34 films to see at Sydney Film Festival 2024

Sydney Film Festival 2024
Reading Time: 20 minutes

Sydney Film Festival 2024 kicked off Wednesday night and the huge program has over 200 films for you to watch. We’ve devoured the program to put together the list of films from France in French, multilingual films where French is one of the languages, multinational films where France is one of the countries, or set in France or about people in France.

Sydney Film Festival 2024

The films at Sydney Film Festival 2024 are an eclectic array of cinematic treasures, featuring works by acclaimed directors such as including Olivier Assayas and André Téchiné, both stalwarts of French cinema known for their masterful storytelling, and prize-winning films that explore a myriad of human experiences. From the masterful storytelling of Nuri Bilge Ceylan in “About Dry Grasses” to the poignant narrative crafted by Lav Diaz in “Essential Truths of the Lake,” each film delves into themes of personal identity, societal dynamics, and the human condition.


Directors like Farhad Delaram (“Achilles“), Victor Kossakovsky (“City of Wind“), and Radu Jude (“Do not expect too much from the end of the world“) offer captivating perspectives on tradition, modernity, and the pursuit of justice. Meanwhile, the visual brilliance of filmmakers like Min Bahadur Bham (“Shambhala“) and RKSS (“Wake Up“) immerses audiences in breathtaking landscapes and thrilling narratives. With standout performances and innovative storytelling, these films engage viewers in profound reflections on love, loss, resilience, and the ever-evolving nature of our world.


Click on the below links to be taken to the relevant section:

French films
Multilingual films (where French is one of the languages)
Multinational films (where France is one of the countries)
Films with other links to France




Among the Wolves (L’Affût aux loups)

Countries: France, Belgium

Language: French

An immersive wilderness experience filmed near the Finnish-Russian border, where a photographer and a painter wait, watch, and listen for an elusive wolf pack.

Two men, French artist Yves Fagniart and Belgian wildlife photographer Olivier Larrey, tramp through the frozen forest to a lookout hut. There they will remain, quiet and invisible, day and night until the wolf pack emerges – revelling in the beauty of the moment. The friends pass the time between these remarkable sightings by photographing the snowy landscape and its resident crows, and by sketching the changing light. Transfixed, the pair return over the seasons, capturing the life of the wolf pack on film and paper. A strikingly beautiful documentary permeated with a sense of wonder.

Screens with The Waiting


My New Friends (Les Gens d’à côté)

Country: France

Language: French

A police officer (Isabelle Huppert) learns that her new friend and neighbour is a staunchly Anti-police activist in this taut moral tale from French auteur Andre Téchiné (Being 17, SFF 2016).

Grieving her recently departed colleague and romantic partner Slimane (Moustapha Mbengue), Huppert’s forensics officer initially finds solace in the company of her new neighbours: young teacher Julia (Hafsia Herzi) and her husband Yann (BPM ’s electric Nahuel Pérez Biscayart). But she soon learns that Yann is under government surveillance for his direct action against the police force, and finds her allegiances tested by their friendship. One of the most celebrated of the generation of filmmakers who emerged after the French New Wave, Téchiné has worked steadily across seven decades specialising in intimate, absorbing chamber dramas. My New Friends is no exception, treating hot-button subject matter with characteristic sensitivity.



Suspended Time (Hors du temps)

Country : France

Language: French

Olivier Assayas (Irma Vep, SFF 1997; Personal Shopper) returns with a delightful semi-autobiographical film about art, memory, and love in the time of COVID. The director’s most personal film yet.

As the world goes into COVID lockdown, film director Paul (Vincent Macaigne) and his music journalist brother Etienne (Micha Lescot) take refuge in their childhood home along with their respective partners. In this idyllic countryside home, filled with familiar objects, the brothers must negotiate living together again as the world beyond the house becomes increasingly unstable. Assayas himself narrates, based on his own diary, reflecting on his childhood, his relationship with his intellectual parents, and his deep connection to his childhood home. The result is playful, whimsical, filled with crêpes and charm.



Read on for films in which French is one of the languages spoken at Sydney Film Festival 2024.



