More Than 230 Films Selected for 51st Sydney Film Festival
by Wendy Mitchell
The Sydney Film Festival, now in its 51st year, will kick off tomorrow for an event that will run 16 days and show more than 230 films. The opening-night film, the mystery "In My Father's Den," is New Zealand director Brad McGann's feature debut. Takeshi Kitano's "Zatoichi" will close the fest.
Other notable films in the program include Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee & Cigarettes," Ken Loach's "Ae Fond Kiss," Mario Van Peebles' "Baadasssss!," Venice winner "The Return," and the doc "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster."
A number of Cannes films will have their Aussie premieres at the festival, including "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," Australian feature "Somersault," "De-Lovely," and "The Woodsman." Other international offerings will include "Born Into Brothels" (U.S.), "Reconstruction" (Denmark), "Take My Eyes" (Spain), "Silent Waters" (Pakistan), and "Maria Full of Grace" (U.S.).
A large program of Australian narratives, docs, and shorts will also screen; domestic docs include Janine Hosking's "Mademoiselle and the Doctor," about euthanasia, Claude Gonzalez's "Sydney at War-The Undtold Story," about Japanese submarines in Sydney Harbour in 1942; and David Vanderloo's "Beyond Sorry," about an urban Aboriginal woman who returns to her old community. Another local classic, "The Sentimental Bloke" (1919) will have a special screening after being recently restored. Thirteen finalists for best Australian short will compete in the festival's Dendy Awards.
Special programs at Sydney 2004 include an Antonioni retrospective with a whopping 14 features, 13 shorts, and four docs. A Canadian Focus will include recent Canadian productions including Guy Maddin's "The Saddest Music in the World," Ron Mann's "Go Further," and John Greyson's "Proteus."
Guests slated to attend include actor Geoffrey Rush, "Bright Leaves" director Ross McElwee, South Korean director E.J. Yong, and "The Corpoation" co-director Jennifer Abbott.
The 2004 festival will be the sixth and final year under artistic director Gayle Lake; writer Lynden Barber has signed on for the 2005 and 2006 festivals.
[For more information on the Sydney Film Festival, visit www.sydneyfilmfestival.org.]