Films by Title

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24 City

Er shi si cheng ji

Jia Zhang-ke

Jia Zhang-ke’s (The World, Still Life) doco about a Chengdu military factory becoming a luxury apartment block. “Eloquent testimony to a China that is vanishing with each swing of the wrecking ball.” — Time

35 Shots of Rum

35 rhums

Claire Denis

This subtle, intimate portrait of the easygoing bond between a young woman and her widower father (Alex Descas) is the latest from Claire Denis (Beau Travail). With Grégoire Colin. Music by Tindersticks.

A

Adventureland

Greg Mottola

“The director of Superbad grows up with an engaging movie about young love, crappy amusement parks and the listless days of summer.” — Salon.com. With Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds. Great 80s soundtrack.

Afghan Star

Havana Marking

Pop culture returns to Afghanistan after 30 years of Taliban rule. Though the old-guard elites vehemently oppose it, millions tune in weekly to Tolo TV’s jubilantly groovy Afghan Star. “Fantastic.” — Oprah Winfrey

The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector

Vikram Jayanti

Riveting interview with pop genius/convicted killer. “A hell of an exclusive… a synthesis of a psychological profile, a critical history and a candid, surprising interview.” — The Times

All Tomorrow's Parties

All Tomorrow's People, Jonathan Caouette

Celebrate ten years of the alternative music festival All Tomorrow’s Parties with Sonic Youth, Portishead, Nick Cave, Iggy and the Stooges, Patti Smith, Animal Collective, Daniel Johnston, and many many more.

Animation for Kids 2009

Selected by kids for kids, our annual panorama of the world’s best animated shorts for the Festival’s youngest audience (we suggest 3–7 this year) has plenty to offer their grown-up escort parties.

Animation Now! 2009

Narrowed down from an amazing 2000+ entries, this year’s survey of the best in animated short films covers the gamut from sumptuous painterly Russian styles to the most inventive and expressive CGI, including NZ-made Poppy.

Antichrist

Lars von Trier

Appalling many, thrilling others, outraging all, hailed as a brilliantly hellish vision, dismissed as a stunt, Lars Von Trier’s psychosexual horror film was the one that dominated the headlines from Cannes.

The Artist’s Life

La Vie d’artiste

Marc Fitoussi

A writer, an actor and a would-be chanteuse pursue elusive glory in this wise and worldly comedy of artistic aspiration. With Sandrine Kiberlain, Emilie Dequenne, Denis Podalydès

B

The Baader Meinhof Complex

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

Uli Edel

The major German film of the year. This vivid, provocative thriller traces the activities of the violent group of self-styled anti-fascists who called themselves the Red Army Faction and terrorised West Germany.

Balibo

Robert Connolly

Five zealous young journos, one of them a Kiwi, ignored every warning and kept their cameras rolling as the Indonesians invaded East Timor in 1975. This intense new political thriller tells why they were silenced.

The Beaches of Agnès

Les Plages d'Agnès

Agnès Varda

Humorous and illuminating autobiography from Agnès Varda, the lone female among French New Wave directors. “Inspiring… this film should be given to all young hopeful filmmakers.” — Sight & Sound

Before Tomorrow

Le Jour avant le lendemain

Madeline Ivalu, Marie-Hélène Cousineau

“An Inuit boy and his beloved grandmother struggle to survive the Arctic wilderness… a profound, elemental and hauntingly beautiful period drama that makes an intimate story of endurance into a metaphor for an entire culture.” — Variety

Best Worst Movie

Michael Paul Stephenson

Michael Paul Stephenson, the child lead in 1989’s Troll 2, allegedly the World’s Worst Movie, turns director. He reassembles the key perpetrators and checks out the cult phenomenon this laughably beserk troll-free film has become.

Big River Man

John Maringouin

Marathon swimmer Martin Strel, attributing his endurance to a diet of horse burgers and alcohol, takes on the Amazon. “[Strel has] so much personality it’s a wonder he fits on the screen.” — NY Times

Birdsong

El cant dels ocells

Albert Serra

This radical, hypnotically minimalist and absolutely reverential take on the story of the Three Kings will be introduced by its Catalan director Albert Serra. “Poetic, comic and beautiful.” — Now

Birdwatchers

La terra degli uomini rossi

Marco Bechis

The perilous status of the indigenous Guaranis of Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul is revealed to the world in this vividly pictorial environmental/land rights thriller. “Brilliant and subtle.” — Herald Tribune

The Black Pirate

Albert Parker

The movies’ original, quintessential daredevil megastar and gallant rogue, Douglas Fairbanks, storms the high seas in this 20s action comedy classic. Visiting UK piano maestro Neil Brand matches his every move.