Countries: France, Senegal, Benin

Language: French, English and Fon with English subtitles

Trailblazing filmmaker Mati Diop (Atlantics) won the Golden Bear at Berlinale 2024 for her ingenious documentary on the repatriation of royal treasures to present-day Benin in West Africa. Plundered by French colonial troops in the late nineteenth century, 26 royal treasures from the Kingdom of Dahomey are about to be returned.

What would these ancestral statues think about their homecoming? What do Benin’s university students think now? What about all the hundreds of items that remain in European arts institutions to this day? A French-Senegalese filmmaker, Diop’s work frequently tackles France’s colonial legacy in North Africa. She won Cannes’ Grand Prix for her debut feature, becoming the first Black woman to premiere a film in competition in Cannes


Marcello Mio

Countries: Italy, France

Languages: Italian, French

Christophe Honoré’s inventive Cannes Competition entry brings together an all-star French cast (playing themselves) in this charming and delightfully meta comedy paying homage to the great Marcello Mastroianni.

Chiara Mastroianni, the daughter of Marcello Mastroianni (La Dolce Vita,) and Catherine Deneuve (Belle de Jour, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), is an actress disillusioned with the business. The shoot she’s on is absolutely chaotic and unpleasant. When she auditions for a role in a new film, she’s told by the director: “More Mastroianni than Deneuve … More Marcello than Catherine.” She starts to feel she might prefer to live her father’s life, leading to Chiara beginning to dress and speak like him – and then insisting on being called Marcello. Her mother (Deneuve herself) reacts with bemusement and concern, but others (like actor Fabrice Luchini) go with the flow. Soon, Chiara is in Rome, retracing Marcello’s steps but also on a path to re-finding herself. Reimagining some of Marcello Mastroianni’s iconic roles, Marcello Mio is a playful depiction of the challenges and joys of the creative life under the shadow of famous parents.


Grand Tour

Countries: Portugal, Italy, France

Languages : Portuguese, Chinese, Thai, French, Burmese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Japanese with English subtitles

Direct from the Cannes Competition, the latest from Miguel Gomes (Tabu, SFF 2012; Arabian Nights, Sydney Film Prize, SFF 2015) is a melancholic and mischievous chronicle of a romantic pursuit across Asia.

Rangoon, Burma, 1917. A British civil servant, Edward (Gonçalo Waddington) is due to be married to his fiancée Molly (Crista Alfaiate), who has arrived from London for the wedding. But Edward panics before the nuptials and flees to Singapore. So begins his grand tour of Asia – whizzing through Bangkok, Manila, Saigon, Osaka and Shanghai. Molly is not easily dissuaded, however; determined to be married, she’s even rather amused by Edward’s cowardly skittishness. She sets off in pursuit, often narrowly missing her betrothed and sending telegrams notifying him of her progress. The word “stop” in her telegrams is both punctuation and an order. And while on the trail, Molly, with her boisterous laugh, is not short of admirers.

With hilarious voiceover narration, and the dazzlingly beautiful and meticulous period scenes intercut with vibrant contemporary footage, Gomes has once again made a film that is funny, unique and beguiling.


The Dead don’t hurt

Countries: Canada, Mexico, Denmark

Languages: English, French and Spanish with English subtitles

Viggo Mortensen directs and stars opposite Vicky Krieps in this stunning feminist western about a romance in a time of corruption and war.

In the early 1860s, two immigrants, Vivienne (Krieps) and Holger (Mortensen), meet and agree to settle down together in the quiet town of Elk Flats, Nevada. The fiercely independent Vivienne refuses to be married, but she and Holger build a life together, finding joy and beauty even amid the harsh conditions. When Holger decides to fight in the Civil War, however, Vivienne is left to fend for herself in the town controlled by the corrupt Mayor Schiller (Danny Huston), his business partner Jeffries (Garret Dillahunt) and his unhinged son Weston (Solly McLeod). In his second film as director following 2020’s Falling, Mortensen creates a riveting and moving portrait of a strong woman making her way in a world of ruthless men.


