Category: Sport

Summary: 
A 15-year-old swimming prodigy self-destructs after his father is released from jail.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates:  2nd September 2021 (Australia)

VOD Release Dates: 16th September 2021 (Australia)

Country: Australia

Director: Tyson Wade Johnston

Screenwriter: Tyson Wade Johnston

Cast: Steve Bastoni (Glenn Goodman), C.J. Bloomfield (Dwayne), Isaac Drandic (Mick Hill), Laura Gordon (Kim Lane), Jason Isaacs (Rob Bush), Levi Miller (Benjamin Lane), Robert Morgan (Coach Clarke), Ebony Naye (Joyce), Paula Nazarski (Cathy Hill), Hunter Page-Lochard (Josh Hill), Sam Parsonson (Nick Bush), Jake Ryan (Dave Bush), Ian Thorpe (himself), Joey Vieira (Eddie Rivers), Tasia Zalar (Patti Hill)

Running Time: 86 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia)

OUR STREAMLINE REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Streamline Review:

Given Australia’s love affair with sport I am surprised that over the years Australian filmmakers haven’t made more ‘great’ sports films. Of course there have been some stand-outs, The Club and September, spring to mind but largely when Aussies have tackled the sports genre the films have had a bad soapy feel to them, for examples take another look at The Cup or Ride Like A Girl.

Directed by first time feature film director Tyson Wade Johnson and produced by Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe I feel that this is one of the first gritty sports films that we have seen in Australian for a long time. How gritty? Well I would have to say that this film is almost on par with The Wrestler.

Benjamin Lane (Levi Miller – Pan) is a gifted young swimmer, actually he is more than just gifted his Coach (Robert Morgan – Hacksaw Ridge) feels that he has what it takes to become an Olympic champion. And life is going pretty well for him as well, he is getting good grades at school, his girlfriend Patti (Tasia Zalar – Mystery Road) is deeply devoted to him and his mother, Kim (Laura Gordon – Undertow) is willing to make any sacrifice necessary to see her son become a champion.

But then everything starts to fall apart when his abusive father, Rob (Jason Isaacs – Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets), is released from prison. Benjamin’s life begins to spiral when Rob reaches out him and soon he finds himself drawn to the ‘loser’ lifestyle of drinking and partying that his two brothers, Dave (Jake Ryan – The Great Gatsby) and Nick (Sam Parsonson – Hacksaw Ridge), have chosen to live.

My first thought while watching Streamline was that this is a sports film that is nothing like anything that we have ever made here before. For once this is a sports film that goes behind the glory of the sport itself and shows the personal side of the person competing. Often with Australian sports films I find that the film wants to glorify the victories but quickly skip past the mental and physical demons that the star themselves may have had to overcome to get there. Films like The Cup and Ride Like A Girl are great examples – both the stars depicted in those films overcome a lot to get where they needed to be but a lot of the ‘hard times’ were shown in montages etc whereas Streamline hones in on those ‘hard times’ and makes them the centre piece of the film.

The result is a film that draws you in and makes you feel the pain and anguish that Benjamin is going through. To the credit of Johnson’s screenplay he doesn’t hold anything back from his audience no matter how dark it is. He steers away from Hollywood clichés, there are no inspirational chats by girlfriend or coach as Benjamin begins to throw his career away, instead it is the more natural ‘you’re a dickhead’ and anger and resentment towards him.

The result of the power and tension that Johnson creates throughout this film is a movie that even non-sports fans are going to find themselves compelled to. Films like Varsity Blues have tried to go down this road in the past but they have held back from going completely into the dark – Streamline does not.

I couldn’t help but also feel blown away by the acting performances here in the film. I think most film lovers already know that Levi Miller is going to become a star and his performance here just cements that. Let’s be honest if this film was American people would already be starting to say that there is an Oscar whisper around his performance.

Backing up Miller is an emotional performance by Laura Gordon, who I feel is one of the most under-rated character actresses in this country, and some true brilliance from Jake Ryan whose character Dave is the devil on Benjamin’s shoulder telling him to throw everything away.Streamline is an amazing piece of Australian cinema. I feel it shows the industry how a sports film should be made and it is a film not be missed even just for the once in a lifetime performance by Levi Miller.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Average Subculture Rating:

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Trailer:

Parkland Entertainment is delighted to announce that The Champion of Auschwitz, the phenomenal story of Tadeusz “Teddy” Pietrzykowski and his fight for survival will be heading to UK/EIRE Cinemas from 3rd September.

