On the occasion of our 22nd birthday, we’re returning to Y2K and screening one (or two) films from each year we’ve been serving as Sydney’s home of curated cinema. We’ve handpicked over 30 titles – a mix of our all-time and recent favourites – to be screened across four months.
Whether you’re a die-hard regular or first-time visitor, this series is an invitation to visit our beautiful 340-seat theatre and see a movie on the big screen.
For 22 years now – every Wednesday and Sunday like clockwork – the Art Gallery Cinema has offered audiences access to feature films, documentaries and shorts from across the globe. As commercial theatres continue to shutter, we’ve remained a bastion for publicly accessible, critically engaged film culture in Sydney, a UNESCO City of Film.
Feeling 22 offers a countdown of millennium-defining films by key new voices such as Bong Joon-ho, Lucrecia Martel and Jordan Peele, alongside landmarks by acclaimed directors including David Lynch and Lynne Ramsay.
The series spans coming-of-age tales, comedies, revisionist westerns and a surreal pop musical. Along the way, we’ll encounter the transformations of the digital turn, the rise of powerhouse new film industries across Asia, and a range of epoch-defining issues that have dominated 21st-century filmmaking.
Feeling 22 is not a ‘best of’ list, but rather a selection of films – some canonical, others underseen revelations – that expresses our playful programming ethos. Unlike an algorithm, we believe in the power of montage and discovery, of bringing together works that aren’t alike to create wayward film histories and new conversations.
Join us on a trip through the 2000s, as we mark our two-decade anniversary and celebrate our commitment to introducing Sydney audiences to cinema’s visionaries – past, present and future.
Feeling 22 Celebrating two decades of Art Gallery Cinema
Art Gallery of NSW
At the beginning of each month, we release online tickets for that month’s sessions. Tickets are also available at the information desk and outside the Domain Theatre from one hour before each screening.
Morvern CallarDir Lynne Ramsay 2002 (UK)
97 min 35mm Colour Rated M
Samantha Morton, Kathleen McDermott
Morvern Callar (Morton) is an unforgettable antiheroine. The 21-year-old wakes up on Christmas morning to discover her boyfriend has committed suicide, leaving behind an unpublished manuscript. Against the perverse cheer of festive lights, Morvern claims the novel as her own, sends it off to a publisher and escapes to party in Ibiza. Lauded at Cannes for its dreamy cinematography and 1990s mixtape soundtrack (Can, Broadcast, Aphex Twin), Ramsay’s sophomore feature plays as an ecstatic trance. Morvern is mercurial, fizzing with laughter in one frame, dead-eyed in the next. Part of the film’s pleasure lies in deciphering her motivations as she raves and road trips through southern Spain. In Ramsay’s words: 'I loved Morvern, you know? The way she saw the world, how she didn’t take the road she was meant to. She’s kind of a revolutionary to me'.
TeknolustDir Lynn Hershman Leeson 2003 (US)
85 min Digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Davies
Tilda Swinton as a trio of Technicolour cyborgs? Welcome to Teknolust. Pioneering digital artist Lynn Hershman Leeson’s cult sci-fi is peak 2003. Think: bubble iMacs, chatbots and dream e-portals. There’s a loose plot involving the romantic escapades of AI automatons in the 'real' world, but the film’s real pleasure lies in rediscovering its distinctively Y2K aesthetic. Teknolust was the first feature shot on high-definition video and included an accompanying website where users could interact with its virtual cast. This expanded cinematic realm is a time capsule of techno-optimism for the democratising potential of digital filmmaking, and the radical new intimacies of the internet. ‘Brilliant - the hippest cyber-fi film ever!’ – critic B Ruby Rich.
Sunday 10 July 2022 2–3.25pm
The holy girlDir Lucrecia Martel 2004 (Argentina)
106 min 35mm-to-digital Colour Unclassified 18+
María Alché, Julieta Zylberberg, Mercedes Morán
Spanish with English subtitles
Heaven and hell. Chastity and temptation. Redemption and suffering. Lucrecia Martel’s fever dream centres on two mischievous friends unable to distinguish between spiritual and sexual yearnings. The drama begins when a visiting doctor brushes up against a hotel proprietor’s daughter, Amalia (Alché), at a theremin performance. This scene of encounter is telling. The holy girl bristles with the tension between hovering hands and contact, the visible and invisible, the clarity of a divine ‘calling’ and half-overheard rumours. Inspired by her own Catholic upbringing, the film confirmed Martel as one of the most gifted mise-en-scènists of the new millennium. ‘The holy girl is a film that defies categorisation, but I’m tempted to call it a miracle.’ – AO Scott, New York Times.
