YOUNG AT HEART, the only film festival in the world catering to film lovers over 60 years of age, will open at Palace Centro Cinema this Thursday.

Festival Ambassador Lynette Curran who began her film and television career in the 60s, says:- “I love Lion in Winter. I saw it as a student of drama and that’s a long time ago. It was Anthony Hopkins first film and Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn are superb. I have seen and recommended Sophie and the Rising Sun. Set in the deep South just before World War Two, it reminded me of Japanese Story. A film I was a part of. The Bill Nighy one Their Finest would be a great giggle and the Aussie doco Whiteley I am looking forward to.”

This year’s specially curated line-up includes the sweeping period drama; Viceroy’s House, the London romance for book-lovers and gardeners alike; This Beautiful Fantastic, the rousing comedy starring Bill Nighy;Their Finest, and the Australian premiere of Whiteley, a documentary on the Australian modern artist Brett Whiteley.

Joining the Young at Heart program is LOOKING FOR EL CAMINO, a moving documentary about the physically and emotionally gruelling journey many travellers make – in search of enlightenment or a fresh perspective on life – along the El Camino de Santiago. Featuring a score by English composer Richard Melkonian, the film captures the remarkable beauty of North-Western Spain, where what was formerly a religious pilgrimage has become a cycling and trekking experience for hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Simon Aboud delivers a contemporary fairytale in the coming of age film THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC. In a dreamy spot in central London, Bella Brown (Jessica Brown Findlay, Downton Abbey) fantasises about writing and illustrating a successful children’s book. When forced by her landlord to deal with her neglected garden or face eviction, she meets her ultimate match in miserable green-thumb, Alfie (Tom Wilkinson, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).

NERUDA is the audacious and grandly entertaining film from multi-award winning director Pablo Larraín (Jackie). A lavishly-mounted reimagining of the Nobel Prize-winning poet’s pursuit into political exile, the film is set in Cold War era Chile where Neruda (Luis Gnecco) accuses the government of betraying the Communist Party, and finds himself on the run from bumbling police prefect Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal).

Set against the backdrop of WWII, SOPHIE AND THE RISING SUN tells the dramatic story of interracial lovers swept up in the tides of history. An injured first-generation Japanese-American man (Takashi Yamaguchi) shows up unexpectedly in a small town, where he is cared for by a local townswoman (Julianne Nicholson). But the local community, driven by fear, reacts with unrelenting suspicion.

Lone Scherfig (An Education) returns with the comedy-drama THEIR FINEST, set during the Blitz of London in World War II. A young screenwriter Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) is charged with bringing a female perspective to morale-boosting war films made by the British Ministry of Information’s Film Division. Overflowing with witty banter and period detail, the film also stars Bill Nighy, Sam Claflin, Jake Lacy, Richard E. Grant, and Jeremy Irons.

The Young at Heart program will also feature 4K restoration screenings of two classic films:

THE TALES OF HOFFMANN (1951) is Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s impressive reinterpretation of the 1881 opera by Jacques Offenbach. Combining the best film, music and dance performers of its time, the 4K restoration features never-seen-before footage. Featuring Robert Rounseville in the title role of Hoffmann, a storyteller beyond compare, the film blends ballet and opera to great effect, showcasing the talents of legendary dancer and actor Moira Shearer.

THE THIRD MAN (1949) is the story of a Pulp novelist who visits Vienna, where he discovers that an old friend has died in puzzling circumstances. The film-noir classic is anchored by sterling performances from Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles and striking Oscar-winning cinematography from Robert Krasker. Demanding to be seen on the big screen, the 4K restoration is regarded by the British Film Institute as the Best British Film of the 20th Century.

Capping off the huge Young at Heart line-up are five previously announced titles. Catch the Australian premieres of VICEROY’S HOUSE and WHITELEY, the moving father-son drama TOMMY’S HONOUR, Jim Sheridan’s latest film THE SECRET SCRIPTURE, and a retrospective screening of THE LION IN WINTER, starring Katharine Hepburn in one of her Oscar-winning performances.

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