The Champion of Auschwitz tells the unknown story of one of the first inmates of camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, prisoner number #77. During his 3-year imprisonment in the camp, Tadeusz “Teddy” Pietrzykowski fought over 40 victorious duels, becoming a symbol of hope for victory over Nazi terror. His on-screen history has been documented in detail based on archival statements of former prisoners of Auschwitz and the memories of the boxer himself.

It is 1940. The first transport of prisoners arrives at the newly created concentration camp Auschwitz. One of them is Tadeusz “Teddy” Pietrzykowski, pre-war boxing champion of Warsaw. The camp officers force him to fight in the ring for his and other prisoners’ lives. However, his every win strengthens the hope that Nazis are not invincible. Auschwitz officers notice the growing resistance. The confrontation with the authorities of the camp becomes inevitable.

The film’s director, Maciej Barczewski who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors said this of the film;  “The Champion of Auschwitz is a story about an extraordinary man who, thanks to his skills, not only fought for his life in the place of extermination, but also gave others hope that their tormentors were not invincible.

Lead actor, Piotr Głowacki added; “Tadeusz “Teddy” Pietrzykowski was a man who, thanks to a strong will to survive and a passion for boxing, has shown that even the greatest, unimaginable evil can be defeated.

The Champion of Auschwitz will be available in UK/EIRE Cinemas from 3rd September.

Summary: 
A rogue artificial intelligence kidnaps the son of famed basketball player LeBron James, who then has to work with Bugs Bunny to win a basketball game.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates: 15th July 2021 (Australia), 2nd September 2021 (Thailand), 16th July 2021 (UK), 16th July 2021 (US)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Malcolm D. Lee

Screenwriter: Celeste Ballard, Keenan Cooglar, Jesse Gordon, Terence Nance, Tony Rettenamier, Juel Taylor

Cast: Harper Leigh Alexander (Xosha James), Kenny Apel (Albus Dumbledore), Eric Bauza (Daffy Duck/Porky Pig/Foghorn Leghorn/Elmer Fudd/Marvin The Martian (voice)), Bob Bergen (Tweety Bird (voice)), Jeff Bergman (Bugs Bunny/Slyvester/Yosemite Sam/Fred Flinstone/Yogi Bear (voice)), Sue Bird (herself), Don Cheadle (Al G. Rhythm), Rosario Dawson (Wonder Woman (voice)), Anthony Davis (himself), Kris Davis (Malik), Draymond Green (himself), Jalyn Hall (Young Malik (13 Years)), Wood Harris (Coach C), Gabriel Iglesias (Speedy Gonzales (voice)), LeBron James (himself), Cedric Joe (Dom James), Michael B. Jordan (himself), Stephen Kankole (Young LeBron (13 Years)), Damian Lillard (himself), Sonequa Martin-Green (Kamiyah James), Candi Milo (Granny (voice)), Nneka Ogwumike (himself), Justin Roiland (Rick/Morty (voice)), Xosha Roquemore (Shanice James), Sarah Silverman (Warner Bros. Executive), Mike Strong (Jim West), Fred Tatasciore (Taz (voice)), Diana Taurasi (herself), Klay Thompson (himself), Aja Wilson (himself), Ceyair J. Wright (Darius James), Steve Yuen (Warner Bros. Executive), Zendaya (Lola Bunny (voice))

Running Time: 115 mins

Classification: PG (Australia), U (UK), PG (USA)

OUR SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Space Jam: A New Legacy Review:

If you a fan of NBA basketball you will know that over the past few years there has been a huge debate over who deserves to be called the greatest basketballer of all time. Is the great man of the 80s and 90s – six time championship winner Michael Jordan. Is it the sadly deceased Koby Bryant or is it the man quickly closing in on Jordan’s championship and MVP records – LeBron James.

Well know Warner Bros. have entered a new chapter into that debate. First Michael Jordan was the star of the orginal Space Jam movie back in 1996 and now they have made LeBron James the star of its sequel – Space Jam: A New Legacy.

Storywise the brand new film is pretty basic. James plays himself although in this world he is at logger-heads with his youngest son Dom (Cedric Joe – Loving Him). Dom is a gifted young video game maker who wants to attend an elite Gamers Camp while LeBron wants his son to follow in his footsteps and to attend a Basketball Camp.

Those two worlds then collide when Warner Bros. high successful algorithm, literally a digital figure named Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle – Crash), makes the decision that the company needs to hire LeBron and digitally insert him into some classic shows and movies. LeBron laughs and rejects the idea and in anger Al G. Rhythm lures both he and his son into the Warner Bros. world where he challenges him to a basketball game to show who has the ‘skills.’