Blind Loves

Slepe lásky

Juraj Lehotský

This playful, beguilingly mind-expanding doco investigates how differently love and happiness are experienced by its four engaging subjects who were all born blind. “Ingenious, touching and delightfully odd.” — Eye Weekly

A Blooming Business

Ton van Zantvoort

A Dutch filmmaker risked his life to make this punchy and disconcertingly beautiful doco exposing exploitation and ecological disaster behind the Kenyan flower industry that supplies Europe with roses.

Bluebeard

Barbe bleue

Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat (An Old Mistress, Anatomy of Hell) slyly subverts the allure of the popular 17th-century fairytale about a gloomy nobleman with a penchant for murdering his disobedient wives.

Bright Star

Jane Campion

Bright Star tells the story of the love affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawne with a classical poise, exquisite craftsmanship and a piercing tenderness.” — Screendaily

Broken Embraces

Los abrazos rotos

Pedro Almodóvar

Direct from Cannes, Penélope Cruz stars in Pedro Almodóvar’s latest, an exuberant, stylish, richly enjoyable romantic drama of love and betrayal in a 90s movie set. “Pure moviegoing pleasure.” — The Guardian

C

The Camera on the Shore

Graeme Tuckett

Graeme Tuckett’s lavishly illustrated documentary-cum-tribute reviews the groundbreaking achievements of Barry Barclay and is constructed around a long revealing interview with the filmmaker.

Camino

Javier Fesser

Sensationally entertaining and entertainingly sensational, this Spanish multi-award winner is the boldest of cinematic assaults on Opus Dei and the first to match box office success with genuinely subversive intent.

The Cat and the Canary

Paul Leni

Beautifully restored print of Paul Leni's 1927 silent classic in which a young woman must spend the night alone in a creepy gothic mansion. Accompanied by the exhilarating score (with theremin) composed by Festival guest Neil Brand, conducted by US maestro Timothy Brock.

The Chaser

Chugyeogja

Hong-jin Na

In this utterly riveting, twisting, no-holds-barred thriller, an ex-cop turned pimp races against time to locate one of his girls after she’s kidnapped by a serial killer who’s been terrorising the streets of Seoul.

Che

Steven Soderbergh

Benicio Del Toro is riveting in Steven Soderbergh’s epic portrait of the revolutionary icon. “The finest film by an American director this year, a monumental achievement of astonishing audacity and ambition.” — Sight & Sound

A Christmas Tale

Un conte de Noël

Arnaud Desplechin

This gloriously sprawling drama of a fractious three-generational family Christmas abounds with character and wit. With Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric, Chiara Mastroianni. “Enchanting.” — Entertainment Weekly

Chuck Close

Marion Cajori

This portrait of the great New York portraitist, he of the giant photorealist heads, is an exemplary artist documentary. “If you are even remotely interested in the art world, this is a must-see.” — Time Out NY

Chéri

Stephen Frears

A stunning Michelle Pfeiffer reunites with Dangerous Liaisons director Stephen Frears to play a cynical courtesan in love with a younger man in this sumptuous Belle Epoque drama. With Rupert Friend, Kathy Bates.

Cléo from 5 to 7

Cléo de 5 à 7

Agnès Varda

Beautiful new print of the film that put the French New Wave’s Agnès Varda on the map. “Joyful, simple, daring and profound… Cléo is, for me, above all other films of the French New Wave.” — Salon.com

Coco before Chanel

Coco avant Chanel

Anne Fontaine

Audrey Tautou puts Amélie far behind her with a stunning interpretation of the headstrong, self-sufficient designer who revolutionised the way women dressed and saw themselves.

Coraline 3D

Henry Selick

Translated from the dark kid-lit of Neil Gaiman into the hand-made (computer enhanced) 3-D dreamscapes of Nightmare Before Christmas’ Henry Selick, Coraline is the year’s most richly imagined Hollywood thrill ride.

The Cove

Louie Psihoyos

As gripping as a D-day assault movie, this spectacular activist film by National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos follows US conservation group Oceanic Preservation as it exposes Japan’s dolphin trade.

D

Daytime Drinking

Natsul

Noh Young-seok

A humorous indie Korean road movie about a young man who drowns his unrequited love with soju (the notorious Korean rice wine) and staggers happily from one misunderstanding to the next.

Dead Snow

Død snø

Tommy Wirkola

Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola revives an obscure zombie movie footnote – Nazi Zombies – and lets them loose on a band of horny chicks and movie nerds trapped in the Arctic wilderness.

