AMERICAN ESSENTIALS FILM FESTIVAL
SYDNEY, CANBERRA, BRISBANE, MELBOURNE
Billing itself as ‘The Freshest US Films from the Festival Circuit,’ the American Essentials Film Festival features a wide array of recent American studio and indy dramas and documentaries, plus a retrospective sidebar of movies entitled ‘Postcards from LA.’ As the tagline says, all of the titles (with the obvious exception of the retrospective) have featured in major film festivals in 2017 and this year and nearly all of them are Australian premieres. One of them, in fact, is flying in straight from its Cannes Film Festival world premiere, Kevin Connolly’s Gotti, starring John Travolta as the mob boss known as ‘the Teflon Don.’
It’s a cliché but it’s certainly true in this case - there is something for everyone in the Festival, even a Western, The Ballad Of Lefty Brown. There’s a musical, Stuck, a war movie set in Iraq and co-starring Toni Colette, The Yellow Birds, a black comedy horror pic with Nic Cage, Mom And Dad, a lesbian love story with the lovers on either side of the death penalty debate, My Days Of Mercy, a couple of true stories, RBG (actually a doco) and 55 Steps, a coming of age film, I Kill Giants, and numerous other dramas. The other documentaries all focus on different musical genres, covering folk (American Folk), gospel (How They Got Over) and R’n’B (Wattstax), the latter being the Golden Globe-nominated classic from 1973.
‘Postcards from LA’ focuses on life in that Californian metropolis and home of Hollywood, Los Angeles, and includes Polanski’s Chinatown, a 4K restoration of Michael Mann’s Heat, Hal Ashby’s Warren Beatty starrer Shampoo and an African-American double, Charles Burnett’s Killer Of Sheep and the aforementioned Wattstax.
Lovers of American film and, indeed, lovers of cinema will find plenty to enjoy in this Festival, full details of which can be found here.