Al G. Rhythm then sets out to create a super-team using the nearly unbeatable players that Dom has created for his game while LeBron is reduced to putting together a team with the forgotten Looney Tunes stars – including the fan favourites Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Roadrunner.

The premise behind the film is basic but somehow director Malcolm D. Lee (Girl’s Trip) manages to make it all work. It is obvious that the film is supposed to be a vehicle to not only bring the Looney Tunes back to into popularity with a younger generation but to also showcase the entire WB World. There are a plethora of characters appearing from other WB franchises throughout this film so no you aren’t seeing things if you suddenly see King Kong or Voldermort appear… and at times the film itself plays up to that with heavy references to films such as The Matrix.

While some may view that as a negative it does actually become a positive for the film because it ends up meaning that this is a film that can be enjoyed by the whole family. In fact you could argue that while this is clearly a film aimed at kids it is a film that will largely be loved by adults because of the nostalgia factor. If your kids are not fans of basketball or haven’t raided your own Looney Tunes VHS collection then chances are they are going to wonder what on Earth is happening throughout the film.

Of course what WB is actually hoping for is that your kids will fall in love with the good old Looney Tunes characters off the back of this film and that is something that could certainly happen. The animation team behind the film do change-up things up during the film and try to make the Looney Tunes characters look more modern and to a certain extent it does work.

The other big question that people are going to wonder going into this film is does LeBron James have the acting ability to pull off a movie like this. The simple answer to that is yes, the long answer is don’t expect to see him in any Oscar winning roles anytime soon. James does what it takes to make this film work and he is more than passable even in scenes where he has to reach for his emotions. The man who steals the show though is Don Cheadle who seems to be channelling Jack Nicholson’s performance in The Witches Of Eastwick throughout the film.

To sum up Space Jam: A New Legacy is not a waste of time but be prepared as an adult to get more out of this film than your kids will. It’s loud, it’s funny and at times is a walk down memory lane.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Trailer:

Based on the true story that will inspire the world, Warner Bros. Pictures’ “King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams, an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever.  Two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith (“Ali,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Bad Boys for Life”) stars as Richard, under the direction of Reinaldo Marcus Green (“Monsters and Men”). Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard has a plan that will take Venus and Serena Williams from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons.  The profoundly moving film shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.

Aunjanue Ellis (“If Beale Street Could Talk,” TV’s “Quantico”) plays the girls’ mom, Oracene “Brandi” Williams, Saniyaa Sidney (“Hidden Figures,” “Fences”) stars as Venus Williams, Demi Singleton (TV’s “Godfather of Harlem”) stars as Serena Williams, with Tony Goldwyn (the “Divergent” series, TV’s “Scandal”) as coach Paul Cohen and Jon Bernthal (upcoming “The Many Saints of Newark,” “Ford v Ferrari”) as coach Rick Macci.  The ensemble also includes Andy Bean (“IT Chapter Two”), Kevin Dunn (the “Transformers” films, HBO’s “Veep”) and Craig Tate (“Greyhound”). Green directed “King Richard” from a screenplay written by Zach Baylin.  The producers were Tim White and Trevor White under their Star Thrower Entertainment banner, and Will Smith under his Westbrook banner.  Isha Price, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adam Merims, Lynn Harris, Allan Mandelbaum, Jon Mone and Peter Dodd served as the executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes creative team includes Oscar-winning director of photography Robert Elswit (“There Will Be Blood”), production designers Wynn Thomas (“Da 5 Bloods,” “Hidden Figures”) and William Arnold (“The Hate U Give”), Oscar-nominated editor Pamela Martin (“The Fighter”), and two-time Oscar-nominated costume designer Sharen Davis (“Dreamgirls,” “Ray”).  The music is by Oscar-nominated composer Kris Bowers (“Space Jam: A New Legacy,” “A Concerto is a Conversation”). A Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation, A Star Thrower Entertainment Production, A Westbrook Production, A Keepin’ It Reel Production, “King Richard” is slated for international theatrical release from in November.