Departures

Okuribito

Yojiro Takita

Academy Award 2009: Best Foreign Film. In this beautifully performed character study an unemployed cellist finds fulfilment and a depth of human connection in the most unlikely profession.

Disgrace

Steve Jacobs

“An absorbing study of a man coming to terms with his emotional failings and a subtle portrait of post-Apartheid South Africa… a very faithful, hugely successful adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s Booker Prize winning novel.” — Film4.com

Dogtooth

Kynodontas

Yorgos Lanthimos

In this ferocious satire of insane, for-your-own-good Dad-power three 20-something ‘kids’ have been grounded their entire lives. “Intelligently witty, provocative, hilariously inventive, bitingly bitter.” — Cineuropa

Double Take

Johan Grimonprez

Video artist Johan Grimonprez has made a stimulating, highly entertaining mash-up of Hitchcock TV intros, 60s newsreel footage and instant coffee ads tracing the Cold War origins of catastrophe culture.

Drag Me to Hell

Sam Raimi

Sam Raimi, the super-8 horror nut who became a Hollywood titan (Spiderman 1,2,3) returns to his roots (Evil Dead 1,2,3) with a hellacious and hysterical chill-ride for Alison Lohman, a bank clerk with a PR deficit.

E

Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl

Singularidades de uma rapariga loura

Manoel de Oliveira

Cinema’s centenarian Manoel de Oliveira (born 1908) transposes a 19th-century tale of romantic pursuit to 21st-century Lisbon, retaining, to rich and strange effect, every anachronistic detail of courtship and social convention.

An Education

Lone Scherfig

Carey Mulligan’s enchanting performance in this early-60s getting-of-wisdom tale is one of the wonders of the year. Adapted by Nick Hornby from Lynn Barber’s memoir and directed by Lone Scherfig (Italian for Beginners).

Embodiment of Evil

Encarnação do demônio

José Mojica Marins

Like some deranged schizophrenic fusion of Romero, Jodorowsky, Lynch and a TV horror host, Brazilian legend José Mojica Marins directs and stars as Coffin Joe on a brutal, bloody quest to find the perfect woman.

Encounters at the End of the World

Werner Herzog

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Enjoy Poverty

Episode III – Enjoy Poverty

Renzo Martens

Enjoy Poverty investigates the trade-offs surrounding what director Renzo Martens, describes as “Africa’s most lucrative export: filmed poverty”. “Fearless, divisive, controversial, and necessary.” — Hot Docs

Everlasting Moments

Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick

Jan Troell

A century ago in Sweden a woman finds respite from her tough life in photography. “A rich, intensely human story that deals with the mysteries of creativity and love and the pain and joy of relationships.” — LA Times

Every Little Step

Adam Del Deo, James D. Stern

This documentary chronicles a heart-stopping series of auditions for the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line. “A thrilling combination of documentary and musical dazzler.” — Rolling Stone

Examined Life

Astra Taylor

Eight of the world’s most provocative philosophers express themselves in ten minutes flat. With Peter Singer, Cornel West, Slavoj Žižek, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Judith Butler, Avital Ronell, Kwame Anthony Appiah.

F

Firaaq

Nandita Das

“A probing and discerning work that examines the emotional and personal consequences of the religious strife and sectarian violence roiling Hindus and Muslims in contemporary India.” — Screendaily

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Le Premier jour du reste de ta vie

Rémi Bezançon

This French hit is a buoyant, rewardingly perceptive comedy-drama about family dynamics and the urge to escape them. “A cross-generational tale whose twists and turns are both touching and entertaining.” — Screendaily

Flame & Citron

Flammen & Citronen

Ole Christian Madsen

The myths surrounding the Danish Resistance during World War II are scathingly reassessed through the eyes of two of its legendary heroes in this action-packed thriller. With Mads Mikkelsen.

Four Nights with Anna

Cztery noce z Anna

Jerzy Skolimowski

A consummately surreal enactment of obsessive, unrequited desire with a dryly indulgent take on romantic love from Polish master Jerzy Skolimowski (Deep End, The Shout).

FPS

FPS is Auckland’s annual showcase for exhilarating experiments in Expanded Cinema, a premier merging point for film art, live music/sound art, performance and the exploration of cinema – this year Super 8 – as a live event.

G

The Gold Rush

Charlie Chaplin

This collaboration between the Festival and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra offers laughter and spectacle with one of the great, endlessly rewatchable cinema comedies. US maestro Timothy Brock conducts his new reconstruction of Chaplin’s own superb score.

