Films by Tour Guides

Staff Picks: Sarah McMullan

Hey I’m Sarah. I’m a long time film (& book & music) geek which is why my ‘To See’ list for NZIFF is always full of music films, book adaptations and films about ridiculously creative and passionate people that inspire and amaze me. I’m also fascinated by the darker side of life which means horror and psychological thrillers/dramas are always top of my list. So too are a lot of documentaries. Being a film reviewer for Radio New Zealand in my other life you’d think I might get sick of films, but I never do. Instead I just want to watch more, and want to encourage you to see more too! So here are my picks for this year’s NZ International Film Festival. Enjoy. (And remember, there’s a special place in hell for people who talk and check their mobile phones during a movie!!)

20,000 Days on Earth

Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard

The legend of Nick Cave is explored and amplified in this seductive, music-filled documentary created in collaboration with British filmmaker/artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. “Thrilling to behold.” — Time Out

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.

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.

Killers

The Mo Brothers

Two deranged serial killers – one from Tokyo, the other from Jakarta – post their violent crimes online in a psychotic battle for notoriety in this slick, violent, but darkly humorous, psycho thriller from Indonesia’s Mo Brothers.

Maps to the Stars

David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg’s gleefully toxic satire of Hollywood vanities stars Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, startling newcomer Evan Bird channelling Justin Beiber; and, in her Cannes-winning role, Julianne Moore.

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.

The Reunion

Återträffen

Anna Odell

In her bold, biting and unnervingly entertaining film recounting schoolyard misery, Swedish artist Anna Odell shows exactly why her high school class chose not to invite her to their 20th anniversary reunion.

The Salt of the Earth

Le sel de la terre

Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado

The life and work of Sebastião Salgado, the undisputed master of monumental photojournalism, is explored in this wonderful doco, jointly directed by his son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, and German director Wim Wenders.

Starred Up

David Mackenzie

Jack O’Connell plays a violent young offender transferred to the same high security facility as his long incarcerated father (Ben Mendelsohn). Jonathan Asser’s script imbues brutal prison drama with raw inside knowledge.

Two Days, One Night

Deux jours, une nuit

Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

This tense and affecting drama from two-time Palme d’Or winners the Dardenne brothers depicts the weekend-long crusade of a working-class woman to be reinstated in her job. Marion Cotillard is riveting in the central role.

When Animals Dream

Når dyrene drømmer

Jonas Alexander Arnby

A teenage girl’s awakening sexuality quite literally brings out the beast in her in When Animals Dream, an atmospheric fantasy chiller that marks an accomplished Cannes debut from Danish director Jonas Alexander Arnby.

White God

Fehér isten

Kornél Mundruczó

Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s audacious drama, about how a young girl’s separation from her dog leads to a full-blown canine uprising, won the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.