Green Border (Zielona Granica)

Countries: Poland, France, Czech Republic, Belgium

Languages: Polish, Arabic, English and French

Legendary filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s gripping refugee thriller raised the ire of some Polish politicians and inspired protests on its way to a box office record. Special Jury Prize, Venice.

Set along the border between Belarus and Poland, Holland’s (Europa, Europa, SFF 1991; Spoor, SFF 2017) striking black and white film looks at how refugees, lured by false promises, fall under the control of callous border guards and sinister politicians.

Green Border follows a Syrian family that comes into contact with a young border guard an  an activist determined to help. Oscar-nominated Holland’s brilliant direction (in collaboration with associate directors Kamila Tarabura and Katarzyna Warzecha) vividly conveys the terrible moral quandaries faced by these individuals in this urgent film of great political and artistic impact.


In The Rearview (Skąd Dokąd)

Counties: Poland, Ukraine, France

Languages : Polish, Ukrainian, French, English and Russian

The Ukrainian conflict as seen from a unique authentic perspective – through the rearview of a volunteer driving Ukrainian civilians to safety.

When the fighting draws near and lives are in danger, millions of Ukrainians are forced to abandon their homes. Many are reliant on volunteers like Polish filmmaker Maciek Hamela to drive them to safety. Hamela steers his minivan through minefields and detours – all while filming over his shoulder. The cramped, anxious passengers are typically women; mothers with young children and the elderly. As the van zigzags across the devasted countryside, it becomes a space in which they can talk about their experiences and all they’ve left behind. This haunting documentary, a prize winner at film festivals worldwide, gives voice to the ordinary people of Ukraine.


Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros

Countries : USA, France

Languages: English and French

Festival favourite Frederick Wiseman (City Hall, SFF 2021) returns with a mouth-watering epic set in a three-Michelin-star French restaurant.

Wiseman shifts his exquisite gaze from US institutions (Ex Libris – The New York Public Library, SFF 2018) and Parisian cultural life (La Danse ,SFF 2022) to the world of French gastronomy. The Troisgros family restaurant in France’s Rhône-Alpes region, founded in 1930, has grown into a huge operation. Wiseman captures it all: from the vast kitchens, budding chefs, dedicated local providores and super-efficient waitstaff to the well-heeled patrons. Michel, the third generation to head the restaurant, is preparing to hand the baton to his son. Wiseman (now 94) delivers a luscious and hypnotic portrait of an enduring institution on the verge of change.


Ghost Trail

Countries: Germany, Belgium

Languages: French, Arabic, English


The Opening Film of Cannes Critics’ Week is a brilliantly performed edge-of-your-seat thriller about a Syrian refugee in France on the trail of his former torturer.

Hamid (Adam Bessa, superb) is part of a secretive group of Syrian exiles who pursue fugitive leaders of the Syrian regime, perpetrators of atrocities against the populace who have managed to slip into Europe under false identities. Hamid is determined to track down the war criminal who tortured him. As he was blindfolded throughout his ordeal, he is reliant on his memories of the man’s voice and his scent – so he must get uncomfortably close to verify the identification. With all the tension of the very best espionage thrillers, Ghost Trail is all the more effective given its connection to recent and ongoing world events. An astonishingly assured and meticulously executed debut feature by Jonathan Millet, this is a tense thriller not to be missed.


She Loved Blossoms More

Countries: Greece, France

Languages: Greek and French

Direct from its Tribeca World Premiere comes Yannis Veslemes’ existential fever dream about time travel and family ties. The Greek Weird Wave just got gloriously weirder.

The stunning new feature by filmmaker-composer Veslemes (Panagas the Pagan segment in The Field Guide to Evil, SFF 2018) exists in a place that is at once familiar and otherworldly. In a musty mansion, three young brothers are experimenting with a time machine that will bring back their long-dead mother. Drifting through this swirling psychedelic environment are livewire visitors Samantha (Sandra Abuelghanam) and Logo, an enigmatic presence played by French legend Dominique Pinon (Diva, Delicatessen). Time, space and memory adopt spectacularly strange guises in a mesmerising trip from the stable of executive producer and FMO bestie Ant Timpson (Come to Daddy, SFF 2019; Censor, SFF 2021).