Goodbye Solo

Ramin Bahrani

A gregarious young Senegalese taxi driver tries to persuade his aging white passenger that life is great in this continually surprising American South tale of clashing spirits and generations. “Wonderful.” — NY Times

Grace

Paul Solet

The unborn become the ravenous undead in this elegantly nasty trip to the dark side of politically correct parenting. “Treats its audience’s sense of propriety the way a baby treats a diaper.” — Variety

H

The Higher Force

Stóra planið

Olaf de Fleur Johannesson

From Iceland a shaggy dog tale of wannabe tough-guys. If you hear more hilariously mangled-English hard-man dialogue this year – deliberate or otherwise – we’d like to know about it.

Homegrown: Animation and Experimental on Video

MIC Toi Rerehiko presents the best new NZ short films selected by a panel of industry experts. This eclectic short film programme brings together the cream of Kiwi animators and innovators.

Homegrown: Works on Film

MIC Toi Rerehiko presents the best new NZ short films selected by a panel of industry experts. It’s a bumper year with two of these six, The Six Dollar Fifty Man and Lars and Peter, also selected for competition at Cannes.

Homegrown: Works on Video Drama

MIC Toi Rerehiko presents the best new NZ short films selected by a panel of industry experts. This years’ crop of short dramas testifies to the diversity and invention of Aotearoa’s finest up-and-coming filmmakers.

The Horseman

Steven Kastrissios

Sent a horrifying pornographic video featuring his recently deceased daughter, a grieving father swears retribution. “A very badass REVENGE flick.” — Harry Knowles, Ain’t It Cool News

Humpday

Lynn Shelton

A sneaky bromantic comedy – made by a woman – about straight male bonding gone a little too far. “A funny, strong, sympathetic dick flick that will bury itself deep within your most intimate areas.” — Cinematical

I

I'm Not Harry Jenson

James Napier-Robertson

Film noir meets bloody backwoods whodunit in this new digi-thriller from writer/director James Napier-Robertson. With Gareth Reeves, Cameron Rhodes, Ian Mune, Renato Bartolomei, Tom Hern. World Premiere.

In the Loop

Armando Iannucci

British political satire takes on Washington in this lacerating spoof of bureaucratic opportunism. “Horribly brilliant… The acting is superb, and the writing is relentlessly funny – vicious and delicious.” — The Guardian

It Might Get Loud

Davis Guggenheim

Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) throws together Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White as a one-off supergroup in a celebration of the ultimate rock instrument. “A three-headed, amped-up, guitar-shredding slamdown.” — Variety

J

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Chantal Akerman

Superb new print of Chantal Akerman’s legendary avant-garde masterpiece which locates the dread behind the monotonous routine of a housewife and part-time prostitute. “A slow-motion thriller.” — Time Out NY

Jerichow

Christian Petzold

A taut 21st-century refit of Depression-era pulp classic The Postman Always Rings Twice by leading German director Christian Petzold with his mesmerising regular actress Nina Hoss. “A world-class talent.” — Variety

K

Kisses

Lance Daly

Best Irish Film at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh, this tale of runaway kids thrives on the gritty and irresistible charm of its two young stars and a generous helping of Bob Dylan on the soundtrack.

L

A Lake

Un lac

Philippe Grandrieux

Philippe Grandrieux’s majestically strange and beautiful Alpine drama contains only the barest of narratives, making its eerily elemental effect through image and soundscape. “Transcendent.” — Time Out

Land of the Long White Cloud

Florian Habicht

Florian Habicht describes his funny, affectionate film about the annual Ninety Mile Beach Red Snapper Classic fishing competition as a ‘sequel of sorts’ to his classic Kaikohe Demolition.

Largo

Andrew van Baal, Mark Flanagan

An elegant compilation of some of the great indie music and comedy acts recorded at the legendary LA club. With Andrew Bird, Aimee Mann, Bic Runga, Flight of the Conchords, Fiona Apple and many more.

Len Lye - Discoveries and Rarities

Roger Horrocks introduces Art That Moves, his new film about New Zealand’s favourite 20th-century expatriate artist and filmmaker, and presents a cornucopia of rarities and recent restorations.

The Limits of Control

Jim Jarmusch

An enigmatic lone man travels through Spain in this stylish exercise in hitman chic from Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Dead Man). “Like a perfect piece of jazz – it sends you out of the theater in a blissed haze.” — Papermag

Looking for Eric

Ken Loach

Direct from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, director Ken Loach in laughter mode, featuring Steve Evets as a messed-up postman who receives spiritual guidance from none other than soccer idol Eric Cantona.