Content warning: includes a scene of sexual assault.
The wayward cloudDir Tsai Ming-liang 2005 (Taiwan)
112 min 35mm-to-digital Colour Unclassified 18+
Lee Kang-sheng, Chen Shiang-chyi
Mandarin with English subtitles
Over the past two decades, Tsai Ming-liang has created a singular oeuvre: an expanding cosmos replete with recurring characters and idiosyncratic obsessions. This film – his most provocative – drops us into early 2000s Taipei. The city’s in a heatwave. Watermelons are abundant. Two lonely hearts – a porn-star named Hsiao-kang (Lee) and a young woman (Chen) – orbit each other in an apartment block and unite in a shocking climax. Along the way, Tsai orchestrates his trademark long-takes and tragicomic eroticism into a surreal musical. Desperate loneliness meets ecstatic desire in song-and-dance interludes inspired by 1950s Mandopop and Busby Berkeley chorus lines.
Sunday 17 July 2022 2–3.55pm
CachéDir Michael Haneke 2005 (France)
118 min 35mm Colour Rated MA15+
Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil
French with English subtitles
Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil star as a bourgeois couple par excellence. She’s a publisher; he’s a famous book reviewer on public TV. Both are apparent heirs to the refinement of the French Enlightenment. Their lives – and conviction in their own upstanding virtue – are disrupted by the arrival of a series of surveillance tapes of their home. Who’s the stalker? What was the crime? These questions motivate the film’s investigation into a family secret which, in Haneke’s hands, directly indexes a national history of colonial exploitation and violent inhospitality. Georges (Auteuil) is no besieged 'victim,' yet Haneke deploys the genre codes of the thriller – late-night calls, taut pacing, explosive confrontations – to encourage audiences to identify with his family’s plight. Caché is a masterpiece of finger-pointing: you, the urbane viewer of a Haneke film, are not exempt from judgement. 'One of the great films of this decade.' – The Guardian.
The lighthouseDir Maria Saakyan 2006 (Armenia)
78 min Digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Anna Kapaleva, Sos Sargsyan, Olga Yakoleva
Russian with English subtitles
The astonishing debut of Maria Saakyan – who tragically passed away at age 37 – explores the impossibility of homecoming when home has been lost. The story plays against the backdrop of the Caucasus wars that engulfed Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the early 1990s. We follow Lena (Kapaleva), a young woman who returns to her besieged mountain village to convince her grandparents to flee to Moscow. She soon realises there is no way out. A once-familiar world unravels in dreams, half-remembrances and an enveloping fog which frames one extraordinary shot after another. Often compared to Soviet film director Andrei Tarkovsky, Saakyan was a cinematic conjurer in her own right, who drew on her own experiences of childhood exile. ‘An incendiary mix of war film, memoir and musical explosion … hands-down the debut of the year.’ – SA Said, TimeOut.
Sunday 24 July 2022 2–3.20pm
Volver Dir Pedro Almodóvar 2006 (Spain)
121 min 35mm Colour Rated M
Penélope Cruz, Yohana Cobo, Lola Dueñas, Carmen Maura
Spanish with English subtitles
Almodóvar’s beloved tragicomedy features a remarkable ensemble cast – the six main actresses shared a Best Actress award at Cannes in 2006. Raimunda (Cruz) is a working-class woman who goes to extreme lengths to protect her family. Things get complicated when her own mother (Maura) returns from the dead to tie up loose ends. Despite its camp sensibility and hyper--saturated aesthetic, Volver remains grounded in the daily struggles and camaraderie of women. Pay attention to what’s playing on TV in the film’s final moments. Almodóvar chose scenes from Luchino Visconti’s Bellissima (1951) as a nod to the mothers of Italian neorealist cinema who served as inspiration for Volver’s matriarchs: 'To me, one of the most expressive images of motherhood onscreen is Anna Magnani, in underwear, doing her hair, somehow overwhelmed by her problems, but at the same time full of strength.’ Volver adds to the canon with the image of Cruz cleaning a bloodied knife, and blaming the mess on 'women’s troubles'.
