24th Athens International Film Festival

Focus on Australia - Filming in No Man's Land

From "Mad Max's" post-apocalyptic extravaganza all the way to Ted Kotcheff's forgotten masterpiece "Wake in Fright" (a digitally remastered print features in the Special Screenings Section) and from Peter Weir's weighty legacy to David Michôd's kiss of life ("Animal Kingdom"), Australian cinema was always a small but well-hidden oasis for subversive cinema lovers.

Back in 1996, on the occasion of the 2nd Opening Nights' "New Australian Cinema" tribute, festival founder Giorgos Tziotzios had called the Australian homegrown scene one of the "most fertile and creative on the planet."

Almost two decades later, faced with another exceptional movie crop from this faraway land, we decided to include the best specimens in a stand-alone tribute under the title "Focus on Australia".

Get ready to discover Hugh Sullivan's ingenious rom com "The Infinite Man", Sophie Hyde's "52 Tuesdays", winner of the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Angus Sampson and Tony Mahony's pitch black comedy "The Mule" and Jennifer Kent's "The Babadook", a post-midnight gem that shone throughout festivals worldwide.

The tribute couldn't possibly be complete without a handful of experienced filmmakers that are back with new work, like Zak Hilditch's "These Final Hours" that chronicles a young man's last few moments in a Perth suburb, shortly before the end of the world. Last, but not least, "Focus on Australia" is proud to include "The Rover", David Michôd's highly anticipated return, hailed as one of the most important films of the year after its Cannes debut.

It's plain to see that New Australian Cinema is making its presence felt and Opening Nights simply had to share the joy of discovery of such bright young talent with its faithful Athenian audience.

Kostis Theodosopoulos


      The Rover

      The Rover

      With a clear nod to George Miller's "Mad Max" trilogy and a cinéma vérité approach, David Michôd has every reason to celebrate his return to active duty after his brilliant debut ("Animal Kingdom") in 2010.

      These Final Hours

      These Final Hours

      In Zak Hilditch's post-apocalyptic drama, which screened at the Directors' Fortnight in the last Cannes Film Festival, Australia has only 12 hours left before it's wiped off the face of the earth. On the last day of their lives, James finds out that Zoe is pregnant. Only problem is, Zoe is "the other woman" and James has agreed to meet his official girlfriend at a wild party filled with drugs, group sex and rock'n'roll, where they will while away their final hours.

      52 Tuesdays

      52 Tuesdays

      When her mother decides to undergo a sex change, 16-year-old Billie has to deal with the shocking news, along with the fact that she will have to move back with her father for the entire year it takes to complete the process. She accepts reluctantly, as long as she gets to see her mother every Tuesday.

      The Infinite Man

      The Infinite Man

      Somewhere between "Groundhog Day" and "Return to the Future", Hugh Sullivan's debut is the most ingenious rom com of the year, putting a welcome spin on a tired genre with an equally hilarious and sophisticated take on science fiction.

      The Mule

      The Mule

      One more film from Australia, a country that has demonstrated a very impressive film production this year, combining quality with variety.