Lost in Wonderland

Zoe McIntosh

Compact perceptive portrait of one-of-a-kind self-made man Rob Moodie, most recently famous for appearing in court dressed as Alice in Wonderland to protest against male-dominated corruption in the New Zealand judiciary.

Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine

Amei Wallach, Marion Cajori

Fascinating interview-based portrait of brilliant nonagenarian sculptor. “The filmmakers seem to have developed an unusual intimacy with their subject… A privileged look into a psyche rendered solid.” — Village Voice

Louise-Michel

Gustave Kervern, Benoît Delépine

“Constantly outrageous… this tale of factory workers avenging themselves against their bosses is… a wickedly hilarious, marvellously calibrated exercise in deadpan style owing as much to Buñuel as to the Coen brothers.” — Variety

Love Exposure

Ai no mukidashi

Sono Sion

A delirious and hypnotic masterwork of epic proportions complete with Catholic guilt, kick-ass kung fu schoolgirls, a loony cult and upskirt photography. “This movie will cleanse you of your sins and leave you horny as hell.” — NY Asian Film Festival

Love on Delivery

Fra Thailand til Thy

Janus Metz

This lively doco portrait of Thai wives in a remote Danish town provides intimate insights and challenges PC prejudices about arranged marriages in which emotional comfort is frankly bartered for economic security.

M

The Maid

La nana

Sebastián Silva

The ties that bind a live-in maid to the family for whom she has worked for over 20 years are coming unstuck in this agile, funny and deeply perceptive psychological drama. Best International Feature, Sundance 2009.

Making Samson and Delilah

Beck Cole

An affectionate and informative ‘behind the scenes’ doco showing the making of the acclaimed Samson & Delilah through the eyes of its two young non-professional Aboriginal lead actors.

The Man in the Hat

Luit Bieringa

Luit Bieringa’s lovely portrait of Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey intersperses a lyrical picture of McLeavey’s Wellington with Sam Neill’s readings from his correspondence, and frank conversations with the man himself.

Mary and Max

Adam Elliot

Crammed with absurd and wonderful detail, this claymation feature from Oscar winner Adam Elliot (Harvie Krumpet) is a mordantly funny tale of pen-friendship between a lonely Australian girl and a paranoid Manhattanite.

Masquerades

Mascarades

Lyes Salem

In the Arab-world festival hit of 2008, a drunken boast has embarrassing repercussions. This Algerian wedding comedy delivers hilarious characters and trenchant social satire. “Classically executed farce.” — Variety

Mid-August Lunch

Pranzo di ferragosto

Gianni Di Gregorio

In this delicate Italian comedy a happily retired bachelor spends the August bank holiday with his aged mother and three other assorted old biddies on his hands. “Charming and gently hilarious.” — Hollywood Reporter

Mock Up On Mu

Craig Baldwin

From the wonderfully warped mind of Craig Baldwin (Tribulation 99, Sonic Outlaws), a delirious found-footage mash-up obsessing on Californian cultdom, the pre-history of Scientology and the American space race.

Modern Life

Raymond Depardon

Acclaimed documentary masterpiece by filmmaker/Magnum photographer Raymond Depardon. “A deeply humane and warm-spirited portrait of French farmers whose way of life is on the verge of disappearing.” — Eye Weekly

Moon

Duncan Jones

A smartly minimalistic science fiction drama, Moon is a tightly wound, man-alone-in-space workout. Sam Rockwell is dynamite as Sam Bell, the lone inhabitant on a moon base. “Alarmingly vivid.” — San Francisco Bay Guardian

Morphia

Morfiy

Alexi Balabanov

Alexei Balabanov (Cargo 200, Brother) invests historical drama with dark energy in his glowering adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s amazing memoir of obsession and addiction at the time of the Russian Revolution.

Mother

Madeo

Bong Joon-ho

A mother’s campaign to clear her good-for-nothing son of a murder becomes a superb murder mystery in the expert hands of Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Memories of Murder). With Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin.

My Year without Sex

Sarah Watt

A wonderfully down-to-earth comedy drama about a young Melbourne mother recovering from a terrifying illness and tackling some of life’s big questions, and even more of the small ones. From the director of Look Both Ways.

N

The Neglected Miracle

Barry Barclay

Classic NZ documentary. “A chillingly prescient study of the erosion of plant genetic diversity in the Third World by seed companies working for First-World profit.” — Peter Calder, NZ Herald

Neil Brand – The Silent Pianist Speaks

Neil Brand

British composer and performer Neil Brand discusses and demonstrates the art of improvised accompaniment to silent film. A funny, illuminating and entertainingly interactive show.

