The pre-film settling took ages (always does when there is a red carpet). The pre-film speeches took longer. Notable mentions Claire (festival director) wore orange and pink (and looked great) and NSW Film and Television is being renamed Screen NSW.
Now to the important part - the film
The film opening knocks you to attention and then succeeds in wrenching your heart (to near tears) all before the opening credits. Yes, I am watching a Ken Loach film! The film follows a down on his luck Postman (Eric) who is trying to live with two (very ungrateful) teenage sons. His daughter's need for a baby sitter brings him into contact with the ex-wife he abandoned years ago.
Loach creates real, flawed characters who you can actually feel for then introduces Eric Cantona as an Imaginary friend, figment of Eric's mind who coaches him through his current life woes, in equal parts consoling, cajoling and confronting. The film is both emotional and incredibly funny. Many moments of spontaneous pure laugh absurdity and reality ensue.
Cantona's charisma is palpable and Steve Evets brilliantly renders the lead character. Whilst the film asks you to suspend your disbelief you happily follow along as this ride is emotional and thoroughly enjoyable.
For the football fans there is enough footage of Cantona's greatness (and the odd recitation), for the non-football fans the film has delights aplenty.
A fantastic start to the festival.