Films by Tour Guides

The Lumière Reader

Our writers have been covering the NZIFF for nearly ten years now, and our body of film criticism wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without it. While there’s always something for everyone at the festival, we return each year determined to be challenged by our viewing choices, to reconnect with old iconoclasts, and to discover ambitious new auteurs. The following picks – some of which we’ve already seen, others we’re simply excited about – anticipate, above all, the out of the ordinary. www.lumiere.net.nz

At Berkeley

Frederick Wiseman

A thoroughly absorbing documentary exploring multiple facets of America’s most famously progressive public university, while students and administrators negotiate the gathering threats to accessible tertiary education.

Club Sándwich

Fernando Eimbcke

This charming Mexican film is both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny as the relationship between a holidaying 15-year-old boy and his loving mother is tested by the arrival on the scene of a girl his own age.

Fish & Cat

Mahi Va Gorbeh

Shahram Mokri

Boldly inventive and intricately choreographed, this Iranian one-shot wonder weaves an enigmatic time-warp narrative around a group of characters who have congregated at a lakeside camp.

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.

Hard to Be a God

Trudno byt’ bogom

Aleksei German

A visionary ‘medieval’ sci-fi epic based on the Strugatsky brothers’ 1964 novel, this brutal, visceral and densely detailed final masterpiece by the late Russian maestro Alexsei German was over a decade in the making.

Home from Home: Chronicle of a Vision

Die andere Heimat: Chronik einer Sehnsucht

Edgar Reitz

This supremely cinematic epic of mid-19th century German rural life by Heimat director Edgar Reitz chronicles the quests and conflicts of country families hoping to escape poverty and famine by forging a new life in Brazil.

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.

Manakamana

Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez

In this hypnotic observational documentary from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, a fixed camera captures diverse travellers – from devout pilgrims to media-savvy metalheads – riding the gondola to and from a Hindu temple in Nepal.

Under the Skin

Jonathan Glazer

Scarlett Johansson is an alien creature in human guise cruising Glasgow on a mysterious mission to lure young men. Jonathan Glazer’s eerie spellbinder amalgamates chilling fantasy with covertly filmed reality.

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.

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.