Sydney Times



Written by Aksel Ritenis


The Bookshop is the story of a woman who decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop and in doing so she creates a cultural awakening. The lively period drama set in a small town in 1959 England will kick off the Apia Young at Heart Film Festival this April. With 16 films scheduled across 11 venues in 5 cities, the Apia Young at Heart Film Festival is dedicated to seniors, but the curated program will appeal to discerning film lovers of all ages. This year, early evening sessions have been added to the schedule, making the festival even more accessible for everyone.

Highly anticipated festival favourites include:

On Chesil Beach in which Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) and Billy Howle star as Florence and Edward,  a young couple on their honeymoon at the English seaside that struggle to physically connect – a sensitive adaptation of Ian McEwan’s acclaimed novel of the same name.

The Last Flag Flying, an American comedy-drama directed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood, 2014) and based on the 2005 novel by Darryl Ponicsan. It stars Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne as three Vietnam War veterans who reunite after one of their sons is killed in the Iraq War.

Chappaquiddick, a tense, scrupulous and authentic piece of history about Ted Kennedy’s life and political career after the fatal car accident in 1969 that claimed the life of Mary Jo Kopechne.

LBJ sees Woody Harrelson stepping into Lyndon B. Johnson’s boots beside Jennifer Jason Leigh’s role as Johnson’s wife, Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson, in Rob Reiner’s political biopic, which centres on the U.S. President’s early political career and presidential term at the White House.

Foreign language films give the program spice and breadth: Nominated for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, Return to Montauk follows author Max Zorn (Stellan follows author Max Zorn (Stellan Skarsgård) on a book tour to New York where he meets up again with the woman he could never forget (Nina Hoss).

Director Hugo Gélin’s bona fide crowd-pleaser Two is a Family, became the most popular French-language film worldwide in 2017.

Also from France, Aurore, a drama directed by Blandine Lenoir, stars Agnès Jaoui as Aurore, a 50-year-old, recently divorced, unemployed and soon-to be grandmother. With the grace and economy of a satisfying novella, The Desert Bride handles complex themes with maturity, and affectingly delivers further proof that Spaniard Paulina García is one of the most remarkable actresses in world cinema.

And Swinger, an ensemble Danish comedy following a group of couples on their annual swinger’s weekend trip, when a new arrival shakes things up.

Documentaries about musicians, artists and first time swimmers give the program depth and different perspectives:

The Guy from Oklahoma is the vibrant story of American visionary artist Anado McLauchlin. Born in Oklahoma, his tumultuous life took him to San Francisco, New York and India before finally settling down and opening up a gallery and sculpture garden in the outskirts of a Mexican village.

Sea Dreaming Girls follows a group of elderly women who live in a tiny Italian mountain village and decide to go to the sea for the first time.

And Gurrumul – the definitive portrait of one of Australia’s greatest musicians, Gurrumul is a beautiful celebration of his life and career.

The festival will also feature a specially curated retrospective on LEADING LADIES where audiences can re-live the greats on the big screen:

Bette Davis in All About Eve, Judy Garland in A Star Is Born and Dame Maggie Smith in The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie.


THE APIA YOUNG AT HEART FILM FESTIVAL Presented by Palace Cinemas The Apia Young at Heart Film Festival returns this April to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide with a specially curated selection of dramas, comedies, documentaries and retrospective titles. Presented by Palace Cinemas, the festival caters specifically to film lovers over 60 years of age.

Tickets are now on sale via and participating cinemas.

Sydney: April 2 – 11, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona & Palace Central

Canberra: April 2 – 11, Palace Electric Cinema Adelaide: April 2 – 11, Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas & Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas

Melbourne: April 17 – 25, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay & Palace Cinema Como

Brisbane: April 17 – 25, Palace Centro & Palace Barracks

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Publisher and Custodian of the Sydney Times

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