Screens with Dream Creep


Soundtrack to a Coup d ́Etat

Countries: Belgium, France, Netherlands

Languages: French, English, Dutch and Russian

A bravura cinematic essay that plays like a thriller, intertwining the story of jazz with the history of colonial machinations in the Congo. Nina Simone and Louis Armstrong feature in this Sundance winner.

Grimonprez’s award-winning documentary (Special Jury Award for Cinematic Innovation, Sundance) homes in on the ’60s, when America sent jazz icons Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, and Dizzy Gillespie as ‘goodwill ambassadors’ to Africa to distract from the earlier CIA-backed assassination of Congolese prime minister Patrice Lumumba. With stylised flair, the film shows that “America’s secret weapon is a blue note in a minor key.” Yet jazz wasn’t just a decoy. Deftly collaging archival footage and home movies, Grimonprez traces a counter history in which Black American artists protested U.S. imperialism and built international solidarity with decolonial movements.



These films showing at Sydney Film Festival 2024 are from countries including France and the Francophonie but are not in French.


About Dry Grasses 

Countries: Türkiye, France, Germany

Language: Turkish

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (SFF 2012) director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s new film returns to that region to tell the tale of an art teacher accused of impropriety by a student.

Samet (Deniz Celiloğlu) is completing his compulsory service as a teacher in a remote Anatolian village, where the winters are brutal and the monotony overpowering. He longs for a posting to Istanbul. Samet has a particularly close relationship with a 14-year-old female student,
Sevim, who one day makes a serious accusation against him. At the same time, Samet is competing with his roommate for the affections of fellow teacher Nuray (Cannes Best Actress Award winner Merve Dizdar, superb). The images are as ravishing as ever, and Ceylan, winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or for Winter Sleep (SFF 2014), once again captures the ambiguous morality and mysterious motivations of humanity with bracing clarity.



Countries: Iran, Germany, France

Languages: In Azerbaijani and Persian

An isolated hospital worker forges a tentative and dangerous connection with a mysterious patient, in this Iranian road trip-cum-fugitive movie about the quest for freedom in an unjust system.

Working nights in a local hospital, Farid is called up to the psychiatric ward to treat a female patient who is beating the walls that confine her. She wants to go outside, and one night Farid acquiesces to her request. What follows is a beautifully acted story about two characters on the run whose lives have been hollowed out by a repressive regime they feel powerless to escape. Farhad Delaram’s debut feature is a moving look at the nature of heroism and a tribute to filmmakers such as Jafar Panahi (No Bears, SFF 2023) who continue to make films in the face of state persecution.

Festival Guest: Farhad Delaram



Countries: Germany, France, USA

Languages: English and Italian

Award-winning filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky’s striking follow-up to Gunda focuses on the built environment and its shift from rock to concrete. Selected Berlinale 2024.

This essay-like film features some of the most dramatic footage you’re likely to see this Festival, as the camera swoops through ruined buildings and streams of rock tumble slow-mo down the screen. As the dust clears and the camera retreats, you’re left to contemplate the nature of our relationship with building materials old and new. Alongside these ravishing images, we meet Italian architect and theorist Michele De Lucchi as he supervises the construction of a stone circle in his rain-swept garden. Another fascinating, immersive film in Russian director Kossakovsky’s impressive canon (¡Vivan Las Antipodas!, SFF 2012).


Brief History of a Family

Countries: China, France, Denmark, Qatar

Language: Mandarin

A quiet teenager seizes an opportunity to impress his new friend’s moneyed parents in this suspenseful and meticulously observed thriller. A breakout critical hit from Sundance 2024.

After Wei, an outgoing athlete, accidentally injures his much poorer classmate Shuo, he invites the lonely boy home for dinner. It’s a gesture he may regret: Wei’s parents are moved by Shuo’s tragic childhood, cultured tastes and attentiveness to their inner lives – and a kind of transference takes place. With China’s one-child policy capping the number of children per family, they begin seeing Shuo as an improved version of their own son. Recalling Parasite and Saltburn, gifted first-time director Lin Jianjie’s interloper drama examines the family with icy dispassion, microscopically interested in urban loneliness and the desires we project onto others


City of Wind

Countries: France, Mongolia, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Qatar

Language: Mongolian

In one of the most highly regarded debuts of the year, a 17-year-old Mongolian shaman steeped in ancient tradition is confronted – and tempted – by the modern world.