Summary:  Dream Alliance is an unlikely race horse bred by small-town Welsh bartender Jan Vokes. With no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream in the hopes he can compete with the racing elites.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 10th June 2021 (Australia), 4th June 2021 (UK), 21st May 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: UK

Director: Euros Lyn

Screenwriter: Neil McKay

Cast: Asheq Akhtar (Peter), Clare Balding (Clare Balding OBE), Lynda Baron (Elsie), Di Botcher (Nerys), Ellis Cochlin (Mary), Toni Collette (Jan Vokes), Alan David (Bert), Peter Davison (Lord Avery), Brian Doherty (Gordon), Darren Evans (Goose), Nicholas Farrell (Philip Hobbs), Caryn Glyn (Dylan), Gerald Royston Horler (Alan The Milk), Rhys Horler (Lee The Twin), Aneirin Hughes (Ron), Max Hutchinson (James Lingsford), Katherine Jenkins (Katherine Jenkins OBE), Rehka John-Cheriyan (Davina), Karl Johnson (Kerby), Alex Jordan (Johnson White), Damian Lewis (Howard Davies), Pino Maiello (Sheikh Omari), Anthong O’Donnell (Maldwyn), Joanna Page (Angela Davies), Raj Paul (David Patel), Sian Phillips (Maureen), Steffan Rhodri (Gerwyn), Owen Teale (Brian Vokes), Katrina Ward (Glenda), Benji Wild (Rob Rossi), Rhys ap William (Kev/Racing Commentator)

Running Time: 113 mins

Classification: PG (Australia), PG (UK), PG (USA)

OUR DREAM HORSE REVIEWS

David and Lee Griffiths’ Dream Horse Review:

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Lee’s rating Out Of 5:

Average Subculture Rating:

IMDB Rating:

Dream Horse (2020) on IMDb

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Trailer:

Maslow Entertainment has today announced the release date for, SIR ALEX FERGUSON: NEVER GIVE IN, with the revealing and deeply personal documentary about the life of Sir Alex Ferguson set to arrive in Australian cinemas nationally on JULY 15, 2021 FOR A LIMITED TIME. The film is distributed by Maslow Entertainment, under a distribution agreement with Universal Pictures Content Group.

Join Sir Alex and those closest to him as they reveal the real man behind the greatest football manager of all time.

While recovering from a traumatic brain haemorrhage, Sir Alex intimately recounts details of his life and career to his son, including his legendary 26-year tenure as manager of Manchester United. Directed by Sir Alex’s son, Jason Ferguson, this is a moving story about family, leadership, and the extraordinary power of memory.

Alex recalls his career vividly – every trophy, every defeat, and every player. From his own successful playing career and prolific goal-scoring at Scottish clubs, including Rangers, to his move into management and leading Aberdeen to the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and then finally his move south to Old Trafford. After a testing few years at United, he turned the club’s fortunes around and led them to over two decades of consistent success.

Under Ferguson’s guidance, Manchester United won a glittering array of trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and two UEFA Champions League titles. He has won more

trophies than any other manager in football history.

The film features candid interviews with Alex himself, his wife Cathy, his three sons, as well as former colleagues and elite players including Eric Cantona, Archie Knox and Gordon Strachan.

This is a film about the bond between a father and son, an exploration of leadership and mental toughness, and a celebration of one of football’s greatest careers.

‘SIR ALEX FERGUSON: NEVER GIVE IN’ WILL BE AVAILABLE IN AUSTRALIAN CINEMAS NATIONALLY ON JULY 15 FOR A LIMITED TIME

 

Summary: A former superstar High School basketballer is asked to return years later to coach the team that are now perennial cellar dwellers. In order to be any use to the team though he must try to overcome his alcoholism.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th March 2020

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian DVD Release Date: 30th May 2020

Country: United States

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Screenwriter: Brad Ingelsby

Cast: April Adams (Betty), Ben Affleck (Jack), Justice Alan (David), Tom Archdeacon (Ethan), John Aylward (Father Edward Devine), Yennifer Behrens (Sofia), Chris Bruno (Sal), Rachael Carpani (Diane), T.K. Carter (Russ), Nancy Linehan Charles (Anne), Da’Vinchi (Devon Childress), Nico David (Ryan), Marlene Forte (Gale), Janina Gavankar (Angela), Matthew Glave (Coach Lombardo), Ememia Golfieri (Sarah), Layla Golfieri (Sarah), Melvin Gregg (Marcus Parrish), Cynthia Rose Hall (Nancy), Chieko Hidaka (Haley), Ben Irving (Bobby Freeze), Dan Lauria (Gerry Norris), Charles Lott Jnr. (Chubbs Hendricks), Hayes MacArthur (Eric), Al Madrigal (Dan), Chad Mountain (Pat),  Edelyn Okano (Denise), Jeremy Radin (Father Mark Whelan), Jeremy Ratchford (Matty), Will Ropp (Kenny Dawes), Shay Roundtree (Ken), Todd Stashwick (Kurt), Jayne Taini (Susan Norris), Eric Tate (Sully), Glynn Turman (Doc), Fernando Luis Vega (Sam Garcia), Sal Velez Jnr. (Miguel), Michaela Watkins (Beth), Brandon Wilson (Brandon Durrett)

Running Time: 108 mins

Classification: M (Australia)

 

 

OUR THE WAY BACK REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ The Way Back Review:

The Way Back should have been a straight up slam dunk to be one of my favourite films of this year. It had so many things that I enjoy in its corner – there is the fact that I adore sports movies such as Varsity Blues and Coach Carter and then there is the Ben Affleck factor. Yes, I am a huge Affleck fan and have been ever since I fell in love with Kevin Smith’s movies way back in High School.

