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Black and White Italian Film Wins At Sydney Film Festival

The Bugle App

Lleyton Hughes

22 June 2024, 10:00 PM

Black and White Italian Film Wins At Sydney Film FestivalClosing Night at the Sydney Film Festival. Credit: Sydney Film Festival

The Sydney Film Festival, which went for 12 days, finished on Sunday 16 June and the Italian black and white comedy drama film, There’s Still Tomorrow, took out the prestigious Sydney Film Prize.


Directed by Paola Cortellesi (her debut feature), the film is set in post-war Italy and follows a housewife who receives a mysterious letter which prompts her to face her abusive husband and hope for a better future.


The Film Festival Jury said in a joint statement: “C’è ancora domani (There’s Still Tomorrow) deftly weaves humour, style, and pop music into a dazzling black-and-white cinematic event, then it delivers an ending that will take your breath away.”


The film competed with 12 others for the prize, but overall there were 197 films from 69 countries including 28 World Premieres and 133 Australian Premieres, bringing together hundreds of new international and local stories.


The Bugle attended some screenings (not all) of the festival, and these were the four standouts:



I Saw the TV Glow

Two awkward and lonely teenagers, Owen (Justice Smith) and Maddy (Bridgette Lundy-Paine) bond with each other over a late night show to the point of obsession. And when it is canceled they start to question whether the things that happened in the show were fiction or reality.


The film is beautifully constructed and shot by director Jane Schoenbrun with hues of pinks, purples, blues and greens invading every frame. And the performances from the two leads are both eerily affecting and devastating.


The film also examines the sadness and depression which comes from the monotony of reality and the melancholy we feel when the life we are leading is not quite what we imagined as a child. The film is filled with a horrible sense of dread and anxiety and is quite scary at times. But ultimately it is a reminder of the dangers and importance of dreams and fiction.


I Saw The TV Glow. Credit: A24.


Kinds of Kindness

An anthology film by Poor Things director Yorgos Lanthimos about how far we would go for the people we love. The first chapter is about a man who is given a schedule by his boss each day which he mustn’t deviate from. The second is about a husband who is suspicious about the identity of his wife when she is found after being lost at sea. And the last is about a woman who has been given a mission to find a ‘special’ person by the cultish group she is involved with.


Each chapter is filled with Lanthimos’ signature dry humour as well as his ridiculous and hopeless worldview. And each features the same actors; Jesse Plemons, Emma Stone, Willem Defoe, Hong Chau, Margaret Qulley, and others; performing different roles. 

The film deals with individuals trying to make their way in the world through the connections they make with others. And it wonders what happens when these connections we rely upon so deeply are severed or tested. 


All chapters are shot sleekly, feature manic performances and have some spectacular needle drops. And they all induce a sort of discomfort inside you. As though the little things we use to survive reality are as fragile as glass.



The Bikeriders

The newest Austin Butler and Tom Hardy film follows the real Motorcycle club, Outlaws MC, which began as a social club and community for outsiders, but descended into violence.


The film is told through the eyes of Jodie Comer’s character Kathy, who is the wife of Austin Butler’s Benny, as she recounts to a journalist (Mike Faist) what happened to the Outlaws. The film feels very inspired by mafia movies such as Goodfellas, but is also an ode to the 60’s and the motorcycle culture that blossomed in that time.

The film is based on a book of photography of the same name written and photographed by Danny Lyon. Although the film is definitely an enjoyable watch, it lacks the cohesion and excitement of the films it seems to be inspired by. The characters are also a little undeveloped and as a result it is harder to be sucked into the emotional core of the movie.

 

But the film's main theme does give it a point of difference. It seems to say that creation, after being given to the public, can morph into things that the creator did not intend it to. And this is definitely an interesting idea.



A Different Man

An A24 film where Sebastian Stan plays a man with Neurofibromatosis who undergoes facial reconstructive surgery. When the surgery is successful he takes on a whole new identity only to meet a man, with the same condition he used to have, who is much more confident and happy then he is.


It is a fascinating flip on the usual Beauty and the Beast type storyline. And it uses humour, meta commentary and actors to its advantage. 


The first third is a sad, almost meditative look at this man’s life with his condition. And then the last two thirds just observe him as he slowly descends into madness. And the film’s tone perfectly reflects these different stages. 


A Different Man. Credit: A24