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Adelaide Film Festival Has Unveiled Its Jam-Packed 2020 Lineup

It'll screen 54 feature films from more than 40 countries — including homegrown standouts, star-studded dramas and probing documentaries.
By Sarah Ward
September 09, 2020
By Sarah Ward
September 09, 2020

Unlike its counterparts in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, the Adelaide Film Festival usually only takes place every two years. What it lacks in frequency, however, it always makes up for with a top-notch program. And, announcing its full lineup for 2020 — a selection of movies that'll be screening physically in Adelaide's picture palaces, too — this city-wide celebration of cinema once again boasts plenty to tempt movie buffs into darkened theatres.

From Wednesday, October 14–Sunday, October 25, 54 feature films from more than 40 countries will grace the festival's big screens. From a broader lineup that includes a hefty array of short films, too, 22 titles playing the fest will make their world premiere. As for what that selection spans, viewers can expect everything from brand new local movies to acclaimed flicks that have making their way around the international festival circuit, as screening everywhere from Palace Nova Eastend and Palace Nova Prospect to Wallis Mitcham and Semaphore Odeon cinemas.

Kicking off the first festival under new creative director Mat Kesting: the clearly futuristic 2067, an Adelaide-shot sci-fi starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ryan Kwanten and Deborah Mailman. Set in the titular year, it takes place on an earth decimated by climate change, and at a time when humanity is forced to breathe artificial oxygen to live. It's also one of a number of films that AFF has supported financially, via the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund. In 2020, others in that category that'll play during the fest include Kabul-set drama When Pomegranates Howl; Video Nasty: The Making of Ribspreader, which delves into Adelaide's trash film scene; and drama-documentary hybrid ShoPaapaa.

Also on the local front, AFF will screen High Ground, the powerful Berlinale-premiering western that follows the aftermath of a brutal massacre; Firestarter — The Story of Bangarra, which celebrates the history and impact of the eponymous dance company; and Brazen Hussies, a documentary about the women's liberation movement in Australia in the late 60s and early 70s. There's also Chasing Wonders, which was filmed in both Australia and Spain's wine regions, plus horror film Awoken, about a medical student trying to save her brother from a terminal sleep illness.

From the festival's international selection, highlights abound as well, with Another Round chief among them. It sees Mads Mikkelsen reteam with The Hunt filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg to play a teacher who, with his mates, helps test the idea that humans actually need more alcohol in their blood. Also featuring familiar faces, How to Build A Girl stars Lady Bird's Beanie Feldstein as a 16-year-old reinventing herself as a rock journalist, while Jumbo tasks Portrait of a Lady on Fire's Noémie Merlant with falling in love with an amusement park ride. Elsewhere, cancer weepie My Little Sister teams up German stars Nina Hoss and Lars Eidinger, while fellow terminal illness drama Blackbird rounds up Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska.

The list of notable titles goes on, spanning exceptional observational documentary Gunda, which watches farm animals go about their lives; the latest Greek oddity Apples, which is set during an amnesia pandemic; and The Perfect Candidate, the new film from Wadjda and Mary Shelley director Haifaa Al-Mansour. Or, Nadia, Butterfly fictionalises a swimmer's quest at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the iPhone-shot I WeirDo follows two obsessive compulsive disorder sufferers as they fall in love, and immigration drama Identifying Features hits AFF after winning both screenplay and audience awards at Sundance — before the fest comes to a close with another Sundance hit, Minari, about a Korean family's move to an Arkansas farm.

The 2020 Adelaide Film Festival takes place from Wednesday, October 14–Sunday, October 25. For further details — and to buy tickets — visit the festival website.

Published on September 09, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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