The shaman ‘Grandpa Spirit’ – face concealed and with a mask that looks appropriately gnarled – ministers to his community, providing both moral and spiritual guidance. When the mask is removed, however, a gentle 17-year-old boy is revealed. Alongside his shaman duties, high school student Ze must work on his studies, which he does diligently. But Ze’s world is thrown upside down when he’s called to provide spiritual protection for a girl similar in age about to undergo heart surgery. An immediate attraction eventually leads to a relationship, and soon Ze is awakened to a lifestyle, with shopping malls and neon nightclubs very different to his own. Talented director Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir uses this story to paint a revealing portrait of contemporary Mongolia in a film of great tenderness and power.



Countries: Sweden, Denmark, France, Türkiye, Georgia

Language: English, Georgian and Turkish

A Georgian woman traverses contemporary Istanbul in a tender, soul-searching pilgrimage to find her runaway transgender niece. Berlinale’s Teddy Jury Award winner from Levan Akin (And Then We Danced).

To fulfill the dying wish of her sister, retired teacher Lia (a dignified and impressive performance from Mzia Arabuli), sets off on foot to find her estranged niece, Tekla, who fled Georgia at a young age across the border to Türkiye. Before she leaves, Lia gets a lead from the cocky Achi – who himself desires to run away. The unlikely duo set off with little money and only each other for support, to navigate the vibrant, cobbled streets of Istanbul’s queer district. This is a road movie, and a personal, introspective journey of reconciliation, instilled with a poetic exploration of marginalised communities abandoning a place that doesn’t accept them.


Do not expect too much from the end of the world 

Countries: Romania, Luxembourg, France, Croatia

Language: Romanian

Romanian maverick Radu Jude (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, SFF 2021) returns with a darkly absurdist, hilarious comedy about a woman casting a corporate safety video in Bucharest.

Angela works as a production assistant on a safety awareness video commissioned by a multinational. Tasked with casting the video, she encounters a range of severely injured workers, all competing for the main role – and a cash prize. Worked to the brink, Angela spends her downtime making social media videos in which she spoofs misogynistic boors. Jude intercuts the contemporary action with footage from an actual Romanian film from 1981, Angela Goes On, about a woman taxi driver facing the indignities of working the streets. Unpredictable as ever, Jude weaves a hilarious and biting tale, scathing about Romania, capitalism and much more.



Countries: USA, France

Language: English

Straight from Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Eephus is a delightful debut about a valedictory game of baseball. A joyous slice of Americana with narration from the great Frederick Wiseman.

Their beloved field about to give way to an imminent construction project, two non-professional teams gather to face each other for the last time. There are a few spectators with varying levels of interest, even a food vendor. But the game is only of great importance to the men playing it (and not always well). As the protracted game progresses, strategic errors are made, the light fades, and drastic action is needed for the game to come to an end. An eephus is a rare baseball pitch appearing to be deceptively innocuous. But fear not: no knowledge of, or indeed interest in, baseball is required for enjoyment of this sublime hangout film.

Festival Guest: Carson Lund


Essential Truths of the Lake

Countries: Philippines, France, Portugal, Singapore, Italy, Switzerland, UK

Language : English and Tagalog

Filipino master Lav Diaz takes on the police procedural, exploring the injustices of his country’s recent political history with hypnotic, provocative results.

A detective takes on a cold case, the murder of a young woman 15 years earlier. Recalling Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder, the investigation becomes as much about the broader socio-political landscape as an inquiry into individual culpability. Filipino superstar John Lloyd Cruz reprises his role as Lt. Hermes Papauran from Diaz’s previous When the Waves Are Gone (SFF 2023), this time investigating a different crime. The director’s trademarks are all here: starkly transfixing black-and-white compositions, startling novelistic digressions (including a film-within-a-film faux- documentary introducing the missing woman), and an atmosphere that bristles with bracing dissident anger. As with the filmmaker’s best work, it’s equally meditative and urgent.


