The Sydney Film Festival returns next month with its usual offering of great movies from your heroes and people you've never heard of. Showing infinitely better taste than you, the curators have pulled together a program that touches on music, culture, sex, crime, fame, and heaps of other brain-splittingly great stuff—including some supporting exhibitions and talks thanks to Vivid Live.
The program is so packed, we've made things easier for you by selecting our picks. Get ready to eat all the choc-tops.
Dope - Directed by Rick Famuyiwa
This movie is going to be awesome for a bunch of reasons. It's set in a weird reimagined version of LA where it's somehow 1995 and 2015. Zoe Kravitz and Forest Whitaker are in it. The music is killer. And 80 seconds into the trailer they've already successfully demonstrated how annoying Coachella is.
But even if it had none of those things going for it we'd still tell you to watch it because someone finally realized how amazing A$AP Rocky would be as a bad guy. If he isn't cast as the next Bond villain someone isn't doing their job right.
Kabukicho Love Hotel -Directed by Ryuichi Hiroki
Sex isn't a new theme in film. But sex in a hotel that exists for fleeting, often secretive, encounters might be. Kabukicho Love Hotel uses the most basic human interaction as a background for a endlessly nuanced story about crime, secrets, and relationships. What's not to like?
The Smell of Us - Directed by Larry Clark
Larry Clark's first film Kids is the benchmark for telling brutally real stories about young people. It's also hung over the director for 20 years. Considering it's probably a pain having everything you do held up against your debut for two entire decades, it's surprising to see him face up to his own legacy so readily with The Smell of Us.
Set in France and returning to the themes that made his name, Clark explores youth from a modern perspective. Yes everyone has a smartphone and the Internet is ever present, but he also reminds us kids are still obsessed with sex and themselves. Some things never change.
The Duke of Burgundy - Directed by Peter Strickland
It's honestly hard to get much of a read about where Peter Strickland is going with The Duke of Burgundy. What we do know is the trailer is full of ominous S&M images, and Sidse Babett Knudsen who played the Danish PM in Borgen is in it. Also, there are butterflies, corsets, knowing glances, and something bad is probably going to happen. Sold.
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief -
Have you ever thought about how Scientology works? Of course you have. Luckily, so has Alex Gibney. His infamous-before-it-was-even-released documentary takes a brutal look at the secretive community. In Going Clear Gibney investigates the organization and asks, is it a cult, a religion, a business, or something else entirely? The film satisfies in its findings, but if you have any leftover questions you can ask the man himself at his talk for Vivid Ideas.
Amy - Directed by Asif Kapadia
It's hard to think of another music film that has been as highly anticipated as Amy. Charting Amy Winehouse's rise and tragic fall, the documentary looks at her life from her own perspective. Asif Kapadia had access to hours of intimate home footage of the singer and the media circus that dominated so much of her last years.
VICE is giving away tickets to see all these movies at SFF. To grab one head here.
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