Films by Tour Guides

Gemma Gracewood

Gathering in auditoriums with our fellow humans for entertainment's sake is the stuff of the ages. I love how the NZIFF becomes our humming town square for the season. 

I have hazy, formative memories of screaming at the screen at the full-house, midnight screening of Pump Up The Volume at The Civic during the 1990 festival. I reckon this year's best music party will be a tie between The Punk Singer - seen it, adore it - and Pulp: A film about life, death and supermarkets. 

Any film showing young women making their way in the world is going to push my feminist buttons, so 52 Tuesdays, Sepideh - Reaching for the Stars and We Are The Best! are naturally on the list. I've added Linklater's highly-anticipated Boyhood for balance. 

The Armstrong Lie is a jaw-dropping piece of journalism; Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? puts two of my favourite humans in a room; Frank has Fassbender, say no more. Orphans and Kingdoms is on the list because it's the debut feature by the guys I made the short film Dead Letters with, and what's the point of nepotism otherwise? (Also, actor Colin Moy is a privilege to watch).  

Finally, I've been disgusted, appalled, scared shitless, revolted, visually assaulted and pants-wettingly hysterical at Ant Timpson's festival selections, but I have never, ever been disappointed. 

 

Gemma Gracewood is a producer and writer, and reviews film for Metro magazine.

The Punk Singer

Sini Anderson

An inspiring close-up encounter with feminist punk rock legend Kathleen Hanna. Frontwoman for Bikini Kill throughout the 90s, then the hugely popular dance group Le Tigre, she’s a powerful presence onstage and off.

Pulp: a Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets

Florian Habicht

NZer Florian Habicht’s acclaimed collaboration with Jarvis Cocker fixes the triumphant 2012 concert billed as Pulp’s last ever within a loving portrait of Sheffield and Sheffielders.

Frank

Lenny Abrahamson

Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhall play fiercely avant-garde musicians in this weirdly celebratory satire of an obscure art rock band propelled via Twitter into the limelight.

We Are the Best!

Vi är bäst!

Lukas Moodysson

Swedish director Lukas Moodysson returns to the subversive high spirits of his earlier Show Me Love, adapting his wife’s graphic novel of 80s schoolgirl misfit friendship – and no-talent punkette attitude.

Sepideh - Reaching for the Stars

Sepideh – Drømmen om stjernerne

Berit Madsen

In a provincial town in Iran, young Sepideh dreams of becoming an astronomer, although almost no one she knows thinks this a fit pursuit for a young woman. Filmed over several years, this doco traces her surprising progress.

52 Tuesdays

Sophie Hyde

A delicate and frequently touching debut drama, Australian director Sophie Hyde’s film, shot over a year of Tuesdays, traces a teenage girl’s explorations of her own sexual identity while her mother undergoes gender transition.

Boyhood

Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater’s enthralling and moving drama of a boy’s progress from childhood to young manhood is truly unprecedented: it was shot over 12 years, capturing its star and his fellow cast as they themselves grew and changed.

Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

Michel Gondry

Director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Mood Indigo) and philosopher-activist Noam Chomsky talk about life and language in a conversation gorgeously illuminated with Gondry’s hand-drawn animations.

The Armstrong Lie

Alex Gibney

Investigative filmmaker Alex Gibney (Enron, We Steal Secrets) incorporates amazing all-access footage of the 2009 Tour de France into a comprehensive interrogation of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong and the world he dominated.

Orphans & Kingdoms

Paolo Rotondo

In writer/director Paolo Rotondo’s debut feature, three teenagers on the run break into a deluxe Waiheke Island home and find themselves caught in a tense psychodrama with the conflicted owner.

Kung Fu Elliot

Matthew Bauckman, Jaret Belliveau

This surreal Slamdance-winning doco captures two years in the lives of a passionate amateur filmmaker, his supportive girlfriend and their outrageous cast – all trying to realise his dream of martial arts stardom.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Jigoku de naze warui

Sono Sion

The latest from Japanese cult favourite Sono Sion (Suicide Club, Love Exposure ) delivers a rousing and hilarious midnight movie pitching two bloodthirsty Yakuza clans against a band of chaotic wannabe filmmakers.