But there is something that majorly goes wrong with The Way Back and that thing made me feel like I was driving a sports car but unable to get out of second gear. The most disappointing thing about all of that though is it is an error that I feel could easily have been solved with a simple re-write of the script.

At the very heart of The Way Back is a film that could easily have been an Oscar winner. Affleck (Argo) plays Jack Cunningham a man whose life reads like a character from a Bruce Springsteen song. During High School he was a basketball phenomenon and it seemed like his history was written in the stars – he was going to be one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Flash-forward a couple of decades and Jack is now a faded man who works hard and drinks himself into oblivion every night.

Jack is given a shot at redemption though when the Headmaster at the Catholic school he attended, Father Devine (John Aylward – North Country,) contacts him and asks him to take over the coaching duties of the school’s basketball team – a team that now dwindles at the bottom of the league and is largely known as a laughing stock to the teams they play against. Despite a lot of hesitation Jack accepts the role and while the skills are still there so is his alcoholism and his resentment of the world that causes outbursts and chronic swearing that worries Father Mark Whelan (Jeremy Radin – Shark Week) who is charged with watching over the team and Jack.

The Way Back should have left me on the same emotional high that Coach Carter left me on years ago. The difference is that with Coach Carter the film was filled with inspiring speeches by Samuel L. Jackson while the writer gave us, the audience, an opportunity to get to know the kids on the team. They were all given characterisation and the result was we all cared about them.

With The Way Back we never get that opportunity. Yes we are introduced to characters like Marcus (Melvin Gregg – Snowfall) and Brandon (Brandon Wilson – Beyond The Lights) but we are never given an in-depth introduction into what makes them the way they are until it is much too late. The result is for the most part I just saw them as teenagers with a bad attitude who were wasting their God given talent.

I felt it was the same for Jack as a character as well. I am sure that screenwriter Brad Ingelsby (Run All Night) thought it was cute and artistic the way he kept the true story of Jack’s secret from the audience, but to me it felt like the major flaw of the film. Most of the time I was frustrated that Jack was passing up the great opportunities that life had given him in order to simply just get drunk each night. That frustration would have been eliminated if he had given us glimpses of the emotional issues that made Jack the way he was instead of holding those cards close to heart before finally springing them on the audience.

The one thing that does save The Way Back and makes it worth a second viewing is the acting performance of one Mr. Affleck. I am not just saying this as a devoted Affleck fan, but he is in Oscar winning form here. He is totally believable as a former sports star who has hit rock bottom and he delivers some truly emotional scenes that do have an effect on you as you are watching them. Many actors would struggle to deliver the pure emotion that he can generate in a scene on his own fuelled by drunken outbursts but his work here was enough to cause a tear to well up in my eyes more than once. Affleck of course knew why his character was the way he was… we sadly didn’t.

I really got the feeling throughout the film that with Affleck in this kind of form this film could have Oscar-winner written all over it if only a few minor re-writes had occurred in order to make me care more about some of the characters at hand. This is one I will certainly re-visit though just to see Affleck deliver a full lesson in character acting.

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:

 

 

IMDB Rating:  The Way Back (2020) on IMDb

 

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Trailer:

 

Poised to thrill audiences around the nation, the Alliance Française French Film Festival has today unveiled the full line-up for its eagerly anticipated 31st season at www.affrenchfilmfestival.org

Spreading its cinematic stardust across 8 cities and 4 satellite locations, the Festival, which is proudly presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, Unifrance Films and screening partner, Palace Cinemas, will commence its national tour from 10 March until 19 April and is set to thrill audiences with a stupendous selection of 49 contemporary and classic French films, many enjoying their Australian premiere.

 We’re also delighted to announce that dynamic filmmaker, Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders, Macbeth, True History of the Kelly Gang), who has long taken inspiration from French cinema, will be the 2020 Festival Patron.

 Additionally, acclaimed director/actor, Zabou Breitman, whose lyrical, animated drama, The Swallows of Kabul (Les hirondelles de Kaboul), has won plaudits from critics and audiences alike on the international film festival circuit, will be visiting Melbourne to introduce a screening of this, her latest feature, which she directed with Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec. This special Festival event is slated for the evening of Tuesday 17 March at Palace Cinema Como, and will be followed by a filmmaker Q&A.

