Image credit: Good Manners by Vendetta Films

Must-see movies at this year's Sydney Film Festival

28 May 2018
5 good reasons to take a break during STUVAC…
Drop your books and grab exclusive discounted tickets to the 65th Sydney Film Festival. Our resident film buff, Dr Bruce Isaacs, Senior Lecturer of Film Studies has combed through the jam-packed program to handpick his top 5 SFF movies.

Exams are near, but taking the odd break from the books is actually good for you. So use that excuse and  grab your popcorn and tickets to the Sydney Film Festival. From 6–17 June, this year’s festival will showcase 250 films from 65 countries covering the gamut of genres with LGBTIQ, Australian, international documentaries, horror, restored classics, virtual reality, short films, and more.

As a festival partner Sydney Uni will be well represented, with our very own academics sharing their cinematic knowledge and presenting the weird and wonderful ‘Freak Me Out’ horror program (check out the Spotify playlist if you want to study to something a little different). Plus, a team of film studies students will be on the ground to create the Sydney Film Festival 2018 Dossier, compiling interviews with leading directors, critics and other industry big-hitters.

And you can get involved too, with special discount tickets (details below), and some must-see recommendations from our big screen guru, Dr Bruce Isaacs.

Black KkKlansman

1. Black KkKlansman

Straight from the Cannes competition, Spike Lee’s inventive, funny and angry Black KkKlansman tells the remarkable true story of an African-American cop who successfully infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan.

Bruce: “After the Cannes reception, Black KkKlansman is definitely number one for me. Lee’s output is a bit erratic, but he’s certainly a provocative filmmaker, and this is seriously provocative material.”

2. Transit

Christian Petzold’s (Barbara, SFF 2012; Phoenix, SFF 2015) wartime love story between World War II refugees is daringly set in contemporary Marseille.

Bruce: “I loved Petzhold’s 2012 film, Barbara, and Transit looks a similarly enthralling meditation on the effects of political systems on individuals.”

The field Guide to Evil

3. The Field Guide to Evil

Nine of the world’s best genre filmmakers tell creepy tales drawn from folklore in the spine-tingling new anthology from The ABCs of Death producers Ant Timpson and Tim League – and it’s showing down the road at student-friendly Dendy Newtown.

Bruce: “I love horror in all its guises, and this film investigates that genre from different perspectives, tones and points of view.”

4. An Elephant Sitting Still

This astonishing masterpiece – about the inter-connected lives of four people desperate to leave their Chinese town – is tinged with tragedy: the director Hu Bo took his own life before it was released.

Bruce: “A highly anticipated film from Hu Bo, this is a film in the tradition of slow cinema, with a philosophical approach to the world and cinema that should be a challenging, mesmerizing experience.”


5. Whitney

Direct from Cannes, Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald’s (Marley, SFF 2012) unflinching and honest portrait of a rare talent, Whitney Houston, told by those closest to her.

Bruce: “I’m obsessed with music documentaries at the moment, and I remember as a young child in the mid-80s, Whitney’s ‘The Greatest Love of All’ being something of an anthem for the times.”

Dr Bruce Isaacs and recent PhD graduate Dr Olivia Oliver-Hopkins will chat with guest programmer Richard Kuipers for the panel discussion Obsessed with Horror on 16 June at Dendy Newtown.  They’ll debate and defend their love of horror cinema before the screening of Ant Timpson’s new film The Field Guide to Evil.

A limited number of discount tickets are available for students – email for details.

The Sydney Film Festival is held from 6 – 17 June across the CBD and greater Sydney. The University of Sydney is an Education Partner of the 2018 Sydney Film Festival.

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