. The film has no dialogue and was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 89th Academy Awards.
Directed by Michael Dudok De Wit
Interview: Michael Dudok De Wit talks 'red Turtle' and being backed by Studio Ghibli
The Red Turtle review: Studio Ghibli's new animation a gorgeous island myth
2014, Australia/Thailand/Laos, Lao
A boy who is believed to bring bad luck to everyone around him leads his family and two new friends through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey through a land scarred by the legacy of war, to prove he's not bad luck he builds a giant rocket to enter the most exciting and dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival.
Stars Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam
Directed by Kim Mordaunt
Winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, The Square is a merciless satire of modern art, hypocrisy and fragile male ego. Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is The Square, an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But disaster strikes when Christian's phone is stolen, his new performance art piece turns dangerously awry, and his marketing campaign goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As Christian desperately tries to hold onto his own ego while his comfortable life spirals out of control, his good intentions are increasingly abandoned, with hilarious results.
Stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West
Directed by Ruben Ostlund
Listen: The Square star Claes Bang on SBS podcast The Playlist (at 23:42)
2015, USA, English
Confined in an apartment from a New York housing project, the six Angulo brothers learned everything they know about the world through watching films and spend their time re-enacting their favourite movies with intricate homemade costumes.
Directed by Crystal Moselle
2016, Germany, German
Winfried doesn’t see much of his daughter, Ines. He decides to surprise her with a visit but it’s an awkward move because Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. The geographical change doesn’t help the two see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. What’s worse are his little jabs at her routine lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars and performance reports. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy ‘Toni Erdmann’, Winfried’s smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines’ professional life, claiming to be her CEO’s life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn’t hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all.
Stars Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonische
Directed by Maren Ade
TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
2014, Belgium, French
In her Academy-award nominated role, Marion Cotillard stars as Sandra, a young woman assisted by her husband, who has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their much-needed bonuses so that she can keep her job.
Stars Marion Cotillard
Directed by Luc Dardenne
2012, Saudi Arabia, Arabic
A snapshot of modern Saudi Arabia following the story of fun-loving, entrepreneurial and rebellious 10-year-old girl Wadjda, who is determined to fight for her dreams, which include saving enough money to buy a bicycle, so she can race her friend Abdullah. Wadjda lives at home with her parents, who are loving if a little distracted. Her father isn't around much, and her mother is convinced he's busy looking for a second wife. The story is tailored to highlight the pressures and difficulties faced by women in Saudi Arabia, with a rare glimpse into the lives of women behind closed doors and the warm relationships between mothers and daughters.
Stars Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani
Directed by Haifaa Al Mansour
2014, Turkey, Turkish
In Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Palme d'Or winner, Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce. In winter as the snow begins to fall, the hotel turns into a shelter, but also an inescapable place that fuels their animosities.
Stars Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sozen, Demet Akbag
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
WOMAN AT WAR
2018, France, Icelandic
A charming and topical film from Benedikt Erlingsson (Of Horses and Men) Woman At War is a quirky, heroic tale set in our world of imminent threat – the tale of an unlikely David taking on the Goliath of industry, one electricity pylon at a time. Halla is a 50-year-old independent woman, a respected choir leader who lives a mysterious double life. Known to the public only by her alias 'The Mountain Woman', Halla is a passionate environmental activist, secretly waging a one-woman war on the local aluminium industry and risking everything to conserve the pristine Icelandic highlands she loves. But as her actions grow bolder and her legend grows, an unexpected letter changes everything – her application to adopt a child has finally been accepted and there is a little girl waiting for her in Ukraine. Before she can fulfil her dream of becoming a mother, Halla plots an attack to deal the mining companies one final crippling blow.
Stars Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Jóhann Sigurðarson, Juan Camillo Roman Estrada
Directed by Benedikt Erlingsson
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