Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle

Martha and Rufus Wainwright
Martha and Rufus Wainwright
Nora Jones
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“An uplifting and absorbing film about the healing power of music as a cathartic, communal, celebratory life force.” — Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter


Director: Lian Lunson
Year: 2012
Country: Canada, USA
Running time: 109 mins

Producers: Lian Lunson, Teddy Wainwright
Photography: Matt Egan
Music: Kate McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, Anna McGarrigle, Jane McGarrigle

With: Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Jimmy Fallon, Antony, Justin Vivian Bond, Teddy Thompson, Michael Ondaatje

Festivals: Sundance London, Sydney 2012

The albums of the McGarrigle sisters are surely for the ages, with their plangent harmonies and their worldly, Arcadian-inflected songs of true love, broken hearts and wandering spirits. Sadly, younger sister Kate died in 2010 at the age of 63. Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You captures, superbly, the heart-achingly gorgeous New York concert mounted in tribute by her rather talented family – children Rufus and Martha Wainwright and older sisters Anna and Jane, along with a wider musical whānau, including Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Teddy Thompson and (the film’s great who-the-hell-is-that? revelation for me) Krystle Warren. Michael Ondaatje turns up to pay tribute to the poetry from which the McGarrigles could shape a song into a spellbinding journey. You feel the mourned and celebrated Kate in the room at every moment as song after song lifts off, channelling rich emotion in arrangements of intricate loveliness. Rufus Wainwright, that ‘First Born Son’ she so memorably and amusingly confessed to idolising as a baby, now carries her torch with passion and panache. — BG

NZIFF STAFF PICK: Jim Rush

Dunedin and Christchurch programme update: 

We regret that for technical reasons we are unable to present the scheduled screenings of Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You in Dunedin and Christchurch and apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience caused by these cancellations.

Refunds are available to Dunedin screening ticket holders at the Rialto until the conclusion of the NZIFF season there.

Refunds are available to Christchurch screening ticket holders at Hoyts until the conclusion of the NZIFF season there. Please note that we have replaced the Christchurch screenings with the following films:

Monday 13 August 6.15pm - Searching for Sugar Man

Tuesday 14 August 1.45pm - Journal de France