Top Picks at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival

  • Top Picks at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival
  • Annabelle Fitzherbert
  • June 1, 2017

It’s the best time of the year for cinephiles with the 2017 Sydney Film Festival revealing its 64th program.

Running from the 7 – 18 June, the line-up is packed with star power, controversies, and strong Australian talent. With 288 films in total, there are more things to do than you will ever be able to cram into your schedule!

2017 Sydney Film Festival Sizzle Reel

It’s here! The full 2017 program for Sydney Film Festival has arrived, stacked with nearly 400 sessions of 288 films from 59 countries. Get your physical copy with the SMH this Friday 12 May, or head to the website and start booking your #SydFilmFest tickets RIGHT NOW!

Posted by Sydney Film Festival on Tuesday, 9 May 2017

With so many brilliant films to choose from, we’ve made it easier by giving you our top 4 picks:

#1: Manifesto

Cate Blanchett’s gender-bending performance as Bob Dylan was the best part of Todd Hayne’s experimental biopic I’m Not There, in which six different actors played the singer-songwriter.

But why couldn’t she have played every version of Dylan?

In comes Manifesto: Blanchett doesn’t play a paltry single character, or a measly two characters, or an easy peasy three characters. She plays 13 in total, including a homeless man, punk, newsreader and school teacher.

Created by German artist Julian Rosefeldt, Manifesto was originally commissioned as a multi-screen video installation. In this feature film revamp, Blanchett gets to flex her acting muscles, appearing as — among other things — a news anchor, a factory worker, a homeless man and a puppeteer.

#2: The Beguiled

Director Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) gets sexy in her fresh-from-Cannes thriller, The Beguiled.

A remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film of the same name, the film takes place in an all-girl boarding school during the American Civil War, where a group of students and teachers (Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman among them) nurse an enemy soldier (Colin Farrell) back to health.

#3: We Don’t Need a Map

Opening the festival this year is Warwick Thornton’s documentary, We Don’t Need a Map, which takes a look at what the Southern Cross has come to symbolise, and what it means for Indigenous communities.

Thornton’s film focuses on the complicated history of Australia’s relationship with The Southern Cross, a symbol of rebellion – and lately, of nationalism. The film, which will debut on SBS and NITV after the festival, asks tough questions about who we really are as a nation by examining the cultural place of the Southern Cross constellation in the Australian psyche.

#4: Risk

Poitras follows Citizenfour with a profile of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in Risk.

Laura Poitras’ last film was Citizenfour: the white knuckle, Oscar-winning documentary about Edward Snowden that unfolded a hair’s breadth from the on-the-run whistleblower.

Risk, a study of the psyche of Julian Assange, boasts similarly unprecedented access to its subject, following the elusive silver-haired WikiLeaks founder from 2011, just after the organisation leaked the Iraq “war logs”.

Poitras recut the film after changing her mind about her subject: the new cut, woven with new narration from Poitras herself, paints Assange as less trustworthy and more narcissistic, and deals more explicitly with the sexual assault accusations levelled at him.

For a list of films competing for the Sydney Festival’s top prize, visit SBS Movies.

For the 2017 program, tickets and more information, visit Sydney Film Festival.

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