In praise of Gulpilil: an afternoon celebrationCrocodile Dreaming and Ten canoes 2006 (Australia)
Introduced by Dunghutti filmmaker Darlene Johnson
Dir Darlene Johnson 2007 (Australia)
25 min 35mm Colour Rated M
David Gulpilil, Tom E Lewis
Yolŋu Matha with English subtitles
Crocodile Dreaming is a modern-day supernatural myth about two estranged brothers, played by the late David Gulpilil and Tom E Lewis. One is an accepted member of his community who takes on the duties of jungaiy, an important ceremonial role which obliges him to be caretaker of his mother’s Dreaming, the crocodile totem. The other, whose father was white, struggles to fit in. ‘Crocodile Dreaming is my mother’s Dreaming. It’s not Crocodile Dundee, it’s not Ten canoes…’ said Gulpilil. 'It’s my true story.'
Dir Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr 2006 (Australia)
90 min 35mm B&W and Colour Rated M
Jamie Gulpilil, Crusoe Kurddal, David Gulpilil
Yolŋu Matha with English subtitles
Receiving a special jury prize at Cannes and six AFI awards, this is the first feature to be shot in Australian Indigenous languages. Shot in remote Arnhem Land, in close consultation with the traditional owners of the Arafura wetlands, the film features an all First Nations-cast dramatising a cautionary tale of a younger brother who yearns for his older brother’s wife. Ten canoes emerged from a collaboration between director Rolf de Heer, the community of Ramingining and David Gulpilil, who initiated the project and narrates the film.
Content warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are advised that this screening contains images, voices and names of people who have passed away.
Sunday 31 July 2022 2–3.55pm
There will be bloodDir Paul Thomas Anderson 2007 (USA)
158 min 35mm Colour Rated M
Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano
Often hailed as the best film of the new millennium, PTA’s epic drama distils the dreams and delusions of 20th-century America in one man’s transformation from silver miner to oil baron. The story begins when Daniel Plainview (an electrifying Day-Lewis) strikes it rich on the sun-scorched oilfields of Southern California. As his fortune grows, so too does his greed, grift, and rivalry with preacher Eli Sunday (Dano). The script was based on Upton Sinclair’s Oil! (1927), a novel first published in an era buoyed by the transformative promises of a cheap new energy source. Once symbols of exuberant prosperity, the iconography of oil – its gushers and derricks – now spells looming climate catastrophe. In its operatic arc from boom to bust, There will be blood charts the destructive allure of a dwindling resource which continues to enchant and repel. ‘A burning indictment of male aggression and an apocalyptic warning.’ – The Guardian.
Wednesday 3 August 2022 2–4.40pm
Wednesday 3 August 2022 7.15–9.55pm
Sunday 7 August 2022 2–4.40pm
Lake MungoDir Joel Anderson 2008 (Australia)
89 min 35mm Colour Rated M
Talia Zucker, Martin Sharpe
Have you seen Lake Mungo? Despite developing a cult reputation, director Joel Anderson’s horror film is rarely screened in its home country. It’s one of the major Australian genre films of the 21st century, a terrifying ghost story set at the foothills of the Grampians in rural Victoria. The film surveys the aftermath of a tragic drowning, as the Palmer family (Twin Peaks reference intended) grapples with the death of their daughter, Alice. Lake Mungo presents as a documentary, interweaving home movies, news clips, interviews and footage shot by Alice’s brother Matthew, a budding photographer whose images reveal mysterious spectres. Are these the wishful projections of a family in mourning? Or something more sinister? Opening with a montage of 19th-century spirit photographs, this slow-burn thriller explores the hauntings and fabulations of a new digital age. Lake Mungo screens on a rare 35mm print.
