Enjoy a delightful summer of outdoor cinema at UWA’s Somerville

The beautiful outdoor cinema at UWA Somerville Photo Jessica Wyld

Summer ushers in another season of Lotterywest Films which brings the people of Perth some of the best in world cinema under the stars at UWA Somerville.

To make the special experience beneath UWA Somerville’s famous Norfolk pines even better, there are more seating options, complete with comfy Lotterywest cushions, tasty new food offerings and better access at Perth’s most picturesque picture garden.

Of course, there is also a fresh selection of award-winning films to entertain, enthral, excite and inspire for the next 19 weeks of outdoor cinematic bliss. Sit back, relax and embark on a voyage across the globe with films from France, Spain, New Zealand, Morocco and Belgium.

Share your evenings with Antonio Banderas, Bill Murray, Fanny Ardant, Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson and other stars of the screen in a season of romance, adventure, thrillers, inspiring docos, politically charged drama, feel-good family tales and even a zombie comedy.

Life meets art for the season opener from tonight as superstars Antonio Banderas (Best Actor, 2019 Cannes) and Penelope Cruz align for legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s sensuous semi-autobiographical drama Pain and Glory.

It’s followed by Jim Jarmusch’s sardonic comedy The Dead Don’t Die, starring Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Tom Waits, Chloë Sevigny and Iggy Pop among the greatest zombie cast ever disassembled.

Other acclaimed films on the way include the sumptuous French 18th century period drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019 Cannes Best Screenplay), Cinefest Oz Film Prize winner H is for Happiness, visionary filmmaker Robert Eggers’s gothic thriller The Lighthouse, starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, and the must-see Australian documentary In My Blood it Runs.

Lotterywest Films Program Manager Tom Vincent says, ‘For me cinema is and always will be about connection, collaboration and meeting.’

‘It offers the potential to spark change, whether through reflection on a ‘newsworthy’ topic, an emotional catharsis, or the simple act of meeting an old pal for a movie and a pizza. In selecting these films I hope I’ve done that idea justice. See you in summer!’

Lotterywest Chief Executive Officer Susan Hunt says, ‘Perth Festival’s Lotterywest Films showcase some of the world’s best films and enjoying the films in the beautiful gardens at the University of Western Australia is a very special experience.


Pain and Glory (Spain) 

Pedro Almodovar directs 2019 Cannes actor prizewinner Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz in his most personal film yet. An ailing filmmaker approaching the end of his career reunites with his estranged star and is transported to luscious memories of his past. Almodovar is a master of sensuous cinema and here he turns his wry gaze onto himself. Light, lovely and velvet smooth, Pain and Glory is a gorgeous reflection on cinema, art, family, love and sexual awakening.

‘A film about pleasure, which is itself a pleasure: witty, intelligent and sensuous.’ – The Guardian

The Dead Don’t Die (USA) 

In this deadpan comedy, an environmental crime has tilted the earth from its axis, causing the dead to rise up. These stumbling undead don’t crave human flesh so much as – WiFi, coffee and chardonnay. The king of indie cool, Jim Jarmusch, twists the immortal zombie genre into new shapes in this sardonic caper, taking timely swipes at Trump-era middle America along the way.

 ‘An exuberantly imaginative comedy that’s also fervently, vehemently, bitterly political.’ – The New Yorker

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France) 

In 1770, before female artists were acknowledged, painter Marianna is commissioned to make an engagement portrait of Heloise who, in resistance of the marriage, refuses to pose. To do her job Marianna must watch Heloise in secret and then paint at night from her memories. Looking, and being looked at, Marianna and Heloise slowly begin to form a sensual bond. Written and directed by Céline Sciamma (Best Screenplay, Cannes 2019), Portrait of a Lady on Fire depicts with brilliant insight how the world can look different through a woman’s eyes. 

‘A masterpiece. A devastatingly unforgettable story of love and memory.’ – Indiewire

The Peanut Butter Falcon (USA) 

In this sweet, soulful adventure, a young man with Down syndrome runs away from a residential nursing home to chase his dream of becoming a pro wrestler. A strange turn of events sees him hook up with small-time outlaw on the run and the unlikely duo travel down the North Carolina coast eluding capture, catching fish, drinking whisky and finding God. Shia LeBeouf and newcomer Zack Gottsager have a wonderful chemistry in this laconic southern-fried buddy movie.

