Sydney Film Festival – State Theatre

Last night I went to the State Theatre for part of the Sydney Film Festival.

I mostly go to “art-house” films, and too often these are screened in poky little multiplex cinemas.  Even when a film is on a larger screen, there is something intensely dispiriting about traversing modern foyers with the atmosphere of a shopping mall or where, indeed, the foyer is even in a shopping mall.  The State Theatre’s kitschy splendour definitely contributes a sense of occasion. For that reason alone I try to take advantage of the film festival to see something there each year.

The film festival is a well-established annual event in Sydney – I remember following it in my teenage years via John Hinde‘s inimitable 15-minute weekly ABC Radio program, which we usually listened to at the dinner table. Its devotees (in black, goggle-eyed (I almost typed “google”), thermos-clasping) have long been the butts of fairly good-natured humour.

I came to the film festival late in life. One reason is because, until relatively recently (and I think this may have been bound up with requirements for censorship laws) you had to subscribe to pretty much the whole festival to get to go to it. The other is that, for many years, it coincided with the end of first semester and the attendant crush of essays and exams.

I saw two films. I was going to discuss them in this post, but on reflection I shall post about them separately. They were/are Tony Ayres’ autobiographical Home Song Stories, and Ghosts, a film based on what Wikipedia describes as the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, when more than 20 Chinese “illegal” workers were drowned by the incoming tide whilst cockling by night on the tidal flats off the Lancashire coast.

Both films have a second screening at the festival and I recommend them if you are in Sydney. Home Song Stories will probably have a general (but also, I expect, rather short) cinema release in Australia. Ghosts was made for Channel 4 in the UK and the more likely bet is that your next chance to see it will be on SBS.

One Response to “Sydney Film Festival – State Theatre”

  1. At the film festival « Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] June long weekend each year marks the beginning of the Sydney Film Festival. […]

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