Wednesday 10 August 2022 2–3.30pm
Wednesday 10 August 2022 7.15–8.45pm
Sunday 14 August 2022 2–3.30pm
Mundane historyDir Anocha Suwichakornpong 2009 (Thailand)
78 min 35mm-to-digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Phakpoom Surapongsanurak, Arkaney Cherkam, Paramej Noiam
Thai with English subtitles
One of the debuts of the decade, Mundane history merges the corporeal and the cosmic to mesmerising effect. The film begins straightforwardly enough, as nurse Pun takes a job caring for Ake, a Bangkok teen coming to terms with his paralysis after an accident. But as the two men form a friendship, the director detonates her own film, blasting open a dreamscape where flashes of Thai history meet psychedelic supernovas. These associative leaps take place every 15 minutes – a narrative structure inspired by the cyclical nature of recent Thai politics, where coup d’états have tended to transpire every 15 years. Like a snake shedding its skin, Suwichakornpong’s shapeshifting film heralded the arrival of a new visionary in contemporary art cinema. In her words, ‘Make a punk film. Let’s not do it the way that it should be.’
Wednesday 17 August 2022 2–3.20pm
Wednesday 17 August 2022 7.15–8.35pm
PoetryDir Lee Chang-dong 2010 (South Korea)
139 min 35mm-to-digital Colour Unclassified 18+
Yoon Jeong-hee, Lee David
Korean with English subtitles
Winner of the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes 2010, Lee Chang-dong’s (Burning) exquisite drama features a tour-de-force performance by legendary South Korean actress Yoon Jeong-hee. She plays Mi-ja, an older woman who makes a shocking discovery about her grandson while grappling with the onset of Alzheimer’s. ‘To write poetry, you must see well. The most important thing in life is seeing.’ A chance encounter with a community poetry class transforms Mi-ja into a budding artist. With a beginner’s sense of wonder (and an excellent collection of bucket hats), Mi-ja attends to beauty amidst the ravages of language loss and a violent, patriarchal society. ‘An extraordinary vision of human empathy.’ – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times.
Sunday 21 August 2022 2–4.20pm
PariahDir Dee Rees 2011 (USA)
90 min 35mm-to-digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker
We launch into the 2010s at a lesbian club in Brooklyn. Khia’s ‘My neck, my back’ drops. A young woman, Alike (Oduye), is radiant on the dancefloor. Dee Rees broke new ground with Pariah, a queer coming-of-age story brimming with the talents of a new generation of Black creatives. Cinematographer Bradford Young’s carefully-calibrated lighting and dynamic colour palette charts Alike’s journey of self-discovery in splashes of magenta and cyan. Pariah kickstarted a new wave of mainstream Black LGBTQI+ cinema, and served as a launch pad for Rees who has since directed Oscar-nominated Mudbound. In 2021, Pariah was re-released by Criterion, making Rees the first African American woman to enter the influential collection.
Wednesday 24 August 2022 2–3.30pm
Wednesday 24 August 2022 7.15–8.45pm
MargaretDir Kenneth Lonergan 2011 (USA)
196 min 35mm-to-digital Colour Rated MA15+
Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, J. Smith-Cameron, Kieran Culkin
Film maudit (noun): cursed film. See also: Margaret – a film shot in 2005, subject to a bitter editing dispute, three law suits, intervention by Martin Scorsese who called it a masterpiece, limited theatrical release, a viral campaign by critics (#TeamMargaret) to reinstate it on cinema screens, and eventual recognition as a wonder of 21st-century cinema. The film radiates out from a single event: a bus accident inadvertently caused by Lisa (Paquin), a Manhattan high-school student whose mission to make sense of the trauma interconnects multiple lives and private dramas across New York. Margaret brilliantly distils the righteousness of being a teenager and the gradual disabuse of these egocentric pretensions. In Lonergan’s words, ‘the world is too big to have it improved, or affected by you – that’s something that most of us find out.’ Screens in the director’s cut.
*Note early start time
Sunday 28 August 2022 1.30–4.50pm
Holy motorsDir Leos Carax 2012 (France)
115 min Digital Colour Rated MA15+
Denis Lavant, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue
French with English subtitles
If a movie has a standout performance, it may be described as a ‘vehicle’ for a star turn. Holy motors follows a stretch limo as it ferries the extraordinary actor Denis Lavant around Paris. Lavant plays Monsieur Oscar, and the limo is his vehicle to deliver not one but 11 bravura character studies, each proving his renown as one of cinema’s great shapeshifters. In one episode, he performs acrobatics in a black catsuit. In another, Kylie Minogue makes a poignant appearance as his lost love. If there were any doubt this odyssey was a meta-reflection on the possibilities of cinema itself, the film begins with the director dramatising his own re-emergence on the scene (after 13 years without making a film). Carax pries open his bedroom wall to enter a movie theatre, as if after a long sleep. 'It’s a movie that arises after the end of cinema, a phoenix of a new cinema.'– Richard Brody, The New Yorker.