‘An odyssey audiences won’t soon forget.’ – Variety

The Biggest Little Farm (USA) 

Professional couple Molly and John Chester (and their rescue dog Todd) trade smog-filled LA city life for 87 acres of barren farmland and an idealistic dream. Where do they start their mammoth project to return to life to the land and create their little slice of paradise? With breathtaking cinematography and lovable animal characters, this beautiful documentary show us eight years of lightbulb moments, and one of the most abundantly inspiring projects on earth.

‘This movie may revive your wonder at the weird but ultimately awe-inspiring ways in which humans can help nature do its work.’ – The New York Times

H is for Happiness (Australia) 

H is for Happiness is the gladsome and honest story of the always upbeat 12-year-old Candice Phee and her determination to bring her family back from the brinks and spark happiness in their lives. Based on the award-winning young adult novel My Life As An Alphabet, and shot with plenty of spark and colour in Albany, this feature debut from acclaimed stage director John Sheedy (Storm Boy, The Rabbits) captures the hope and occasional toughness of a Western Australian childhood.

La Belle Époque (France) 

When old-fashioned, aging cartoonist Victor is kicked out by his technology-loving vivacious wife Marianne, he approaches Time Travellers. This high-end service can grant you the chance to play the lead role in any point in history, with full cast and costume on an authentic set. Feeling unloved and nostalgic, Victor know precisely what (and when) he yearns for – a dowdy café in 1974 at the exact place and time he first met Marianne. Crammed with charm, wit and ideas by director Nicolas Bedos, La Belle Époque is a movie to remember with a charismatic cast led by Daniel Auteuil, Fanny Ardant, Guillaume Canet.

‘A sweet, inventive romantic-comedy crowd-pleaser that deftly balances hearty laughs and heartwarming emotion.’ – Screen International

Bellbird (NZ) 

In the rolling hills of Northland New Zealand, painfully shy dairy farmer Ross has made a happy life thanks to the unstinting love of his wife Beth. But when she dies suddenly and Ross is left alone, it falls to his equally tongue-tied, reluctant son Bruce to muck in to keep the farm afloat – with a little help from their small rural community. Beneath the exterior of strong and silent men, big emotions rumble deeply in this distinctive, moving and laconically funny Kiwi film from Hamish Bennett.

‘An understated drama with an open heart and a lithe sense of humour.’ – Screen Daily

Venice Calling (France) 

Daggy as hell but forever upbeat, Benard and Annie Chamodot are parents to Emile, a gawky 15-year-old who can’t take much more of Dad’s ultra-lame antics, Mum dying his hair or their majorly embarrassing spendthrift ways. When a wealthy classmate he’s keen on invites him to a concert in Venice, Ma and Pa insist on tagging along. Boasting another scene-stealing performance from Benoit Poelvoorde (Sink or Swim), Venice Calling is a comedy for anyone who’s been or had an over-keen parent or who remembers getting too old for crap family holidays. 

‘As charming as its chaotic family.’ – Spielfilm

Les Misérables (France) 

This 2019 Cannes Jury Prize winner crackles with revolutionary fervour. In the Paris suburb of Montfermeil where Victor Hugo set the original Les Misérables, conscience-laden police officer Stéphane is dismayed at his team’s methods. In the neighbourhood, tensions between rival community leaders may be coming to a head, and when a kid accidentally films some heavy-handed policing Stéphane tries desperately to mediate, to avert a brewing riot. As well as being marvellously exciting, director Ladj Ly’s debut feature is sensitive and sympathetic. One of the year’s most essential French films. 

‘A gritty and fiery urban thriller underscored by scathing social commentary on the current state of the Paris suburbs.’ – Hollywood Reporter

The Lighthouse (USA) 

From visionary filmmaker Robert Eggers comes the hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two Victorian-era lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) stuck together on a jagged windswept island. The grizzled, demonic older man provides his junior little training or guidance with his flinty banter and their increasingly drunken meals. As these sea dogs’ grog runs low and phantom begins to beset the island this deliciously gothic thriller becomes ever-more distinctive, compelling and wild. You have never seen a film quite like The Lighthouse. 

