The COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in the cancellation of many film festivals this year owing to the unprecedented social distancing laws in place. The 67th Sydney Film Festival, however, has re-emerged as a virtual film festival in which lovers of fine cinema can watch their favourite films in the comfort of their own homes.

Previously, the festival has screened over 250 films from around the world, but this year, the festival is more concise, with a program of only 33 films.

As a result, the selection of feature films and shorts in the LGBTQI category has been reduced significantly.

A Perfectly Normal Family is an Australian premiere from Denmark which should prove controversial viewing among straight audiences.

The film centres on a married man and the proud father of two teenage daughters, who abruptly announces he’s having a transgender operation. He claims he’s a woman living in a man’s body. But how will this life-changing decision affect the wife and daughters he cherishes?

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 Aptly described as an emotional rollercoaster ride, the film contains heartbreaking scenes that will reduce the most insensitive viewers to tears when the youngest daughter fails to accept her father’s gender transformation.

Viewers who are expecting a sexually explicit film may  be disappointed, as this is a thought-provoking drama devoid of sex and nudity. The film doesn’t involve storylines of new relationships nor the community’s prejudices but concentrates solely within the family unit. 

Universal themes of choices, acceptance, and rejection resonate. (★★★ ½)

Her Own Music is an Australian coming-of-age short set in a private girl’s college that explores the sexual awakening of a young student. Whilst tutoring music, the school captain forms an attraction for a younger student. Is this inappropriate behaviour for the school captain of a reputable college for girls? Is this obsession or love? 

Raunchy scenes. (★★★)

Groundhog Night is a delightful high-quality Australian short. Making out can be hard at the best of times, but especially so for Gary, a widower who has two daughters – one who sells pleasurable sex toys and the other who lives with a disability and requires most of his attention. The in-laws arrive unannounced on the second anniversary of his wife’s passing and hilarious discussions and hard truths evolve during dinner. Realisations and revelations transpire – but who “comes out” as queer at the dinner table? 

Emily Dash, Robyn Nevin, and Chris Haywood star. (★★★ ½)

June 10-21. Virtual 67th Sydney Film Festival

 

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