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Sydney Film Festival Sets Out Stellar Competition

Favorite films from Sundance, Berlin and Cannes feature prominently to give a rich competition section at next month’s Sydney Film Festival. The festival run June 5-16, and will open with Rachel Ward’s comedy “Palm Beach.”

The competition lineup, announced Wednesday, includes “Synonyms,” winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin for Israel’s Nadav Lapid. From Cannes, the competition includes “Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” and Kleber Mendonca Filho’s “Bacurau.” Sundance prize-winners include Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir” and Alejandro Landes’ “Monos.”

Other titles in competition include Mirrah Foulkes’ “Judy & Punch,” Sacha Polak’s “Dirty God,” Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s “Never Look Away,” another Berlin competition title “God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya,” the world premiere of Australian director Ben Lawrence’s “Heart and Bones,” and New Zealand drama “Bellbird,” by first time feature director Hamish Bennett.

Other festival of festival selections in other sections include Claire Denis’ “High Life,” Thomas Vinterberg’s “Kursk,” Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die,” Sydney-set “Slam” by Partho Sen-Gupta, “Ritesh Batra’s “The Photograph” and Kriv Stenders’ “Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan.”

Fourteen films and documentaries, including “Cleo de 5 a 7,” “The Gleaners and I,” and “Jane B par Agnes V” make up a tribute to the recently departed French pioneer Agnes Varda. Women’s points of view also get prominence in the Europe! Voices of Women in Film section. Selections include “Queen of Hearts,” “Endzeit – Ever After,” and “The Deposit.”

Powerful documentaries include “One Child Nation,” co-directed by Zhang Jialing and Wang Nanfu, Victoria’ Stone’s “The Elephant Queen,” about an elephant mother leading her family on an epic journey across the African plains. Bangladeshi director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki will be in attendance with “Saturday Afternoon,” based on the Holey Artisan Bakery terrorist attack by Islamist extremists.

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