‘Funny, sinister, haunting, historically fascinating and mythical… one of the best films of the year.’ – The New York Times

In My Blood It Runs (Australia) 

Dujuan Hoosan is a curious ten-year-old Arrernte boy who speaks three languages, understands his Aboriginal culture, loves his country and the natural world, and seems to have a happy future as a traditional healer in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). As he struggles at a mainstream school not equipped to appreciate Indigenous knowledge and faces increasing scrutiny from welfare and police, his family battles to keep him safe, grounded in language, culture and identity. Thoughtful, passionate and deeply illuminating, Maya Newell’s essential new documentary is a must for all who care about the Australia’s shared future.

‘A wholly original and impactful look at growing up Indigenous in Australia today.’ – The Gate

Pacificado (Brazil) 

In the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games young Tati anticipates meeting her father Jaca for the first time. It is a time of tentative peace in the city, with the government trying to calm the favela neighbourhoods by shooing crime out of sight. When Jaca emerges from jail the equilibrium shifts – neighbours and family want his attention and influence, but he just wants to live quietly and cook. A multiple prize-winner, including Best Film at the San Sebastián Film Festival, Pacificado brings nuance and sympathy to a notorious media talking point. 

‘A quietly powerful drama.’ THE ARTS DESK

Adam (Morroco) 

Alba is busily running a modest bakery from her home in Casablanca where she lives alone with her eight-year-old daughter. One chilling evening she sees a young pregnant outcast looking for temporary work. She begrudgingly takes the younger woman in, never imaging her life will change forever. Under one roof this unlikely pair of women, both of whom have strong feelings that they cannot express, begin to help one another. Adam is a moving, delicate tale of female friendship from first-time feature director Maryam Touzani. 

‘A beautifully made, character-driven little gem.’ – Variety

If Only (Italy) 

Three children raised in Paris by their devoutly religious mother and Russian stepfather are packed off to Italy to visit a father they seldom see. A self-absorbed filmmaker, the father promises a skiing trip but instead takes them to a shabby, borrowed cottage on a windswept coast. Here he spends his time with his time with his supposed co-writer (really his latest girlfriend) while the children are left to their own devices. Accomplished producer and first-time feature director Ginevra Elkann draws on her own childhood for this gentle and honest exploration of a dysfunctional family. 

‘A gentle, cool breeze of a memory piece.’ – Variety

Young Ahmed (Belgium) 

Until recently, Ahmed was happily playing video games, content at home and at the local mosque. Now, under the influence of an Iman who preaches an angry distortion of Islam, Ahmed has become radicalised, much to the alarm of the women in his life. Taut as the finest thriller but infused with piercing social insight, this is one of the best films from directing duo the Dardenne brothers (The Kid With a Bike).

‘A wise and sensitive contribution to a timely debate.’ – Time Out London

Photograph (India) 

Every day in Mumbai tourists throng to the Gateway of India landmark to take selfies. Among them, street photographer Rafi ekes out a modest living selling his professional snaps. At home he’s forever hassled by his formidable grandmother to finally marry, so one day he passes off a photo of passer-by Miloni as that of his fiancée. But then Grandma plans a visit to meet Rafi’s apparent new bride-to- be. Like director Ritesh Batra’s previous hit The Lunchbox, Photograph is a charming and beautifully made portrait of Indian romantic and family lives. Some of Indian cinema’s most popular actors star in this heart-warming and comical snapshot of life in contemporary Mumbai.

‘A tender portrait of alienation in a metropolis.’ THE TIMES (UK)

Master Cheng (Finland) 

At her remote rural Finnish diner Sirkka has been serving up the same good old sausage and beer fare since forever, and her handful of huntsmen regulars never seem to want much else. One day a Chinese patron named Cheng arrives with his young son in tow. Cheng is searching for something called ‘Fongtron’ – though as no-one is sure what that is, they can’t help him much. As it turns out, Cheng was a top chef in Shanghai and soon Sirkka’s Diner gets a radical revamp. Foodie fun with a yearning undertow, served with a Scandinavian half-smile. 

The full Lotterywest film program is available at www.perthfestival.com.au/categories/film/