No Petrol, No Diesel!

Stefen Harris

Big business and a small, struggling rural support town are on a collision course in this good natured comedy made on a shoestring budget with extensive community goodwill.

North Face

Nordwand

Philipp Stölzl

“A mountaineering adventure more tense, more edge-of-the-seat suspenseful, than Touching the Void? Almost incredibly, this German drama, based on a true story [the Eiger, 1936], is that film.” — The Independent

O

Old Partner

Wyonang sori

Lee Chung-ryoul

Beautiful Korean doco about an old farming couple and the ox that has shared their lives and labours for 40 years. “A charming, heartbreaking, existential buddy tale.” — Sundance Film Festival

OSS 117 – Lost in Rio

OSS 117 – Rio ne répond plus

Michel Hazanavicius

Fabled superagent OSS 117 (handsome, straight-faced comic Jean Dujardin) defends La France from slippery foreigners in this spy movie spoof lovingly set in Bossa Nova-era Brazil. “Very, very funny.” — Twitch

Our Beloved Month of August

Aquele querido mês de agosto

Miguel Gomes

Take a summer holiday with this strange and wonderful film. A playful weave of documentary, love story and popular song, set at an annual music festival in the mountains of Arganil, Portugal.

P

Paper Soldier

Bumazhny soldat

Alexey German Jr

This superbly photographed chronicle of Russia’s 60s space programme is the anti–Right Stuff. A physician grows increasingly uncomfortable risking human life for the sake of science.

Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies

Arne Glimcher

This smart, concise Scorsese-sponsored doco argues that Cubism was a response to the new technology of cinema at the turn of the 20th century. “A dazzling, opulent treasure trove.” — Variety

Ponyo

Gake no ue no Ponyo

Miyazaki Hayao

The latest enthralling masterpiece of all-ages wonderment from Japanese animation genius Miyazaki (Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away). “Great fantasy and charm… Will delight children ages three to 100.” — Hollywood Reporter

R

Rachel

Simone Bitton

This intelligent, layered doco puts the Gaza Strip death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie in the context of a new generation of globalised activists crossing the world to put themselves in harm’s way.

Red Cliff

Chi bi

John Woo

Action maestro John Woo returns to China for this historical epic, the biggest budget Asian movie ever made. “Ratchets the entertainment factor up to 11.” — Japan Times. With Tony Leung, Kaneshiro Takeshi.

RiP: A remix manifesto

Brett Gaylor

Joyously celebrating remix culture, Brett Gaylor raises fascinating questions about sampling culture and copyright laws in this love letter to his favourite recording artist, audio bricoleur Girl Talk.

Rough Aunties

Kim Longinotto

Admiring portrait of South African women’s organisation Bobbi Bear, which fights to repair the damage caused by child sexual abuse. By acclaimed UK documentarian Kim Longinotto (Divorce Iranian Style, Sisters in Law).

S

Samson & Delilah

Warwick Thornton

Mesmerising, and politically red hot, Warwick Thornton’s feature about a pair of outcast outback Aboriginal kids won the Camera d’Or for Best First Film at the Cannes Film Festival and is an unexpected hit in Australia.

The Secret of Kells

Tomm Moore

Serious fun for the kids in a medieval monastery! “Visually ravishing and doused in Celtic magic, Irish animated feature The Secret of Kells takes as its plot source and stylistic inspiration the eighth-century Book of Kells.” — Screendaily

The September Issue

R.J. Cutler

A deliciously revealing documentary about the fashion world’s annual bible, the September issue of Vogue, and its formidable editor Anna Wintour. “A dishy and engrossing peek inside the fashion world’s corridors of power.” — Variety

Serbis

Service

Brillante Mendoza

A hectic day in the life of ‘The Family Theatre’, a Filipino porn palace. Social realism: raw, real and in your face. “Serbis may be a raunch-fest, but it’s also a mind-trip – a raunch-fest with ideas.” — Village Voice

SIGGRAPH Asia 2008 Highlights #2 – Asian Panorama

The best of recent Asian CGI shorts – narratives, ads, music videos – as selected from a 1000 entries at the prestigious SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques) Asia Festival.

Sin Nombre

Cary Joji Fukunaga

“This harrowing, pulse-pounding thriller, shot entirely in Mexico by young American hotshot director Cary Joji Fukunaga, looks like the debut film of the year.” — Salon.com. Best Director, Sundance Film Festival.

The Sky Crawlers

Sukai kurora

Mamoru Oshii

Spectacular anime from the maker of Ghost in the Shell tells the story of a group of genetically modified eternally-young fighter aces in a world where war has become a company-sponsored reality game.

