Perth’s favourite outdoor cinema UWA Somerville lights up for a stellar new season

Sitting under the stars as you watch the latest films from around the world, nestled within the pine trees and surrounded by good company – it’s no surprise that Lotterywest Films at UWA Somerville was recently named one of Time Out’s Top 40 outdoor cinemas in the world.

This year’s program for Perth Festival will have you laughing, crying, questioning, raging and swooning as you discover stories from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, USA, UK, Australia – including the Australian premiere of a stunning, star-studded film made right here in WA.

Image: Richard Bell stars in You Can Go Now

Opening on Monday 21 November, Lotterywest Films spans 19 films across an incredible variety of feature films and documentaries.

“When we look to the stars, we can’t help but be reminded of time’,” Perth Festival Film Program Associate Tom Vincent says. “It’s my job to make a film selection that at once honours three facets of time: the heritage of Godroo/Somerville as a place for stories, the many possible futures of the wonderful city that we share, and the ‘here and now’ of Festival 2023,” says Vincent.

Our season opens with the Australian premiere of a classically Western Australian story in Blueback, directed by Robert Connolly and adapted from Tim Winton’s acclaimed book and evoking the natural beauty of the South Coast, Blueback is a potent and moving tale of family, friendship and the power all of us have to make a difference. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, llsa Fogg, Radha Mitchell and Eric Bana. The blue carpet will roll out on Opening Night to welcome some of the film’s cast, crew and creatives.

This year we’re excited to feature nine films directed by, or co-directed by women, with a strong presence throughout the program of female-led and feminist narratives. Corsage is a lushly decorated costume drama from Austrian writer-director Marie Kreutzer, starring the ever- charismatic Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread). Whilst French films Feminist Riposte – a fiercely unifying documentary – and Other People’s Children – a heartfelt and nuanced drama – dive into the conflicts, passions and struggles women face in modern French society.

All three Best Film winners from the international festival competitions – Cannes, Berlin and Venice – feature within the program. The wildly entertaining Triangle of Sadness (from satirical auteur Ruben Östlund) is sharp look at the downfall of the uber-rich and influential, taking home this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or. The beautifully observed Alcarràs follows a Catalonian family over one summer as they face eviction from their peach orchard – an emotional but joyful depiction of family survival from Carla Simón, winning the Golden Bear at Berlin. Whilst All The Beauty and the Bloodshed from Academy Award winner Laura Poitras, explores the activism and impact of renowned photographer Nan Goldin around the opioid crisis, which won the Venice Golden Lion.

Image: Woody Harrelson is The Captain in Triangle of Sadness

This year’s line-up also includes five documentaries, reflecting Perth’s enthusiasm for consuming captivating true-life stories at Somerville. In The Giants, we explore the life and inspiring legacy of ex-politician Bob Brown, whilst the mature-age school student imposter in the utterly original My Old School (featuring Alan Cumming) will have you gasping in your seat. In You Can Go Now, filmmaker Larissa Behrendt explores the extraordinary life and journey of First Nations artist Richard Bell, from a childhood in a rural Queensland to the lofty halls of the Tate Modern.

Three South Korean films showcase the high quality and impressive range of storytelling coming from the nation’s filmmakers. Davy Chou’s moving Return to Seoul is filled with moments of humour and deep emotion as a young, adopted French woman travels back to Seoul to probe her Korean roots. Bittersweet and beautiful, Broker is the emotional follow-up to 2018’s Shoplifters from director Hirokazu Kore-eda, starring Song Kang-ho (Parasite) and K-pop royalty IU. Whilst psychological thriller Decision to Leave is the latest feature from filmmaker Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden, Old Boy), once again bringing a sensual and striking narrative to the big screen.

Comedies shine bright this season with the incredibly delightful and hilarious Everybody Loves Jeanne, a witty and chaotic anti-rom-com that combines hand-drawn animation with live action. Equally as wonderful and witty is the Indian-American driven 7 Days, exploring the surprise companionship that can come from the most un-romantic and pragmatic of circumstances – a pandemic lockdown.

The program also shines a light on evocative films from many corners of the filmmaking world, including Denmark/Iceland with the historical epic Godland, the mesmerising and heartfelt The Blue Caftan (Morocco), the life-affirming Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan), and Belgium’s Close – the devastating coming-of-age drama that took home the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Image: Lunana: A Yak in the Classoom

Every night we’re also showing one of Belgian artist Francis Alÿs’ beautiful, globe-trotting films from his Children’s Games series before our feature. After the 19-week regular season, we’ll have an encore week of some of your favourite films from the season.

Lotterywest Chief Executive Ralph Addis said: ‘We’ve had the honour of supporting the Perth Festival for over 30 years. An integral part of Perth Festival, Lotterywest Films gives West Aussies the chance to enjoy the best films from around the world in one of Perth’s most beautiful outdoor cinemas.

“It’s thanks to our WA Lotto players that we’re able to support events that connect the community through the arts,” Mr Addis said.

Lotterywest Films runs from Monday 21 November 2022 – Sunday 9 April 2023 as part of Perth Festival 2023. Tickets available online now.

Perth Festival runs 10 February – 5 March February 2023, full program available at: