Movies you ought to see in this cold month of June

Sydney Film Festival is on this month from June 8 -19. There is an interesting line up of films from around the world including Indian subcontinent. India’s celebrated cinematographer and film maker Satyajit Ray’s 10 films are the highlights of this years’ festival. A feature film ‘Fairy Folk’ by director Karan Gour and a documentary ‘Day After’ by the Bangladeshi Director Kamal Ahmed Simon are films from the Indian subcontinent. ‘We Are Still Here‘ is Gala Night’s Opening Night film – An unparalleled First Nations celebration, interweaving eight stories by 10 directors from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, is a film not to be missed. Another recommendation is Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Hero’ in cinemas releasing on June 9.

We are still here: Wed 8 June 7.00 pm State Theatre

Australia and New Zealand | 2022 | 90 mins | in Arrente, Maori, English, Samoan and Turkish with English subtitles.

Hurtling through space and time, We Are Still Here is an unparalleled First Nations celebration, interweaving eight stories by 10 directors from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Conceived as a cinematic response to the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s arrival in the region. We Are Still Here is a poetic and powerful statement of resistance and survival. Through eight heroic protagonists, the film traverses 1000 years exploring stories of kinship, loss, grief and resilience. It begins with stunning animation set in ancient times, when a mother and daughter out fishing have a disturbing vision of the future. Then we are taken to 1862 where, in both Australia and New Zealand, indigenous people confront the prospect of a terrifying future. In 1915, a Samoan soldier finds himself in perilous situation, but also encounters an unexpected act of kindness. Alongside stories set in the past, there are also contemporary stories of activism, of confronting racism, of romance and of love. and finally a vision of a dystopian future. Bringing together a range of genres – animation, sci-fi, romantic comedy, period drama – We Are Here Still is cumulatively a strident story of endurance in the face of colonialism, racism and attempted erasure. It is also evidence of thrilling new First Nations cinematic talent from this region.

Other Screenings: Thus 9 June 6.30pm RITZ1; Wed 15 Jun 7.45 pm HOC4


Aparajito, Directed by Satyajit Ray: Sat 11 Jun 12:45pm Art Gallery of New South Wales

The story follows Apu (Smaran Ghosal) from boyhood to his teen years, from his humble life in the country to his university studies in Kolkata, as he endures hardship and tragedy along the way. Ray also observes the ways that family traditions and Apu’s devotion to his long-suffering mother Sarbajaya (another great performance from Karuna Banerjee) are strained by his burning ambition to study science and see the world. Ray’s questioning of familial obligation and its centrality in Indian society made the film controversial in India; but it found wide acclaim overseas, winning the Golden Lion at Venice among many other awards.

The Music Room, Directed by Satyajit Ray, Sat 11 Jun 3pm Art Gallery of New South Wales

Biswambhar Roy is a landowner reduced to watching his ancestral home crumble around him. The decadent concerts he hosts in his ornate music room are his refuge from harsh reality and the changing face of a rapidly changing India in the 1920s. The indelible images of grandeur and decay captured by cinematographer Subrata Mitra add to the rich, almost Gothic mood of this vivid, melancholy film. Chhabi Biswas brings extraordinary complexity to the role of Ray’s tragic protagonist and the phenomenal musical interludes feature the work of composer and sitar player Ustad Vilayat Khan and dancer Roshan Kumari.

Charulata, Directed by Satyajit Ray, Thu 16 Jun 6:15pm Ritz Randwick – Cinema 3

Considered by many to be his greatest film, Ray’s romantic drama follows a wealthy but lonely housewife who falls for her husband’s cousin in Victorian-era Kolkata. Exquisite performances by frequent Ray collaborators Madhabi Mukherjee and Sumitra Chatterjee lie at the heart of this sublime film based on a novel by Rabindrinath Tagore. With her keen intellect and untapped literary talent, Charu is bored and restless in her gilded cage. Her concerned husband Bhupati (Sailen Mukherjee), a busy newspaper publisher, suggests that his capricious young cousin Amal, an aspiring writer himself, keep her company. The unexpected romance that results is as profound as it is restrained. Charulata’s beautiful simplicity is masterfully offset by complex themes and visual design. Ray considered it his most perfect work. David Stratton calls it his favourite film of all time.

Pather Panchali Directed by Satyajit Ray

Thu 9 Jun 2pm State Theatre; Fri 10 Jun 6pm Ritz Randwick – Cinema 3

This award-winning 1955 debut feature, the first film in Ray’s Apu Trilogy, is a lyrical exploration of childhood, poverty and village life in early 20th century Bengal. Apu (Subir Banerjee), a young boy growing up in a humble home in the countryside, is doted upon by his mischievous older sister (Uma Dasgupta) while his beleaguered mother (Karuna Banerjee) struggles to hold the household together with very little income. The story unfolds at a languid pace that warmly envelopes the audience into the rhythms of rural life, with joy and hardship intertwining poignantly. The naturalistic settings and performances, along with Subrata Mitra’s stunning cinematography, enhance the evocative mood and wrenching emotion created by this timeless film. The beautiful score was composed by a young Ravi Shankar.

Fairy Folk, Directed by Karan Gour

Sun 12 Jun 6:15pm Event Cinemas George Street – Cinema 3; Wed 15 Jun 6:15pm Dendy Newtown – Cinema 1

Thorny questions of love and sexuality take centre stage in this magical realist drama in which a genderless woodland being crashes into the lives of a jaded couple. Squabbling couple Ritika and Mohit have lost their spark, tired of each other’s neuroses and failures. More challenges arise when they discover a genderless being in the woods, which proceeds to casually follow them home. In a bizarre turn, the entity reveals it can shapeshift into a youthful human, mirroring the soul of the last person who showed it kindness. Ritika and Mohit become caught in a sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-catastrophic web of insecurity and desire, as they attempt to create ideal versions of one other. Full of crackling chemistry and an improvisational hang-out feel, Indian director Karan Gour’s fairy-tale is an utterly unique exploration of gender, millennial love and self-transformation.

Day After…

Directed by Kamar Ahmad Simon 2021 Bangladesh 115 minutes All Ages Book Tickets Save more with a Flexipass

Tue 14 Jun 3pm State Theatre; Sat 18 Jun 1pm Event Cinemas George Street – Cinema 3

A seductive journey on a century-old river steamer overflowing with passengers from all walks of life from Kamar Ahmad Simon, the first Bangladeshi filmmaker to be Featured Red Carpet Director in Piazza Grande, Locarno. ‘The Rocket’, an ironically named ancient double-decker paddle boat, regularly sails from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka to the southern city of Khulna. As time and countryside drift by (the 250km journey takes two days), Simon’s camera roams the crowded decks, filming the manifold passengers, from vloggers to tourists, families to salesmen. We eavesdrop on lively conversations (some real, some staged) covering everything from politics to food, and flinch as ‘The Rocket’ navigates one nautical hazard after another. Every detail in this rich river tapestry – the second in director Simon’s planned ‘water trilogy’ – is a delight and well worth the journey.

A Hero

Directed by Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman), Opens June 9.

Amir Jadidi as Rahim gets embroiled in a series of unfortunate events that risk his reputation and relationships when he gets arrested for delaying the repayment of a debt.

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