Twelve features from around the globe will compete for the International Award for Best Feature Film at this year’s Adelaide Film Festival, sponsored by Foxtel Movies.
Diverse films from France, Turkey, Chile, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hungary, Palestine, Germany, Italy, and for the first time, East Timor, will compete at the Festival, which starts next month, running October 10-20.
The winning director will be awarded a $25,000 cash prize, to be announced at the Festival’s closing night.
Mr Peter Rose, Director – Foxtel Movie Channels,said today: “Foxtel Movies is proud to support this year’s International Award for Best Feature Film which celebrates filmmaking from Australia and around the world.”
Judging the Competition Films will be this year’s Jury members:
Al Clark, this year’s Jury President, is the producer behind some of Australia’s most memorable films, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Chopper and more recently, Goddess.
Liz Watts produced Animal Kingdom, Little Fish and the upcoming feature, The Rover.
Wayne Blair is a writer, actor and director, best know for directing The Sapphires. Wayne has also been on both sides of the camera in the acclaimed ABC drama Redfern Now.
Maryanne Redpath is the director of the Generation section of the Berlin International Film Festival.
Lawrence Weschler wrote for the New Yorker and is currently Artistic Director Emeritus of Chicago Humanities Festival.
This year’s Competition Films are:
BASTARDS – DIRECTED BY CLAIRE DENIS (FRANCE)
The brother of a woman whose family has been destroyed by a corrupt loan shark begins a cold-blooded seduction of the villain’s wife.
This tale of exploitation and revenge is told in a coldly brilliant and elliptical fashion.
BEATRIZ’S WAR – DIRECTED BY LUIGI ACQUISTO AND BETTY REIS (EAST TIMOR) AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
East Timor’s first feature film has an epic span covering the 24-year period of Indonesian occupation.
Beatriz and Tomas grow up together but are torn apart by the war. The film focuses on the life women lived under occupation: their struggles, fears, loves, and strengths. It is a passionate story of one woman’s conviction to remain true to the man she loves and the country for which she fought.
THE DANCE OF REALITY – DIRECTED BY ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY (CHILE)
After a 23-year hiatus, Jodorowsky returns with this triumphant “imaginary autobiography” replete with a Stalinist strong-man father, a mother who sings all her dialogue as opera and in true surrealist style, his father is played by his own son.
The director himself appears at the start of the film, equating money, blood, Christ, Buddha and the circus, suggesting that all things in life are connected in a strange web of pain and pleasure.
A truly refreshing blast of energy from a visionary who hasn’t been mellowed by old age.
HOW I LIVE NOW – DIRECTED BY KEVIN MACDONALD (UK) AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
Based on Meg Rosoff’s best-selling now, How I Live Now juxtaposes two worlds: the hesitant but idyllic world of youth set against the harsh realities of militarism.
Saoirse Ronan, one of the hottest young actors in the world right now, plays Daisy, an American teenager sent to stay with relatives in the English countryside. Initially withdrawn and alienated, she strikes up a romance in the utopian moment before the bottom falls out of her world. War suddenly breaks out. England is invaded and the UK falls into a violent, chaotic military state.
JÎN – DIRECTED BY REHA ERDAM (TURKEY)
A 17-year-old girl deserts and tried to make her way through the forest to her grandmother’s house.
Playing on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, Jîn moves through the green landscapes and is in contact with the animals who share her condition as solitary, threatened and magnificent figures – and there is no shortage of big bad wolves in the world, though they are exclusively human.
THE NOTEBOOK – DIRECTED BY JANOS SZASZ (HUNGARY) AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
From one of Hungary’s leading directors comes a fine and intense adaptation of one of that country’s most prominent novels of the war.
Two twin boys are taken to the countryside by their parents and left with their hostile old granny. They are given a blank notebook and told to fill it with their experiences. They quickly learn that the best way to deal with pain and hunger is to desensitise themselves to everything. As the Nazis, the Holocaust, and then the terrors of peace sweep through the country, the boys must walk the fine line between self-reliance and viciousness.
OMAR – DIRECTED BY HANY ABU-‐ASAD (PALESTINE)
Omar is a young Palestinian baker in love with Nadia. His first problem is that she lives on one side of the Israeli security wall and he lives on the other. His other problem is that he and his friends have hatched a plan to kill an Israeli soldier, but Omar quickly finds there are informers everywhere—even among those to whom he is closest.
Abu-Assad’s follow up to the much-praised Paradise Now has been hailed as the first wholly Palestinian production. It is an intense and beautifully shot thriller, but more than this, it is also a film that refuses to take easy ways out.
Omar is a man without a country, caught in the middle without any way home.
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE – DIRECTED BY JIM JARMUSCH (UK/GERMANY/FRANCE/CYPRUS/USA) AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
The concept: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska as vampires. If you’re a vampire you wear dark glasses, have scuzzy hair, sleep all day and hang out all night discussing art. How cool would that be!
Jim Jarmusch’s slyly funny genre revision recasts vampires as the ultimate hipster junkies cruising around the deserted ruins of contemporary Detroit and the Tangiers of William Burroughs (or maybe that should be Christopher Marlowe who is brilliantly played by John Hurt).
The problem with being a vampire is that you have lived long enough to have better taste than everyone else.
THE PAST – DIRECTED BY ASGHAR FARHADI (FRANCE AND ITALY)
Marie (Berenice Bejo) invites her estranged Iranian husband to stay while they finalise their divorce. He finds himself in the middle of her new relationship and her children. This is no simple family drama.
Farhadi’s (The Separation) ability to build completely enthralling and dramatically dense scenes is unsurpassed in contemporary cinema. This deft exploration of the way the past is inextricably tied up with the present establishes him as one of the great directors of the moment.
THE SELFISH GIANT – DIRECTED BY CLIO BERNARD (UK)
This loose adaptation reimagines Oscar Wilde’s famous fairy story in Ken Loach country – a northern England housing estate.
Arbor is a problem child, constantly in trouble, with only his sense of defiance standing between him and the world. His sole friend is Swifty, who is a little slow but who dreams of nothing more than working with horses.
Hailed as a triumph at Cannes, this major world of intensely observed realism has critics singling out Barnard as the most important new talent in British cinema.
STRANGER BY THE LAKE – DIRECTED BY ALAIN GUIRAUDIE (FRANCE)
Audiences have been hotly debating the merits of this film since its breakthrough triumph at Cannes.
Franck spends his summer hanging out at the local gay beach, looking for action. When he witnesses Michel drowning his current lover, he is irresistibly drawn to the dangerous eroticism of a highly physical liaison with him.
Beneath the sparkling waters run darker currents. The cruising scene involves the juxtaposition of intense sexual activity and a coldly emotional distance. Franck lives in this gap, but will he die in it?
THESE FINAL HOURS – DIRECTED BY ZAK HILDITCH (AUSTRALIA)
So would you get drunk, kill yourself, pray? As a fiery apocalypse bears down on Perth, James (Wolf Creek’s Nathan Phillips) has to make some choices and make his peace with the people in his life. In the meantime he inherits Rose, a young girl who has been torn adrift from her family.
Zak Hilditch’s debut feature recently won the Critic’s Prize for Best Australian film at the Melbourne International Film Festival. It looks terrific (with cinematography by My Tehran For Sale’s Bonnie Elliott) and moves at a cracking pace as James races against time to find out what is important to cling to when the end comes.