Wednesday 31 August 2022 2–3.55pm
Wednesday 31 August 2022 7.15–9.10pm
Computer chessDir Andrew Bujalski 2013 (USA)
92 min HDCam B&W and Colour Rated M
Patrick Riester, Myles Paige
How to capture the strangeness of a world where machines have taken over so much of our lives? Andrew Bujalski lovingly recreates the awkward early days of personal computing – all blinking C.R.T. cursors and conspiratorial chatter between endearing nerds – with dry humour and a keen eye for historical detail. Shot on a vintage Sony AVC 3260 video camera, this off-kilter comedy returns to a time before Siri and Alexa, when the promises and perils of artificial intelligence were first being debated in a dingy roadside motel. The setting is a 1980s computer chess tournament. A group of programmers prepare to square off against their own chunky machines. Before long, the computers seem to gain consciousness, and the film – almost like it’s developed a virus – begins to glitch. ‘Bracingly idiosyncratic and close to perfect.’ – Amy Taubin, Film Comment.
Dir Sturtevant 2013 (USA)
2 mins Digital Unclassified 12+
Sunday 4 September 2022 2–3.35pm
TimbuktuDir Abderrahmane Sissako 2014 (Mali)
96 min Digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Ibrahim Ahmed, Toulou Kiki, Layla Walet Mohamed
Hassaniya Arabic, Tamasheq, Bambara and French with English subtitles
Mauritania-born, Mali-raised director Aberrahmane Sissako’s acclaimed Timbuktu portrays a city under siege. Islamic jihadists with a strict interpretation of sharia law descend on the historic centre of Timbuktu. ‘No smoking! No listening to music! No soccer!’ Militants on motorbikes roam laneways once bustling with communal life. In the nearby dunes, Tuareg shepherd Kidane (Ahmed), his wife Satima (Kiki) and daughter Toya (Mohamed) must choose between remaining on their homelands or escaping into exile. Heightened by Amine Bouhafa’s lyric score and Sofiane El Fani’s sweeping desert vistas, Timbuktu is a protest film that’s also a work of startling beauty, warmth and wit. ‘Stunning. Sissako is a master.’ – Variety.
Wednesday 7 September 2022 2–3.40pm
Wednesday 7 September 2022 7.15–8.55pm
Mad Max: Fury RoadDir George Miller 2015 (Australia)
120 min Digital Colour Rated MA15+
Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron
‘Fang it!’ George Miller’s action extravaganza is a blast of pyrotechnics in a world deranged by a shortage of oil and water. Fury Road sees Max (Hardy) team up with Furiosa (Theron) and her gang of warriors on an epic convoy-chase through sandstorms and salt-flats, canyons and a mythic Citadel. This post-apocalyptic landscape was set to be filmed in Broken Hill (NSW), however when heavy rains caused a sea of wildflowers, the shoot was shifted to Namibia. Likened to a ‘fetish party in the middle of the desert,’ cast and crew spent 138 days working in a huge tent city, blowing up machinery and staging high-speed crashes (in writer Brendan McCarthy’s words, ‘There’s something about George Miller doing vehicular destruction that rises to the level of art.’) Miller combusted the CGI mould of the modern superhero spectacle, offering a punk alternative to the franchise formula which dominated cinema in the 2010s.
Sunday 11 September 2022 2–4pm
Yourself and yoursDir Hong Sang-soo 2016 (South Korea)
86 min Digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Lee Yoo-young, Kim Joo-hyuk
Korean with English subtitles
Sorry, have we met? A sense of déjà vu (set to sunny muzak) is a hallmark of the Hong Sang-soo universe. This breezy rom-com begins when a painter, Young-soo (Kim), breaks up with his girlfriend, Min-jung (Lee), after learning that she’s gone on a bender with an unknown man. The next day, Min-jung – or a woman who may be her twin – searches for Mr Right amidst a succession of men who claim to know her. Departing from the larger-than-life thrills of recent K-pop culture, Yourself and yours revels in the everyday minutia of modern dating. You won’t find grand romance, but a carousel of awkward dalliances and intimate embarrassments. Initially unassuming, a Hong film rewards attentiveness. It’s only once scenarios repeat and characters reappear in new guises, that one grasps the sophistication of his storytelling. ‘Fresh and enchanting, by turns delicate, romantic, mysterious, witty and crushing.’ – LA Times.
