FRANCES FERGUSON – Review by Sarah Ward

There’s nothing inherently funny about Frances Ferguson’s central concept: an affair between a teacher and a high-school student that scandalizes a small Nebraska town. But, as told from the eponymous educator’s perspective, there’s something intriguing about Bob Byington’s latest darkly comic film — which uses its premise to chart a self-sabotaging quest of considerable proportions.

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BEATS – Review by Sarah Ward

Before Beats splashes a single image across the screen, this energetic, perceptive and bittersweet ‘90s-set Scottish drama establishes its mood and vibe in a pitch-perfect way. First, viewers hear the play button being pressed on a cassette deck. Then, the thumping introduction to Ultra-Sonic’s ‘Annihilating Rhythm Part 1’ pumps through the speakers, instantly proving as infectious as it always has to dance floors filled with ravers for decades.

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SUZI Q – Review by Sarah Ward

Australia-based filmmaker Liam Firmager chronicles Suzi Quatro’s life with a wealth of archival clips from her girl band beginnings to Happy Days and on camera commentaries by a roster of star rockers, but what makes Suzi Qso special is Quatro’s frequent presence in present-day on-camera interviews. Quatro on Quatro is always something special.

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DADDY ISSUES – Review by Sarah Ward

Henrietta and her friends grapple with the vast chasm between hopes and reality — and, weathering that gap day by day, making poor decisions they’ll eventually learn from. There’s an air of every finding-yourself comedy about twentysomethings tussling with maturity, and every romantic comedy about not always seeing what’s right in front of you.

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Sydney FF 20 : A YEAR FULL OF DRAMA – Review by Sarah Ward

Marta Pulk’s A Year Full of Drama, documenting a year in a young theater critic’s life, embraces an idea that’s as basic as not judging a book by its cover, but just as often ignored: that, while engaging in art is a universal experience that can evoke shared overall responses, everyone still interacts with everything they consume in an individualistic manner.

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