The Adelaide Film Festival kicks off this week, with an impressive array of shorts, feature-length films and documentaries from Australia and abroad. Here’s a list of our ‘must-see’ films of the 2017 lineup.
With a name like this, how could we not? Director Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays) returns to Australian screens with a comedy-drama told from six different perspectives of a family who reunite in Adelaide. A claustrophobic and deeply intimate look at how f*#!ing terrible (and glorious) it can be to return home. Starring Pamela Rabe as the matriarch Maude and enfant terrible of the Sydney music scene, Brendan Maclean as her prodigal son – this is the perfect film for anyone who has ever had to return home to deal with a dysfunctional family.
Inspired by real events, Sweet Country is a period western set in 1929 in the outback of Northern Territory. Directed by Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah), the story follows Aboriginal stockman Sam (Hamilton Morris), after he kills a white station owner (Ewen Leslie) in self-defence and goes on the run with his wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey-Furber). An expert bushman, Sam continues to evade law enforcement – leading them through the beautiful, but harsh desert country. Eventually, for the heath of his pregnant wife, Sam gives himself up and is put on trial. But will justice prevail? A must-see for history buffs or lovers of honest Australian stories.
Spookers is a moving and strikingly candid look into life as a monster in one of New Zealand’s most popular theme parks. In this documentary by Florian Habicht (Pulp, 2014), we meet the people behind the makeup and gore – and discover what drew them to this curious line of work. It’s a surprisingly heartwarming tale of the family we choose. Great for someone looking for a quirky, life-affirming documentary.
Making A Mark
Filmed during the inaugural year of the Ramsay Art Prize, Making a Mark chronicles a story of passion and creativity as a group of finalists – all aged under 40 – compete for the $100,000 prize. Spanning from Europe to outback Australia, this film explores the great highs and challenging lows of life as a visual artist in the 21st century. Perfect for budding artists or anyone who enjoyed the Ramsay Art Prize exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
The Florida Project
Groundbreaking director Sean Baker (Tangerine) creates a captivating portrait of a community of people living in a budget motel in the shadows of Disneyland. Told through the eyes of precocious six-year-old Moonee (newcomer Brooklynn Prince) and her friends, The Florida Project has been hailed by Variety as a “near-perfect film.” Searing, playful and heartbreaking all in one – this is a not-to-be-missed film experience.
An enthralling firsthand account of the international battle to reclaim the artwork and heritage of one of Australia’s most renowned Indigenous figures, Albert Namatjira. Revered as a master artist and the first indigenous person to be granted Australian citizenship, Namatjira was caught between cultures. Almost 60 years after his death, his family fight to restore his artwork after the rights were sold against his wishes. Screening includes a special Q&A hosted by Lisa Slade before the screening. A must see for art lovers.
Adelaide Film Festival 2017, Thursday 5 to Sunday 15 October. GU Film House, 128 Hindley Street. City.
Are you going to see anything at the Adelaide Film Festival? Let us know in the comments, below.