 On a more sombre note, this year has already experienced horrific bushfires ravaging our land and robbing so many of their lives and homes.  The Alliance Française, and venue partners thereby invite you to join us in helping those impacted by this tragedy by supporting special previews of How to Be a Good Wife and In the Name of the Land (both screening courtesy of Palace Films) to be held in all capital cities on 9th and 10th of March.  100% of tickets sales for these sessions will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and Rural and Remote Mental Health.

And in celebration of mankind’s great capacity for kindness and compassion – which often comes to the fore in times of crisis – the Festival will launch the 2020 season with The Extraordinary (Hors normes)one of the most gloriously uplifting films to emerge from France in recent years, which will screen courtesy of Madman Entertainment.

 The latest feature from renowned filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (who delighted with The Intouchables and C’est la vie!), The Extraordinary is inspired by a true story and was honoured as the Closing Night Feature at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. For twenty years, Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Malik (Reda Kateb) have run two separate non-profit organizations where they train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for autistic youth abandoned by the state system. But the authorities, concerned that they’ve never sought certification and that many of their carers aren’t ‘officially’ qualified, decide to mount an investigation.

 The result of two years’ immersion in the lives of the two associations, The Extraordinary is a crowd-pleasing charmer, which will have viewers experiencing a gamut of emotions as they fall in love with a host of extraordinary characters in exceptional circumstances.  It’s a testimony to the great things that can be achieved when people support one another in the face of adversity.

 And concluding the 2020 season, on a deliciously whimsical note, will be The Bare Necessity (Perdrix)the directorial debut of Erwan Le Duc, starring Swann Arlaud, Maud Wyler, Fanny Ardant and Nicolas Maury.  Set within a tiny town nestled in the woody mountains of Vosges, this sweetheart of a movie, which delighted hardened cynics when it premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2019, looks at the romantic mayhem that ensues when an enigmatic young woman forces a stagnant family to re-define their boundaries and begin to truly live.

 With so many highlights bursting from this year’s programme, it’s impossible to list every film, but read on for some of the delights to be savoured:

 

A FRIENDLY TALE (Le Bonheur des uns)

Director:  Daniel Cohen                                                        

Cast:  François Damiens, Vincent Cassel, Bérénice Bejo

In this delicious tale of tested loyalties, the close friendship of two long-time couples is put at risk when one of the two wives unexpectedly becomes a best-selling author, upsetting the intricate balance of this formerly close-knit quartet.

 

AZNAVOUR BY CHARLES (Le regard de Charles)

A Film by Charles Aznavour, Directed by Marc di Domenico                                                                 

Narrator: Romain Duris

Crooner, Charles Aznavour, beguiled his legions of fans with a dream of romance.  But his life beyond music was even more extraordinary.  An actor, political activist, diplomat and filmmaker, this enthralling documentary, with rare footage, reveals a complicated, multi-talented man who entertained for the greater part of a century.

 

DEERSKIN (Le daim)

Director:  Quentin Dupieux                                                                 

Cast:  Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel, Albert Delpy

With his life in disarray, Georges might not be able to control his circumstances but he can control his wardrobe.  Believing that the deerskin jacket of his dreams is the answer to all of his problems, Georges’ delusions gradually increase each time he wears it, edging his obsession closer to a violent delirium.

 

EDMOND

Director: Alexis Michalik                   

Cast: Thomas Solivérès, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, Dominique Pinon

Paris, 1897. Although not yet thirty and clearly gifted as a writer, Edmond Rostand already has two children, many anxieties, but scant literary success.  When given three weeks to write a play for a mercurial star of the stage, all he has is the title, Cyrano de Bergerac.  Can he accomplish the impossible?

 

FAREWELL TO THE NIGHT (L’adieu à la nuit)

Director: André Téchiné                                                                            

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Kacey Mottet Klein

Muriel, a respected member of her idyllic local community, is horrified to discover that her visiting grandson, who claims to be heading to Canada for work, has in reality been radicalised by Islamist extremists.  His plans to fight for ISIS in Syria expose this ordinary woman to a moral dilemma of heart-breaking proportions.

 

HOUSE OF CARDIN

Directors: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes

Synonymous with glamour, refinement and sophistication, this documentary provides a rare glimpse into the world of a 20th century icon. Allowing unprecedented access to his personal archives, we follow Cardin from his birth in the Italian countryside circa 1922, to his move to France where he made his name in fashion.

