Films by Tour Guides

Dan Slevin

As editor of FishHead magazine I have learnt a lot that I didn't already know about magazine publishing. To be specific,  I have discovered I am what the industry calls a “back-flicker”, someone compelled to start at the rear and work their way forward. Combine that tendency with a desire to reward great titles; an inclination — when curating a list of films one hasn't already seen — to lean in the direction of filmmakers who rarely let me down; and — as I get older — to be attracted by films that sound like films I already like, and you get this list. One of these titles is sponsored in Wellington by FishHead. You'll have to click on all the links to find out which one. While you are doing that, I recommend listening to the Rancho Notorious podcast for weekly festival previews, reviews, features and interviews. We're going to be covering a lot of ground over the next few weeks.

Black Coal, Thin Ice

Bai ri yan huo

Diao Yinan

This inventive and atmospheric noir, set in China’s wintry industrial north, finds a hard-bitten former detective resurrecting the cold case that ended his career when an eerily similar new case surfaces years later.

Charlie’s Country

Rolf de Heer

Aussie maverick Rolf de Heer’s latest collaboration with the great Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil, after the folkloric Ten Canoes and historical The Tracker, is a moving picture of present-day life in Australia’s far north.

Cold In July

Jim Mickle

This edge-of-your-seat thriller keeps you off-balance with unexpected consequences when reluctant hero Michael C. Hall kills an intruder in his Texas home. Also starring Sam Shepard and a scene-stealing Don Johnson.

The Congress

Ari Folman

Following his Oscar-nominated Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman continues his foray into the world of animation with this audacious sci-fi film that combines live action Hollywood satire with dazzlingly surreal animation.

Goodbye to Language 3D

Adieu au langage

Jean-Luc Godard

In a dense and dazzling, disjunctive 3D mash-up of music, text, archive and image, the 83-year-old Jean-Luc Godard reflects on the significance, and possibly the decay, of language.

In Order of Disappearance

Kraftidioten

Hans Petter Moland

Norwegian noir with mordant gallows humour, this bloody tale of snowballing revenge reunites actor Stellan Skarsgård with director Hans Petter Moland ( Zero Kelvin, A Somewhat Gentle Man).

Joe

David Gordon Green

Nicolas Cage offers a strikingly well-rounded picture of a good-hearted tough guy facing down his demons in David Gordon Green’s tale of friendship and menace set deep in the Mississippi backwoods.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

David Zellner

Inspired by an urban legend that was itself inspired by the Coen brothers’ Fargo, filmmaking brothers David and Nathan Zellner have crafted a quixotic adventure story as beguiling as it is wondrously strange.

Leviathan

Andrey Zvyagintsev

Direct from Competition in Cannes, the new film from the Russian director of The Return is an involving, magnificently envisaged and blackly funny tale of one man’s struggle in a densely corrupt world.

Life After Beth

Jeff Baena

This charmingly off-beat, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy breathes new life into the zombie flick. Starring Parks & Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza as back-from-the-dead Beth and Dane DeHaan as her confused boyfriend.

Sacro GRA

Gianfranco Rosi

This elegantly shot and crafted Italian documentary takes us into the lives of a handful of intriguing individuals who live and work around Rome’s ring road, the Grande Raccordo Anulare.

Time is Illmatic

One9

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of his 1994 hip-hop masterpiece Illmatic, superstar MC Nas takes us on a trip down memory lane in this richly detailed documentary on his formative life and musical influences.