The Breaker Upperers @Sydney Film Festival

I’ve never been to the Sydney Film Festival before. Whether it was timing, or funds, or simply forgetting that it was on. I’ve made all the excuses in the past. This year though I made it a mission of mine to attend, and not only just attend but make a point of seeing female directed films only.

The festival runs from the 6th – 17th of June and across this week I am seeing 4 films directed by a variety of women. I began my festival with The Breaker Upperers from New Zealand comedy duo Madeleine Sami and Jackie Van Beek who both wrote, directed, and starred in the film.

What struck me straight away about this movie was its true New Zealand comedy style. Something, I think, that has been made more common recently by the work of Taika Waititi (Thor:Ragnarok, Hunt For The Wilderpeople), who also executive produced the film. And this meant that there was no shortage of laughs all the way through.


And whilst there were no doubts that this was a comedy; the word serious never crossing my mind, the film actually had some new and interesting things to say about relationships.

The film’s plot focuses on two women who start a company breaking couples up for money. This leads to moral dilemmas, a breaking down of their own friendship, and a cross examination of what love really is. There is an exquisite cast who all work to make the things explored both ridiculous but realistic and, to be honest, it was just nice to see a film that told a different kind of story.

These are women that we haven’t seen on screen normally. They are older, being 36 and 42, one is a bisexual, and there is even an instance of a 17 year age gap relationship. All things I have never seen explored properly in a film before. And yes I will reiterate this is a comedy and none of it is taken seriously, but it still somehow feels closer to reality than anything I have seen tackle similar issues before.

I thoroughly enjoyed the light hearted ride that The Breaker Upperers took me on and whilst the film probably wouldn’t pass the bechdel test it was wholeheartedly a film about women, by women.


Coming later this week I have my thoughts of Half The Picture, which was an enlightening cinema experience, and also notes from a panel of the same name I attended shortly after seeing the film.

If you are in the area and want to check out some Sydney Film Festival films you can do so via the website here.



Twitter: @WomensDirection


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