Song from the Southern Seas

Pesni juzhnykh morej

Marat Sarulu

Counteracting the damage wrought to the national image by Borat, here’s a smart, completely engaging film from Kazakhstan that brings humour and the civilising values of a rich traditional culture to its fable-like tale of neighbouring couples.

Soul Power

Jeffrey Levy-Hinte

James Brown, Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz, B.B. King and more burn down the house, Zaire 1974. “Joyously funky… another legendary concert sees the light of day through the miracle of technology.” — Variety

Spies

Spione

Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang’s delirious 1928 epic of espionage, opium, fiendish gadgetry and sexual intrigue set the template for virtually every spy movie for the next 80 years. Accompanied by visiting UK piano legend Neil Brand.

Still Walking

Aruitemo aruitemo

Kore-eda Hirokazu

“This sublimely poignant character study will likely… be recognised in time as one of the best Japanese family dramas ever put on film.” — Time Out Hong Kong. From the director of Nobody Knows and After Life.

The Strength of Water

Armagan Ballantyne

New Zealand premiere screenings of the feature debut by Armagan Ballantyne from an original screenplay by Briar Grace-Smith. Already a popular and critical success at the Rotterdam and Berlin Film Festivals.

Summer Hours

L’Heure d’été

Olivier Assayas

Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling and Jérémie Renier as siblings settling their mother’s lavish, art-filled estate. “A warm, wise drama about the tensions and mysteries of family life.” — Time Out

Séraphine

Martin Provost

A moving dramatised portrait of the French ‘naïve’ painter Séraphine de Senlis (1864–1942). César Awards 2009: Best Film, Actress, Original Screenplay, Photography, Score, Costumes, Production Design.

T

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Geoff Murphy

Wellington-raised, Paris-based saxophonist Lucien Johnson, a band of local avant-garde virtuosos and veteran Kiwi filmmaker Geoff Murphy (Utu) collaborate on an exuberantly macabre musical tribute to Edgar Allen Poe.

Tangata Whenua 1

NZ documentary classics. The Spirits and the Times Will Teach focuses on the reminiscences of two kuia, Ngākahikatea Wirihana and Herepo Rongo. Waikato explores the support of the Waikato people for the King movement.

Tangata Whenua 2

NZ documentary classics. The Prophets concerns the Tūhoe of the Urewera country and the Ringatū religion. The Great Trees talks about leadership and education. Sir Āpirana Ngata is remembered.

Tangata Whenua 3

NZ documentary classics. Tūrangawaewae focuses on the establishment of a new urban marae in Porirua. The Carving Cries explores the importance of passing on shared memories, knowledge and history to the next generation.

Teza

Haile Gerima

Haile Gerima’s Ethiopian epic was named as the Best African Film of the year at the 40th Pan-African Film Festival. An impassioned account of a country at war – and at war with itself – for 40 years.

Theater of War

John Walter

A 2006 New York revival of Mother Courage in New York starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline provides the foundation for an invigorating consideration of the enduring significance of the theatre of Bertolt Brecht.

Themis as a Lady of Loose Morals

Femida

Viktar Dashuk

“Shocking and compelling… skillfully crafting a condemning indictment of the Belarusian social justice system and of President Alexander Lukashenko’s brutal authoritarian regime.” — Hot Docs

Thirst

Bakjwi

Park Chan-wook

Korean auteur extraordinaire Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) unleashes his frenzied take on a ravenous vampire priest movie. “A truly original take on the vampire film from a true cinematic master.” — Twitch

This Way of Life

Thomas Burstyn

World premiere screenings of captivating, ravishing doco about a charismatic East Coast couple raising their six children to respect nature and survive in the wild.

Ticket to Paradise

Fra Thy til Thailand

Janus Metz

This lively doco portrait of a marriage broker in a small Thai village challenges PC prejudices about arranged marriages in which emotional comfort is frankly bartered for economic security.

The Town That Lost a Miracle/Autumn Fires

Classic 70s TV documentaries made in the Hokianga by Barry Barclay explore the legend of ‘Opo the friendly dolphin’ and an old woman’s memories of pioneering life and the niceties of civilised life.

Treeless Mountain

So Yong Kim

Two little Korean girls are the stars of this intimate drama of childhood. “Conveys the joys, worries and hurts of early childhood with keen poignancy and barely a speck of sentimentality.” — Eye Weekly

Trip to Asia: The Quest for Harmony

Trip to Asia: Die Suche nach dem Einklang

Thomas Grube

Fascinating doco penetrates the mysterious inner life and communal ego of the famously closed, elite Berlin Philharmonic during a breakneck concert tour of Asia with conductor Sir Simon Rattle.

