Sydney Film Festival: Experiments On A Budget

The final weekend of the 56th SFF offers plenty for film lovers -- if you can get past the red carpet, that is.

by | June 11, 2009 | Comments


The Girlfriend Experience

As it heads towards its untimely finale, the 56th Sydney Film Festival’s final week has served up some fine first-runs for these shores (Black Dynamite, In the Loop and Soul Power all being standouts) and a bizarre bag of ‘international guests’.

Case #1: Sasha Grey. A last-minute addition to the festival’s sparse ‘star’ power, Ms Grey will be familiar to many as an infamous flesh-baring face of porn. Having ‘gone serious’ (i.e. quit porn), the 21-year-old found a sympathetic (or exploitative?) ear in director Steven Soderbergh (he being the man who made sex, lies and videotape all those years ago). Soderbergh’s latest chin-stroking offering? The Girlfriend Experience (or ‘Experiment’ as one colleague dubbed it). Cue a series of rambling, sexless scenes involving our gal as an escort, with a wet, fitness-instructor boyfriend, and a clutch of fat cats offering pointless drivel about the Global Financial Crisis. Read: This film is relevant. Only it’s not. Being a fan of Soderbergh, I was dismayed to find the film smacking of opportunism, pretension and a shallow, soul-less narrative. But the film will no doubt fair reasonably well in arthouse locales on Oxford Street.


Teri Hatcher (left) in Coraline

Case #2: Teri Hatcher. I was dubious, to say the least, when we were told at the festival’s launch some weeks ago that a Desperate Housewife — with less than a stellar career in film — would be the ‘big name’ for this year’s event. The film she’s plugging — the animated Coraline — may be good, but does anyone even vaguely interested in movies give a toss about a TV star? I doubt it.

Case #3: James Nesbitt. Although not publicised for his presence here, the Cold Feet star has been spotted about town (a bit like Pink, who’s here on tour), supposedly soaking up what’s left of our beloved-but-threadbare main event that is the festival. I’m sure he’s a lovely chap, but can’t we do any better than a lukewarm body part, a forgotten Star Trek co-star, or a porn queen who’s disturbingly young to be suddenly craving credibility?


Ché

Red-carpet ranting aside, the final weekend has much to offer (hats off to the programmers for some very impressive selections this year). Soderbergh’s other festival highlight, Ché (yep, the Cuban revolutionary on t-shirts the world over) stretches across five hours, is split into two parts, and has its only screening on Sunday.

And to close the old dog? A sea of speeches, awards that have to handed out, and possibly a back-slap or two. The film that wraps up the whole thing: Denmark’s Lone Scherfig’s latest, An Education, filmed in England. Just imagine if we’d had Black Dynamite or In the Loop as the finale. They’d be breaking the doors down.

The Girlfriend Experience screens Friday June 12 at 7.15pm and Saturday June 13 at 10am at the State Theatre, Market Street.

Coraline screens Saturday June 13 at 12pm at Hoyts-Greater Union, George Street.

Ché parts 1 and 2 screens Sunday June 14 at 2.15pm at the State Theatre.

An Education screens Sunday June 14 at 7.30pm at the State Theatre.

For full program details, see the Sydney Film Festival’s website

Tag Cloud

Writers Guild of America Comedy Central Music ABC Nickelodeon Winners Starz Sundance Masterpiece Nat Geo cats ABC Family dc Tomatazos A&E crime drama Valentine's Day Toys Action CBS blaxploitation Fox News sports Video Games Drama Box Office TBS Holidays singing competition Fall TV Horror San Diego Comic-Con Showtime Columbia Pictures cooking 007 GoT NYCC Rock Ovation FXX ITV APB Martial Arts Walt Disney Pictures spy thriller Hulu crossover cults Paramount Network vampires zombie crime 45 aliens YouTube Premium Summer Countdown anime Photos Marathons HBO political drama Premiere Dates Warner Bros. GIFs Superheroes USA Network Epix Britbox Certified Fresh President Rom-Com 2016 Polls and Games what to watch Awards VH1 Disney Lucasfilm Nominations binge medical drama Crackle Oscars 2015 Sony Pictures WGN Acorn TV Trivia Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Election TLC DC Universe Musical Best and Worst YouTube Red mutant romance GLAAD Food Network composers period drama serial killer Rocky First Look Red Carpet Animation Cosplay CBS All Access Pirates MSNBC adventure Lifetime supernatural Spring TV Winter TV History BBC America Tumblr politics CMT OWN golden globes Esquire DC Comics X-Men Christmas Pop ESPN Western transformers National Geographic Bravo SDCC Country Infographic Character Guide festivals 2017 Super Bowl travel Mystery Amazon NBC war TNT Mindy Kaling streaming TruTV Disney Channel biography Trailer Sneak Peek diversity The Arrangement Comics on TV SundanceTV Lionsgate Spike 21st Century Fox PaleyFest Opinion justice league DC streaming service 20th Century Fox Thanksgiving DirecTV Apple FX dramedy Sundance Now RT History Universal Ghostbusters Ellie Kemper social media Extras sitcom El Rey CW Seed Grammys Biopics PBS robots jamie lee curtis LGBTQ USA CNN Paramount E! zombies Reality Competition cops doctor who Freeform Adult Swim Logo Cartoon Network TCA SXSW Musicals ratings psycho TV Land Set visit BBC Pixar TCM Fantasy YA historical drama Year in Review crime thriller discovery Podcast 24 frames Netflix American Society of Cinematographers FOX comiccon Calendar Dark Horse Comics Sci-Fi boxoffice IFC Films finale AMC E3 harry potter police drama Shudder Creative Arts Emmys cinemax dceu Star Wars based on movie TIFF New York Comic Con docudrama talk show Song of Ice and Fire Superheroe unscripted See It Skip It Star Trek Teen science fiction TCA 2017 thriller MTV Reality VICE Mary Tyler Moore Comedy BET Comic Book Syfy IFC technology Watching Series TV Interview Shondaland hist Schedule Emmys The CW Kids & Family Marvel