Idiosyncratic doco maker Les Blank journeys to China with a devoted tea drinker and trader for an inside look at tea and the culture that spawned it.
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- South Korea
- The Netherlands
Ric Burns's imposing four-hour portrait tracks the painfully shy, sickly genius through his 1960s New York heyday to substantiate the claim that he is the greatest artist of the 20th century.
Unbelievable true story of Rev Richard Gazowsky, who is convinced God wants him to make a multi-million dollar Christian Star Wars – even though Gazowsky has never watched a single film in his life.
In director Abderrahmane Sissako's fierce and unforgettable piece of political art, the African nation puts economic globalisation on trial in a hot, dusty courtyard in Mali's capital Bamako.
A handsome Mexican soccer star whose career was cut short by tragedy finds solace with a pregnant waitress in this sensitive, transcendent film set in New York, that won the People's Choice at Toronto.
In 2004, Eric Steel captured footage of 23 fatal leaps from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, then uncovered their wrenchingly poignant stories. His doco transcends voyeurism for a dignified examination of death.
Beautifully restored print of Paul Leni's 1927 silent classic in which a young woman must spend the night alone in a creepy gothic mansion. Accompanied by the exhilarating score (with theremin) composed by Festival guest Neil Brand, conducted by US maestro Timothy Brock.
This exposé of the thriving cocaine trade in Florida during the late 70s and early 80s is an unapologetically sensational and furiously entertaining example of doco filmmaking as tabloid crack.
Frank Oz (The Stepford Wives) changes direction with a riotous British comedy about a man (Matthew Macfadyen) who returns home for his father's funeral, only to face a madhouse.
A highly charged and confrontational doco which talks to Father Oliver O'Grady, the California paedophile who molested children over a 30-year period from within the sanctuary of the Catholic church.
Seven well-known artists, including Matthew Barney (The Cremaster Cycle), Larry Clark and Sam Taylor-Wood, were told to go forth and make pornography: the result is this cerebral, challenging series of short films.
Deeply affecting doco telling the story of the US Marine Captain who became a political activist after witnessing the systematic genocide of black African citizens in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Surreal, awe-inspiring, innovative missives from the world of digital animation, selected to showcase the detail, depth of field and full resonant sound that only a cinema can deliver.
Robert Blake stars as "Big John" Wintergreen, the diminutive chopper cop adrift in a flotsam of corrupt lowlifes, in this modern existential Western that oozes 1970s charm.
Experimental, impressionistic work of sublime poetic vision from musician-turned-filmmaker Pierce, whose exquisitely wrought film fractions explore the emotional complexities of life.
Bob Rafelson examines the patrician American way of life in his second feature starring Jack Nicholson as a former classical music prodigy turned redneck oil-rigger and drifter.
Fascinating historical doco weaves a riveting high-stakes narrative around the 1956 Olympic water polo semi-final between Hungary and the Soviet Union, which turned into a bloodbath.
Tale of an Osaka Love Thief
Riveting doco focuses on symbiotic (and often delusional) relationships between boy-toy hosts and adoring, champagne-swilling female clients in Osaka's most popular host bar.
Adaptation of Dito Montiel's mid-80s memoir of life on the hot, sweat-soaked streets of New York, recalling early Scorsese, as two lives converge on tragedy. Stars Robert Downey Jr and Shia LaBeouf.
Ryan Gosling is phenomenal as the dynamic junkie teacher at a tough inner-city school whose after-hours activities collide with those of one of his young female students, who is also a fledgling drug runner.
This selection of beautiful animations have all been painstakingly hand-painted upon thousands of pieces of glass, hardboard or card to create the 24 frames you need for every single second of film.
Pre-fab four TV phenomenon The Monkees committed career hara-kiri by starring in this psychedelic, mind-bending weird-fest penned by Jack Nicholson and director Bob Rafelson in 1968.
Poetic Western directed by and starring Peter Fonda as a drifter who attempts to reconcile with his abandoned wife and daughter. This restored version of a neglected 1970s masterpiece will dazzle audiences.
The Life & Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal
The extraordinary contribution of the world's most dedicated Nazi hunter, who lost his mother, sister and 87 other relatives in the Holocaust, is outlined in this eventful and engaging profile.
David Lynch's latest surreal work disturbs a dysfunctional thriller with erotic anarchy as he hurtles towards a shocking, confronting and utterly uncompromising close. Riveting, hypnotic, dreamlike.
Frank, fly-on-the-wall account of an Evangelical summer camp in North Dakota where children learn the evils of profanity, abortion and witchcraft – and salute a cardboard cut-out of President Bush.
Completed in 1977, Charles Burnett's fictional portrait of a working-class black family living in a broken-down home in a bombed-out stretch of Los Angeles is a lost American neorealist masterpiece.
