Films by Tour Guides

Sandra Reid

It is always a nightmare to have to hone down another rewarding year of film viewing to a few titles that especially left a mark – the few means having to exclude the many that have astounded, riveted, bewitched, enthralled, thrilled, moved, tickled me pink. However, here goes, in alphabetical order: 20,000 Days on Earth, Boyhood, Locke, The Great Museum, The Lady from Shanghai, Snowpiercer, Under the Skin, We Come As Friends. My most recent programming task was to attend the Cannes Film Festival, which offered a particularly rich crop this year. Among that stunning line up, I feel a great affection for Force Majeure, Leviathan, The Wonders, Timbuktu, Winter Sleep and White God. But I shouldn’t forget the ferociously funny Wild Tales – and while in a humourous vein, there’s also Housebound (and Club Sándwich). And now that we’re also in the horror genre, there’s The Babadook. A few? Too difficult! And I haven’t mentioned two extraordinary moments of cinema capturing history unfold: Demonstration and Maïdan...

As for films I’ve yet to see, amongst many other titles, I’m looking forward to catching up with our selection of New Zealand films, Consuming Spirits, Hard to be a God, Manakamana, The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, Particle Fever, Pulp: a Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets... And that’s just for starters.

The Babadook

Jennifer Kent

‘Baba-dook-dook-dook’ joins ‘Candyman’ and ‘Bloody Mary’ as words too terrifying to say, but too tempting not to, thanks to Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent’s startling and thought-provoking horror house thriller.

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.

Demonstration

Victor Kossakovsky

Remarkable footage of a Barcelona anti-austerity demonstration – and its quelling – shaped into a lyrical tribute to the spirit of protest by Victor Kossakovsky ( ¡Vivan las Antipodas!) and 32 Spanish film students.

Force Majeure

Turist

Ruben Östlund

Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s Cannes sensation combines black comedy, social satire and probing psycho-drama as a model family comes apart on a skiing holiday in the French Alps.

The Great Museum

Das grosse Museum

Johannes Holzhausen

This wryly observed, visually sumptuous documentary takes us behind the scenes at Vienna’s Art History Museum while staff prepare an ambitious renovation, reinstallation and rebranding of its palatial Kunstkammer galleries.

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.

Maïdan

Sergeï Loznitsa

From Dec 2013 until Feb 2014 the Ukrainian director Sergeï Loznitsa ( In the Fog, My Joy) recorded the unfolding of a revolution as the crowds gathered in protest in Kiev’s Independence Square and military police cracked down.

Timbuktu

Abderrahmane Sissako

Set in the early days of the jihadist takeover of northern Mali in 2012, African director Abderrahmane Sissako’s Cannes Competition drama delivers a beautiful and deeply humane condemnation of religious intolerance.

We Come As Friends

Hubert Sauper

Hubert Sauper (Darwin’s Nightmare) exposes the international powers at work in the world’s newest country, South Sudan, in this astounding doco which received an award for ‘Cinematic Bravery’ at the Sundance Film Festival.

Wild Tales

Relatos salvajes

Damián Szifrón

A surprise Cannes sensation from Argentina, Wild Tales is a compendium of six lavishly produced shorts united by a theme of vengeance – the kind that explodes in spectacular outbursts, sometimes planned, sometimes not!

Winter Sleep

Kiş uykusu

Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Jane Campion’s jury awarded the Palme d’Or for Best Film at Cannes this year to this provocative and engrossing study of unwitting male pride and its fallout by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

The Wonders

Le meraviglie

Alice Rohrwacher

This intimate portrait of a marvellously idiosyncratic family of beekeepers in the Italian countryside is a classic picture of children growing up in nature – and won its young director the Grand Prix at Cannes.