 

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE (La bonne épouse)

Director: Martin Provost                             

Cast: Juliette Binoche, Yolande Moreau, Noémie Lvovsky, Edouard Baer

In 1968 amidst the lush regions of Alsace, the head of a housekeeping school that transforms teenage girls into ideal housewives, has her pristine life implode when she encounters her long-lost first love whilst simultaneously learning that her business is on the brink of financial ruin.

 

IN THE NAME OF THE LAND (Au nom de la terre)

Director:  Edouard Bergeon                                                     

Cast: Guillaume Canet, Veerle Baetens, Anthony Bajon

Returning to France in the late 70s, Pierre marries his sweetheart and takes over his father’s farm.  But twenty years onwards, Pierre is exhausted.  With mounting debt, what was once satisfying begins to take an insidious toll on his family who risk being torn apart by the property that binds them, in this powerful tale of resilience.

 

LA BELLE ÉPOQUE

Director: Nicolas Bedos                                                                    

Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tiller

Disillusioned, his long-term marriage on the rocks, a man is given a second chance when he encounters a company offering a unique theatrical service that enables customers to revisit memories through carefully orchestrated re-enactments, thus allowing him to return to 1974 and the peak of his happiness.

 

THE LOST PRINCE (Le prince oublié)

Director: Michel Hazanavicius                                                           

Cast: Omar Sy, Bérénice Bejo, François Damiens

Djibi, a devoted single father, transforms into a heroic Prince in the nightly fairy-tales he tells his beloved 7 year-old daughter, Sofia. But as the years pass, Sofia is ready for her own stories with different heroes.  But is the Prince ready to become just a memory of his daughter’s childhood?

 

LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT (Mon inconnue)

Director: Hugo Gélin                                                                         

Cast: François Civil, Joséphine Japy, Benjamin Lavernhe

After waking in a parallel universe, Raphaël finds his wife, Olivia, is nowhere to be seen and his professional achievements have vanished.  Without Olivia, his life is empty, but winning her back proves harder than he could have imagined – especially when he realises she doesn’t even know who he is!

 

MY DOG STUPID (Mon chien Stupide)

Director: Yvan Attal                                                                             

Cast: Yvan Attal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Eric Ruf

Henri, a writer in the depths of a mid-life crisis who hasn’t released a successful book in 25 years, strikes-up an unconventional friendship with a stray, bad-mannered dog who inspires him and his dysfunctional family to re-examine their lives and attitudes towards each other.

 

THE MYSTERY OF HENRI PICK (Le mystère Henri Pick)

Director: Rémi Bezançon                                                                                 

Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Camille Cottin, Alice Isaaz

The late Henry Pick, in life an unassuming Breton pizza marker, is celebrated as a brilliant author when a lost manuscript, attributed to him, becomes a literary success.  But one outspoken intellectual thinks the whole thing is a sham, and, after losing his wife, his job and his prominence due to his opinion, decides to uncover the truth.

 

ONLY THE ANIMALS (Seules les bêtes)

Director: Dominik Moll                                                             

Cast: Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard

Set in an isolated town in the lush, wintery mountains of southern France, the film opens with the departure of Evelyne, a local woman whose disappearance during a snowstorm soon reveals itself as murder. This act of violence gradually unveils the hidden agendas of several locals, setting the unexpected into motion.

 

PROXIMA

Director: Alice Winocour                                                              

Cast: Eva Green, Zélie Boulant- Lemesle, Matt Dillon

As the only woman in the European Space Agency astronaut-training program, single mother Sarah struggles with guilt over the limited time spent with her young daughter, which escalates when she’s invited upon a year-long space mission – Proxima – forcing her to choose between her work and her child.

 

ROOM 212 (Chambre 212)

Director: Christophe Honoré                                           

Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Benjamin Biolay, Vincent Lacoste

After Maria reveals a long history of affairs to her husband, she opts to spend the night at a hotel opposite their home. But this is a “magical night”, and it’s not long before time collapses upon itself opening a window into the past where young passions are revisited and the very concept of love, questioned.

 

SIBYL

Director: Justine Triet                                                           

Cast: Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel

Dissatisfied with her life, Sibyl, a psychiatrist, decides to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.  Casting professional ethics aside, she secretly uses the private sessions of her actress patient, Margot, as inspiration for her novel, a decision that irreversibly impacts upon both their lives.

 

SPREAD YOUR WNGS (Donne-moi des ailes)

Director: Nicolas Vanier                                                          

Cast: Jean-Paul Rouve, Mélanie Doutey, Louis Vazquez

Christian, a visionary scientist, studies wild birds. For his son, a teenager obsessed with video games, the idea of spending a vacation with his father in the middle of nature is a nightmare. However, father and son soon bond over a daring project to save an endangered species, which takes them on an incredible journey.