Excursion (Ekskurzija) 

Countries : Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, France, Norway, Qatar

Language: Bosnian

In Una Gunjak’s sensitive exploration of youthful folly, a Bosnian teen’s white lie spirals out of control with dire social consequences.
During a game of truth or dare, soft-spoken Bosnian teen Iman (Asja Zara Lagumdžija, Best Performance winner, Marrakech FF) confirms a rumour she slept with an older crush – even though it isn’t true. The seemingly harmless white lie soon snowballs into more compulsive fibbing, threatening Iman’s closest relationships and a buzzy upcoming excursion. Director Una Gunjak explores this hotbed of patriarchal double standards and peer pressure through a nuanced and empathetic female lens. Assisted by DOP Matthias Pilz’s crisp handheld cinematography, this carefully observed debut captures the vibrant intensity of being young, impulsive, and fumbling your way through life.


Hesitation Wound 

Countries: Türkiye, Romania, France, Spain

Language: Turkish

This taut and engaging Turkish legal thriller follows a criminal lawyer over the course of 24 hours as she deals with a major case, a personal crisis – and a moral dilemma.

Canan (Tülin Özen, superb) is a no-nonsense attorney who spends her days in the courthouse and her nights in the hospital with her gravely ill mother. Her mother’s condition is a matter of great contention between Canan and her sister. As her defence of her client comes to its suspenseful conclusion, Canan is faced with an incredibly difficult decision that could have significant consequences for her mother, her client, and even the judge on the case. Director Selman Nacar studied both law and film, and his immaculately paced, gripping and morally complex film is a perfect expression of his dual interests. A hit at festivals all over the world, Hesitation Wound’s impact will linger long after the final credits.

Screens with Withered Blossoms


Motel Destino

Countries: Brazil, France, Germany

Language Portuguese

Straight from the Cannes Competition, Karim Aïnouz (Praia Do Futuro, SFF 2014) fuses crime thriller and unbridled eroticism in this gloriously debauched tropical noir.

A junior in a crime family operating on the coast of Northern Brazil, Heraldo is given the task of punishing a man who owes the family money. Partying the night before the job, he meets a beautiful stranger, oversleeps, and is robbed of his possessions. The job goes south with fatal consequences, and Heraldo is pursued by both his former criminal gang and the police. He takes refuge in a roadside sex hotel, Motel Destino, run by the boorish Elias and his frustrated, beautiful wife Dayana. There’s a visceral attraction between Heraldo and Dayana. Alongside regular voyeurism, uncontrollable desire takes hold, along with dreams of liberation, leading to an explosive conclusion.



Countries: Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Namibia

Languages: Afrikaans, German, Spanish and Mbukushu

The true-ish story of Pepe the hippo who broke free of Pablo Escobar’s private zoo, featuring deeply philosophical narration from the (multi-lingual) hippo himself. Winner, Silver Bear, Berlinale.

In one of many quixotic decisions, drug lord Pablo Escobar illegally imported a number of hippopotamuses for his private zoo in Colombia. Pepe is the descendant of these pioneer “cocaine hippos”, becoming the first African hippo to ever roam the Americas after breaking free. Alongside his story, the film explores the lives and stories of people far afield – from a Colombian fisherman and his irate wife to a Namibian tour guide. Technically audacious, playfully integrating fiction and non- fiction and in various media, Pepe is quite unlike any film you’ll see this year.



Country: Argentina, Italy, France, Germany, Brazil

Language: Spanish

In this hilarious, incisive comedy, a philosophy professor at a Buenos Aires university is threatened by a charismatic rival. As their battle spirals out of control, so does their nation.

Puan is the name of the street on which the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature of the University of Buenos Aires is located. Marcelo (Marcelo Subiotto) has dedicated his life to teaching philosophy there – and to the service of his mentor, Professor Caselli. When Caselli dies suddenly, Marcelo expects to continue his legacy and be appointed his replacement. Enter Rafael (Leonardo Sbaraglia): handsome and charismatic, he returns from prestigious European universities and becomes an immediate competitor for the role. As the two men attempt to outdo each other, the institution appears to be on the verge of collapse, and maybe the nation around them is too. At once hilarious comedy and devastating portrait of an economy and nation on the brink, Puan poses vital questions about what is truly important. Directors María Alché and Benjamín Naishtat say: “We see this film as a complex and dynamic experience in which the audience participates in a kind of Chaplinesque hilarity while, at the same time, asking questions regarding identity, existence, [and] the future.”