Wednesday 14 September 2022 2–3.30pm
Wednesday 14 September 2022 7.15–8.45pm
Marlina the murderer in four actsDir Mouly Surya 2017 (Indonesia)
93 min Digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Marsha Timothy, Dea Panendra
Indonesian with English subtitles
Indonesia’s first feminist western unfolds against the big skies and desert vistas of the island Sumba. In an isolated farmhouse, young widow Marlina (Timothy) is attacked by a gang of bandits. She defends herself and sets out on a journey of retribution with a sword in one hand and a severed head in the other. Shot in stunning Cinemascope with a Morricone-like score, this slow-burn revenge fantasy was inspired by the island’s own folklore and village queens, alongside Akira Kurosawa’s samurai films and Jim Jarmusch’s Dead man (1995). What emerges is a provocative parable of resilience in a rural patriarchal society. Critics brought down the house cheering for its avenging heroine at the film’s premiere at Cannes. Mouly Surya belongs to a new wave of Indonesian filmmakers reinventing familiar genres from a southern perspective including Kamila Andini, Nia Dinata and Edwin.
Sunday 18 September 2022 2–3.35pm
Sweet CountryDir Warwick Thornton 2017 (Australia)
112 min Digital Colour MA15+
Hamilton Morris, Natassia Gorey-Furber, Tremayne and Trevon Doolan, Bryan Brown
Northern Territory, 1929. Stockman Sam (Warlpiri actor Hamilton Morris) kills a white station owner in self-defence, and escapes with wife Lizzie (Gorey-Furber) to the MacDonnell Ranges. Pursued by a posse of vigilantes, the chase winds across the hinterlands of Alice Springs where Thornton grew up. Working with son Dylan River, the pair’s knowledge of the region’s light and weather results in majestic cinematography seared with heat haze and blood-red dust. Thornton describes trying to ‘make the landscape like an actual character, alive, rather than just rock and tree. There’s an energy flowing through everything, and it rises.’ Inspired by a true story of injustice on the 1920s Central Australian frontier, Sweet Country confronts a national history of land grabs and violence in the form of a thrilling neo-western.
Wednesday 21 September 2022 2–3.55pm
Wednesday 21 September 2022 7.15–9.10pm
Get outDir Jordan Peele 2017 (USA)
104 min Digital Colour Rated MA 15+
Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams
Jordan Peele reimagines evil. You won’t see fangs or axes. You’ll see a cup of tea, slowly stirred. This foe welcomes you into their home with an easy smile and an assurance, ‘I would have voted for Obama a third time if I could’. Blending social satire with horror, Peele’s story opens with a photographer, Chris, and his girlfriend preparing for a long weekend at her parents. ‘Do they know I’m Black?’ Chris asks. What follows not only skewers the empty platitudes of white liberals but destroys the myth of a ‘post-racial’ United States. In Peele’s words: ‘It was very important to me to just get the entire audience in touch in some ways with the fears inherent [in] being Black in this country. Part of being Black in this country, and I presume being any minority, is constantly being told that we’re seeing racism where there just isn’t racism.’
Sunday 25 September 2022 2–3.45pm
TERROR NULLIUSDir Soda_Jerk 2018 (Australia)
54 min Digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Part political satire, eco-horror, and road movie, TERROR NULLIUS is a political revenge fable courtesy of Australia’s preeminent rogue archivists, Soda_Jerk. Stitching together samples from across half a century of local film and television – from Mad Max and The adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the desert to Skippy the bush kangaroo – the artists’ revisionist remix offers an incendiary unwriting of Australian national mythologies. The apocalyptic desert camps of Mad Max 2 become sites of refugee detention, feminist motorcycle gangs rule the highways, and flesh-eating sheep are recast as anti-colonial insurgents.