 

THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL (Les hirondelles de Kaboul)

Directors: Zabou Breitman, Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec                        

Voice: Simon Abkarian, Zita Hanrot, Swann Arlaud

Based on the cherished novel of the same name, this critically acclaimed, animated drama follows two couples living in the Afghan capital during the 90s and the impact Taliban rule has on each relationship. Through their individual love stories, unforgettable characters emerge amid the devastating impact of armed combat.

 

THE TRANSLATORS (Les traducteurs)

Director: Régis Roinsard                                                 

Cast: Lambert Wilson, Olga Kurylenko, Riccardo Scamarcio

Nine language experts, hired to translate the final book of a bestselling trilogy, are in lockdown within a luxurious bunker. But when the top-secret manuscript’s first ten pages appear online, their dream job implodes.  The culprit has to amongst them and the publisher is ready to do whatever it takes to unmask who it is.

 

TWO OF US (Deux)

Director: Filippo Meneghetti                                                    

Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker

In this emotionally compelling tale, pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is tested when circumstances trigger a series of events, preventing them from moving freely between each other’s apartments.

 

VERNON SUBUTEX

Director: Cathy Verney                                

Cast: Romain Duris, Céline Sallette, Florence Thomassin, Julie Fournier

When Vernon Subutex, an unemployed former owner of a once legendary record shop, is evicted from his flat, he’s helped by old friend rock star Alex Bleach. But Bleach’s sudden death makes Vernon a deadly target when it’s discovered that he’s in possession of 3 mysterious videotapes owned by Bleach.

 

WE’LL END UP TOGETHER (Nous finirons ensemble)

Director: Guillaume Canet                         

 Cast: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte

About to turn 60, nearly broke and estranged from his former friends, restaurateur Max embraces solitude at his soon-to-be-sold beach house.  So when his ex-buddies arrive for a surprise celebration, he turns them away. But this cannot be – something has to be done! The sequel to 2010’s star-studded comedy, LITTLE WHITE LIES.

 

ZOMBI CHILD

Director: Bertrand Bonello                            

Cast: Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Adilé David, Ninon François

Haiti, 1962…A man is resurrected from the dead and trapped in a nightmare of slavery. Modern-day Paris…Haitian teen Mélissa, the new girl at an elite school, is invited to join a secret ‘literary sorority’.  But the incendiary family secret she harbours becomes a source of fascination to others, who exploit her heritage with shocking results.

 

National dates and venues for the 2020 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:

     

SYDNEY:

 

10 March – 8 April

 

Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema, Palace Central & Hayden Orpheum Cremorne      

MELBOURNE:

 

11 March – 8 April

 

Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema             Como, Palace Westgarth, Kino Cinemas & The Astor Theatre

PERTH:

 

11 March – 8 April

 

Palace Raine Square, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX,

Windsor Cinema & Camelot Outdoor Cinema

CANBERRA:

12 March – 8 April

Palace Electric Cinema

ADELAIDE:

17 March -14 April

Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinema

BRISBANE:

18 March -14 April

Palace Barracks & Palace James Street

HOBART:

19 – 28 March

State Cinema

AVOCA BEACH:

19 March – 1 April

Avoca Beach Picture Theatre

PARRAMATTA:

26 – 29 March

Riverside Theatres Parramatta

BYRON BAY:

31 March – 12 April

Palace Byron Bay

BENDIGO:

17 – 19 April

Star Cinema

BALLARAT:

17 -19 April

Regent Cinemas

Transmission Films has released a new trailer for RIDE LIKE A GIRL, the feature film about Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. It is the directorial debut from renowned actor Rachel Griffiths and stars Teresa Palmer, Sam Neill, Sullivan Stapleton, Magda Szubanski and introduces Stevie Payne. RIDE LIKE A GIRL will be released in cinemas on 26th September 2019 and the film will captivate and inspire families across Australia.

As a little girl, Michelle Payne dreams of the impossible: winning the Melbourne Cup — horse-racing’s toughest two-mile race. The youngest of 10 children, Michelle is raised by single father Paddy. She leaves school at 15 to become a jockey and after early failures she finds her feet, but a family tragedy, followed by her own near fatal horse fall all but ends the dream. But with the love of her dad and her brother Stevie, Michelle will not give up. Against all the medical advice, and the protests of her siblings, she rides on, and meets Prince of Penzance. Together they overcome impossible odds for a shot at the dream: a ride in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, at odds of 100 to 1. The rest is history.