Festival Guest: Benjamin Naishtat


September Says

Countries: France, Greece, Ireland, Germany, UK

Language: English

Acclaimed actor Ariane Labed (Attenberg, SFF 2011; Alps, SFF 2012) makes her directorial debut with this Cannes-selected Gothic psychological drama, in which the closeness of two sisters becomes increasingly disruptive.

Teenage sisters July (Mia Tharia) and September (Pascale Kann) are extremely close. So entwined that they seem to require no one else. They tolerate their single mother, Sheela (Rakhee Thakrar, Sex Education), but even at school, the duo’s interactions with the other students are mostly acrimonious. Born just 10 months apart, September is extremely protective of July, but she also expects her sister to follow every instruction, however unreasonable. When July begins to exert her independence and acts on the attraction she feels for a boy at school, things take a bad turn. Mother and daughters decamp to an old family home in Ireland, where the bond between July and September takes on new, increasingly heightened dimensions. In her visually inventive, atmospheric and surreal debut, director Ariane Labed explores these familial ties – and a love so intense it transforms reality.



Countries: Nepal, Norway, France, Hong Kong, Türkiye, Taiwan, USA, Qatar

Languages: Nepalese and Tibetan

A woman embarks on a physical and spiritual journey across the Himalayas to find her husband, in this magnificently shot Nepalese odyssey selected for Berlinale 2024.

In this remote community, traditions are undimmed by the 21st century, and the practice of polyandry (marriage of a woman to two or more men at the same time) continues. Pema (Thinley Lhamo, impressive) embraces this, marrying Tashi and his two younger brothers: Karma, a monk, and schoolboy Dawa. The household is content – until Tashi fails to return from a trade trip to Lhasa. The heavily pregnant Pema sets out across the mountains to find him. The formidable trek ultimately becomes a spiritual odyssey as she seeks to find her shambhala, or place of tranquility.

Festival Guest: Min Bahadur Bham



Countries: Mexico, USA, France

Language: Spanish

Winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Sujo is unlike anything you’d expect from a Mexican cartel drama, as it follows a cartel-born child from infancy to manhood in an epic life-affirming odyssey.

Sujo is orphaned when his assassin father is murdered by his own cartel. Even though he’s only four, the boy is considered a liability, and the cartel orders his death to ensure there’ll be no reprisals to worry about in the future. But young Sujo is protected by his aunt, growing up in the isolated countryside. The spectre of the cartel is never far away, however: Sujo reaches his teens and is tempted to join the local cartel, and even when he moves to the city, the world of violent criminality is never far away. Will he be drawn back to the life his father lived and died for? Directors Astrid Rondero and Fernanda Valadez create visually distinctive chapters as they tell this complex and immersive story. Comparisons to Richard Linklater’s Boyhood have been made, and the films are similar not only in that both follow the main character over many years, but also in the extreme empathy and concern each character elicits from the audience. As Rondero and Valadez put it: “In the end, the whole film is a portrait of this young man, Sujo. A portrait but also a promise of the man he deserves to be.”

Festival Guest: Astrid Rondero


The Flats 

Countries: France, Belgium, UK, Ireland

Languages: English and Irish

The residents of a Belfast housing estate grapple with the unresolved legacy of the Troubles in this critically acclaimed major-prize winner at CPH:DOX 2024.

New Lodge, a Republican enclave in West Belfast, is home to self-described “ordinary decent criminal” Joe McNally and his dog Freedom. It’s a community troubled by memories of violence and lives lost, now besieged by sexual assault and drug abuse.
As a way of reconciling with the past, Joe decides to re-enact his young uncle’s wake. In a scene reminiscent of Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (SFF 2013), Joe manhandles a coffin into his cramped flat, then convinces others to participate in his macabre project – and re-enact their collective memories. The Flats lays bare a complex, brutal legacy with forensic precision.

