The full program has been announced for the Sydney Film Festival 2019, which kicks off its 66th edition next month on June 5.
This year’s festival features 307 shorts, feature films and documentaries representing 55 countries from around the world.
Two Australian offerings feature among the LGBTI cinema highlights, with the world premiere of Samuel Van Grinsven’s debut film Sequin in a Blue Room featuring alongside Imogen McCluskey’s Suburban Wildlife.
Matt Bomer stars in the previously announced Papi Chulo, while Ralph Fiennes once again steps behind the camera for The White Crow, a biopic of Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev in the years leading up to his defection to the West.
The pansexual post-punk of Mexico in the mid-’80s is explored in This is Not Berlin, an art and sex-laden coming-of-age tale with a killer soundtrack.
On the documentary side, Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts looks behind the scenes of the career of the RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner, while XY Chelsea looks at Chelsea Manning’s life after having her sentence commuted – all the more timely now that she finds herself languishing in jail once again at the hands of conservative governmental forces.
The trend of docos about gay fashion designers continues with Halston, which looks at the life and work of Roy Halston Frowick, who designed Jackie Kennedy’s legendary pillbox hat before going on to design for Liza Minnelli and many more.
Melbourne director Em Baker turns a camera towards marriage, showcasing four very different women’s very different weddings in Australia, India, Turkey and Mexico in I Am No Bird, which features a same-sex couple.
The Screenability program includes Vision Portraits, as American filmmaker Rodney Evans contemplates his loss of vision while looking at the lives of fellow visually impaired artists, using unique filmic techniques.
One the more experimental side, French filmmaker Frank Beauvoir compiles a moving and innovative essay film in Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream, which is composed of hundreds of clips from films he immersed himself in to cope with breaking up with his boyfriend.
Beyond the LGBTI offerings, this year’s SFF offers a bevy of world cinema stories, which Festival Director Nashen Moodley says hold “a mirror to titanic shifts culturally and politically”.
Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook follow-up The Nightingale, a relentless tale of revenge in 19th century colonial Australia will finally screen as part of the festival after lengthy delays, while Handmaid’s Tale star Elisabeth Moss stars as Courtney Love-esque rocker Becky Something in Her Smell.
Jim Jarmusch’s highly anticipated and star-filled zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die arrives straight from Cannes, as does Bong Joon-ho’s Okja follow-up Parasite.
Attendees lucky enough to see Kleber Mendonça Filho’s excellent SFF Competition winner Aquarius will surely be first in line for his new film Bacurau, co-directed with Juliano Dornelles and fresh from the Cannes competition.
Further highlights include Mirrah Foulkes’ bruising Judy & Punch, Partho Sen-Gupta’s poetry drama Slam, Joanna Hogg’s Sundance Grand Prize-winner The Souvenir, ruminative three-hour Chinese drama So Long, My Son, Sundance Audience Award-winner Brittany Runs a Marathon, and one of the year’s best-reviewed documentaries Apollo 11.
The 2019 festival will also include a major retrospective of the works of legendary director Agnes Varda, who passed away earlier this year.
The Sydney Film Festival 2019 opens with Rachel Ward’s Palm Beach, and runs through to June 16.
To view the full program and to buy tickets, head to sff.org.au.