Two friends investigate America's scariest, most planted, processed, subsidised GE crop: corn. "As relevent as Super Size Me and as important as An Inconvenient Truth." — Austin Chronicle
An all-night FM talk jockey (Jack Nicholson) is drawn into the Atlantic City scams of his estranged brother (Bruce Dern) in Bob Rafelson's original, eccentric and affecting 1972 film.
This extraordinary montage film is entirely narrated by Cobain, with evocative images showing where he lived, went to school, worked and played.
Jack Nicholson is one of two Navy men who decide to show a young offender a good time before he gets locked up. Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude) directs a script by Robert Towne (Chinatown).
Peter Bogdanovich's classic debut feature (1971) is an evocative, bittersweet coming-of-age set in small-town Texas in the early 1950s, starring a young Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd.
Constructed around a 2005 tribute performance at Sydney's Opera House, this is a celebratory mix of concert and documentary. Includes appearances by Cohen, Bono, Nick Cave and Beth Orton.
Robert Altman's (The Player, Gosford Park) take on Philip Marlowe relocates the detective to cynical, modern Los Angeles. Purists were incensed, but this is one of the finest movies of the 70s.
This brutal and lurid melodrama about a charismatic small town psycho who falls for a high-class beauty marks the debut of a director who aims to put the "hurt" back into the stagnant thriller genre.
This stunning shockumentary is a visceral immersion in contemporary Brazilian street life, connecting the unlikely dots between black-market frog farming, plastic surgery and kidnapping in São Paulo.
Angelina Jolie stars as the impassioned heroine at the centre of Michael Winterbottom's urgent docudrama retelling of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's abduction by Islamic militants.
Enthralling doco gets up close to four-year-old New York painting genius Marla Olmstead and her family. Is Marla the actual artist or does she receive all sorts of "coaching" from her devoted dad?
Two long-time friends (Daniel London and singer Will Oldham) reassess their bond on a mountain camping trip. A quiet, shimmering elegy to lost friendship from director Kelly Reichardt.
With this intimate character study of an angel-faced skateboarder (and accidental killer), Gus Van Sant returns with one of the most moving and delicately felt films of his fascinating career.
A young girl's 15th birthday bash is derailed by an immaculate conception in this saucy, heartfelt exploration of love, family and neighbourhood gentrification set in a Latino suburb of Los Angeles.
Maverick director Werner Herzog treads close to the mainstream with this tale of a German-American fighter pilot (Christian Bale) who escapes a Viet Cong POW camp in Laos in 1965.
Stirring true story of 94-year-old Doris "Granny D" Haddock who walked across America to rally against the influence of big money in elections. Four years later, she runs for the US Senate.
The definitive portrait of Scott Walker, rock's most fascinating and elusive outsider.
Your heart will open up and bleed for Maggie Gyllenhaal as the recovering junkie (and desperate cherry-bomb hellion) who is determined to win back her daughter after three years in jail.
This ingenious triptych of terror starts off as a love story before descending into one huge ball of bloody chaos with the arrival of a malignant signal that causes viewers to turn totally homicidal.
A gentle satire which pokes fun at the Southern California Young American Miss pageant and the hollow post-Vietnam values of America. Condenses all that was groovy about the 70s into two hours.
Tilda Swinton is the pregnant forensic psychologist sent to interview a teenage Christian girl accused of killing her newborn baby. A lacerating drama which exposes the hidden terrors of women.
Three recently discovered experimental silent films featuring Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick and The Velvet Underground offer an intriguing alternative viewpoint of life in heady 1960s Factory days.
Riveting chronicle of a 20-year struggle to free an innocent black man of the 1984 rape and murder of a white woman in North Carolina – a racially charged crime which divided the community.
Harrowing, heartbreaking doco edited down from 3,000 hours (yes... 3,000!) of home video footage, telling the story of a former primetime newscaster whose addiction to crack destroyed his life.
Director/auteur Monte Hellman's breakout feature is a minimalist existential road movie starring singer James Taylor and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson as a duo on a cross-country race (1971).
The spirited 15-year-old daughter of a poor South Indian fisherman determines to master the high-caste Brahmin art of kuchipudi dance. Powerful, luscious and saturated with colour.
Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory
Superb, impressionistic doco retracing the footsteps of Factory hanger-on Danny Williams, a Harvard student, gifted filmmaker and Andy Warhol's lover, who disappeared in Massachusetts in 1966.
A selection of eclectic, electric and wildly entertaining examples of the art of short film from Romania, Iceland, Germany and the USA, from the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
Using sound, image and text, these four ingenious live film explorations from Australia, New Zealand and the US redefine the frontiers of cinematic possibility. Presented at the majestic St James Theatre.