Festival Guest: Alessandra Celesia


The Monk and The Gun 

Countries: Bhutan, France, USA, Taiwan

Languages: English and Dzongkha

Bhutan, 2006, and the country’s first democratic election is on the horizon. But trouble may be brewing when an elderly monk requests two guns. The latest charmer from Oscar-nominated Pawo Choyning Dorji.

Dorji’s (Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom) Telluride-selected, delightfully droll and slyly satirical film takes place in rural Bhutan during the lead-up to his country’s first-ever election. A trial run with fictional parties is planned to introduce voters to the concept of democracy. But when a dedicated young monk is asked by his elderly lama to bring him two guns before voting begins, it seems trouble is in store. A cavalcade of characters and misadventures ensue, in a tale as suspenseful as it is winning.



Wake Up 

Countries: Canada, France

Language: English

Genre giants RKSS (Turbo Kid, SFF 2015) return to the Freak Me Out section of the Sydney Film Festival program with a supreme slasher. Gen Z activists become the prey after breaking into a homeware megastore. This one delivers.

It’s not that easy to find super stylish, gloriously gory and wickedly inventive slasher pics these days. Luckily, the crack Canadian filmmaking trio RKSS is here to satisfy that urge with a thoroughly modern riff on the Most Dangerous Game scenario. When young environmental activists bust into an IKEA-like store, everything goes according to plan – at first. But no one ran a background check on the overnight security guard, a sweaty social misfit with rage issues and a keen interest in primitive weapons. The spirit of Jim Wynorski’s immortal Chopping Mall (1986) is alive and well here. Please do not reveal the ending!

Screens with It Will Find You.





Country: UK

Language: English

Oscar winner Kate Winslet stars alongside Alexander Skarsgård in this fascinating true portrait of model turned WWII correspondent Lee Miller. Selected Toronto FF.

American Miller was enjoying a dissipated life with her bohemian friends in France, having abandoned modelling for photography, when WWII broke out. Joining her artist lover (Skarsgård) in London, she takes up a job at British Vogue documenting the home front. The intrepid Miller finds the job stifling, so she hustles her way through bureaucratic hurdles to the frontline. In France, she joins forces with photojournalist David E. Scherman (Andy Samberg), and together they document Europe’s devastation. Miller’s trailblazing career is vividly recreated by award winning cinematographer turned director Ellen Kuras. The brilliant cast also includes Marion Cotillard, Josh O’Connor, Andrea Riseborough and Noémie Merlant.


Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros

*We are including this here even though it’s already under the multi-lingual films because of its strong French link*

Countries : USA, France

Languages: English and French

Festival favourite Frederick Wiseman (City Hall, SFF 2021) returns with a mouth-watering epic set in a three-Michelin-star French restaurant.

Wiseman shifts his exquisite gaze from US institutions (Ex Libris – The New York Public Library, SFF 2018) and Parisian cultural life (La Danse ,SFF 2022) to the world of French gastronomy. The Troisgros family restaurant in France’s Rhône-Alpes region, founded in 1930, has grown into a huge operation. Wiseman captures it all: from the vast kitchens, budding chefs, dedicated local providores and super-efficient waitstaff to the well-heeled patrons. Michel, the third generation to head the restaurant, is preparing to hand the baton to his son. Wiseman (now 94) delivers a luscious and hypnotic portrait of an enduring institution on the verge of change.


WHAT: Sydney Film Festival 2024

WHEN: 5 – 16 June 2024

HOW: Purchase your tickets via the links above

HOW MUCH: There are several ticketing options, whether you want to see 1 film or 10, 20 or 30!


  • Adult $24.50
  • Concession/Senior* $19.50
  • Youth (17 & Under)^ $18

FLEXIPASS 10 (save $60) – $185
FLEXIPASS 20 (save $150) – $340
FLEXIPASS 30 (save $255) – $480

YOUTH PASS 6 tickets (save $75) $84 (for 15-24 year olds)

For more events with links to France and the Francophonie happening in Australia this month, check out our What’s on in June article.

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