Wednesday 28 September 2022 2–2.55pm
Wednesday 28 September 2022 7.15–8.10pm
An elephant sitting stillDir Hu Bo 2018 (China)
230 min Digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Zhang Yu, Peng Yuchang
Mandarin with English subtitles
Hu Bo’s first film arrived on the festival circuit like a bolt from the blue. Here was an astonishing work of contemporary cinema by a 29-year-old director who had tragically taken his own life before its release. Over the course of nearly four hours, Hu transposes the tale of Jason and the Argonauts to coal country in northern China. From dawn to dusk, teenager Wei Bu (Peng) – who injures a school bully by accident – crosses paths with a classmate, an elderly neighbour, and the bully’s older brother. Desperate for escape, each character sets their sights on the city of Manzhouli, where a fabled circus elephant sits still, indifferent to taunts. The creature is a symbol of quiet protest in a debut that howls with rage against a cruel, corrupt society. ‘One of the greatest recent films... a masterwork of a rare sort.' – The New Yorker.
*Note early start time
Sunday 2 October 2022 12–3.50pm
Portrait of a lady on fireDir Céline Sciamma 2019 (France)
121 mins Digital Colour Rated M
Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel
French with English subtitles
Portrait of a lady on fire traces a love affair between Héloïse (Haenel), an 18th-century noblewoman, and Marianne (Merlant), the artist tasked with painting her portrait. Furtive glances build to rapturous touch as Marianne attempts to surreptitiously capture the likeness of her unwilling subject. ‘Is that how you see me?’ Héloïse’s incredulous response to Marianne’s first painting reverberates across a film which interrogates the power and erotics of seeing and being seen. Described by Céline Sciamma as a ‘manifesto about the female gaze,’ Portrait dispenses with many of cinema’s usual mainstays: major narrative conflict, a musical score, male characters. Yet it never becomes didactic. Conjuring scenes of women’s experience rarely seen on screen – from a backroom abortion to magic around a bonfire – Sciamma’s film trembles and exalts.
Wednesday 5 October 2022 2–4.05pm
Wednesday 5 October 2022 7.15–9.20pm
This is not a burial it’s a resurrectionDir Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese 2020 (Lesotho)
120 min Digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Mary Twala Mhlongo, Jerry Mofokeng
Sesotho with English subtitles
Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s hypnotic feature marks the emergence of a major filmmaker. The late Mary Twala Mhlongo (recognisable from Beyoncé’s blockbuster musical Black is king), gives a career-capping performance as Mantoa, an 80-year-old matriarch who has lived her entire life in the highlands of Lesotho. When news arrives that her son has passed, and her village must relocate to make way for a dam, Mantoa transforms into an unlikely political leader. Each frame vibrates with the force of Mosese’s aesthetic sensibility: exquisite tableaux composed with ravishing primary colours, an oneiric soundscape, and rolling storms that frame his heroine’s electrifying resolve. ‘Extraordinary and otherworldly… weaving in ideas around displacement, collective identity and history, this film takes on almost mythic qualities.’ – The Guardian.
Sunday 9 October 2022 2–4pm
Friends and strangersDir James Vaughan 2021 (Australia)
84 min Digital Colour Rated MA15+
Fergus Wilson, Emma Diaz
A rare ‘micro-budget’ Australian film to gain widespread acclaim on the international festival circuit, James Vaughan’s debut is set against the shimmering backdrop of our harbour town. The film unfolds in vignettes centred around Ray (Wilson), a feckless 20-something who bumbles his way from romantic misfires to bungled employment opportunities. Vaughan’s comedy of manners takes aim at the listlessness of his privileged protagonists, future inheritors of the astounding affluence on display in the eastern suburbs where the film is mostly set. Earning comparisons to the films of Hong Sang-soo and Éric Rohmer, Friends and strangers transplants these directors’ fascination with bourgeois malaise to Australia, where settler millennials blindly drift, vaguely aware they live on stolen land.
Dir Bruce Koussaba 2021 (Australia)
10 min Digital Colour Unclassified 15+
Sophie Teo, Chemone Theys
Wednesday 12 October 2022 2–3.35pm
Wednesday 12 October 2022 7.15–8.50pm
Sunday 16 October 2022 2–4pm