Troll 2

Claudio Fragasso

1.9 out of 10 — IMDB.com. Could this be the worst movie ever made? It doesn’t even have trolls. Our screening will be intro’ed by star Michael Stephenson in anticipation of his own doco about Troll 2 mania, Best Worst Movie.

Tulpan

Sergey Dvortsevoy

A mesmerising, weirdly perfect blend of fish-out-of-water character comedy, ethnographic documentary and awesome landscape photography, Tulpan provides an unforgettable journey to the Kazakh steppe.

Tyson

James Toback

Frank portrait of disgraced heavyweight champion. “A hard-won perspective on a hard-fought life, in a movie that’s a contender for best sports documentary, heavyweight class.” — Time

U

Unmade Beds

Alexis Dos Santos

Longingly sensuous, the year’s hippest, freshest, most sweetly inclusive date movie. A lyrical tale of two solitary expats crossing paths in the international art-rock milieu of a sprawling East London squat.

Unmistaken Child

Ha-Gilgul

Nati Baratz

This intimate, emotionally enthralling, colourful depiction of the living Tibetan Buddhist tradition documents the four-year search for a reincarnated master through the eyes of a sincere and passionate disciple.

V

Valentino: The Last Emperor

Matt Tyrnauer

The opulent lifestyle and fabulous haute-couture fashions of the great designer Valentino. “One for the ages. It reveals one of the past century’s most elegantly lived lives.” — NY Times Style

Van Diemen’s Land

Jonathan auf der Heide

A visionary dramatisation of a notorious tale from Australia’s convict past shot in the spectacular Tasmanian wilderness. “Beautifully performed, and shaded with authentically bitter Celtic wit.” — Edinburgh Film Festival

Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman

Eric Bricker

This doco about veteran photographer Julius Shulman is a treasure trove of modernist architectural eye-candy, a coffee table book come to life. “Nirvana for lovers of mid-century modern and fine-art photography.” — Variety

W

Waiting for Sancho

Mark Peranson

Critic and filmmaker Mark Peranson introduces his unconventional documentary about the making of an unconventional film, Birdsong. “A real artistic inquiry and celebration.” — Variety

Wake in Fright

Ted Kotcheff

A brilliantly graphic picture of Outback mateship on a bender, this is a legendary, hard-to-see classic of 70s cinema. “A fabulous restoration of one of the greatest Australian films ever made.” — Sydney Film Festival

Way of Nature

Naturens gång

Nina Hedenius

Exquisitely shot, serenely observant doco records the cycle of the seasons on a Swedish farm where the solitary farmer attends to the genetic survival of certain native breed animals: cows, sheep, goats and horses.

We Live in Public

Ondi Timoner

On the 40th anniversary of the Internet, this Sundance Award winning doco explores the psychic effects of the web through the eyes of the greatest Internet visionary and provocateur you’ve never heard of – Josh Harris.

Wendy and Lucy

Kelly Reichardt

“Michelle Williams is superb as a struggling girl who loses her dog in Kelly Reichardt’s wise, deceptively simple tale.” — Newsweek

The White Ribbon

Das Weisse Band

Michael Haneke

Direct from Cannes, the Palme d'Or winner from Austrian cine-provocateur Michael Haneke. Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible?

Wild Field

Dikoe pole

Mikhail Kalatozishvili

On a remote medical outpost on the Kazakh steppes, a resourceful, charismatic young doctor responds to increasingly odd medical emergencies. A gorgeous, decisively Russian film that is simultaneously hilarious and tragic.

Winnebago Man

Ben Steinbauer

A fascinating, funny and surprisingly moving encounter with the man who shot to YouTube notoriety as ‘Winnebago Man’, the world’s angriest TV salesman. Check out the clips and you’ll want to see this movie!

Y

Yes Madam, Sir

Megan Doneman

“Biopic offers could be waved at Kiran Bedi following Yes Madam, Sir, an enthralling chronicle of her brilliant, tempestuous career as India’s first elite policewoman.” — Variety. Narrated by Helen Mirren.

Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

A generous mix of concert footage and personal encounter with Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, possessor of one of the most gorgeous voices in world music today. “Inspiring.” — Independent Weekly

Z

Zift

Javor Gardev

This sleek, turbo-charged pulp thriller plunges its shaven-headed anti-hero into a stylised 60s Balkans underworld. Every crime movie cliché is galvanised by the panache of the film’s electric razor-sharp noir style.