Films by Title

A

The Adventures of Robin Hood

Michael Curtiz, William Keighley

Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland as the perfect Robin and Marian in the adventure cinema classic. "This great 1938 film exists in an eternal summer of bravery and romance." — Chicago Sun Times

Alexandra

Aleksandra

Alexander Sokurov

The great Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark, Mother and Son) has made an eloquent anti-war film in which not a shot is fired. "Dream-like... a timely and humane film." — Sight and Sound

And When Did You Last See Your Father?

Anaud Tucker

Jim Broadbent, Juliet Stevenson and Colin Firth star in this heartfelt adaptation of Blake Morrison's memoir of his uneasy relationship with his country doctor father. "Likely to strike a chord in almost anybody." — Evening Standard

Animation for Kids 2008

Animated short films from around the world to spark the imaginations of our youngest audience. This year's selection is best suited to children aged 5-7.

Animation Now! 2008

Cut-outs, paint-on-glass, puppetry, watercolour on tile, scratch films and hand-drawn work all feature in this year's selection of the best animated shorts from around the world.

Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer

Ian McCrudden, Robbie Cavolina

A spirited appreciation and colourful portrait of the great jazz singer and queen of 50s cool. Excellent clips, archived interviews and unseen footage.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Sacha Gervasi

An inspirational rockumentary about an aging metal band, both funny and heart-warming in equal measure. "It's a hilarious, and unexpectedly moving, documentary about the greatest metal band you've probably never heard of." — Entertainment Weekly

Apron Strings

Sima Urale

Samoan-born Aucklander Sima Urale brings an ebullient light touch to parallel, richly loaded domestic dramas in two families of cooks: one Sikh, the other dyed-in-the-wool Anglo.

The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins

Pietra Brettkelly

NZer Pietra Brettkelly's Sundance-acclaimed portrait of controversial art world star Vanessa Beecroft as she attempts to adopt Sudanese twins. "Brutally honest." — LA Times

Ashes of Time Redux

Dung che sai duk

Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung and a who's-who of Hong Kong cinema in a ravishing restored version of Wong Kar-wai's desert swordsman classic, freshly unveiled at Cannes this year.

B

Balaou

Gonçalo Tocha

A grieving filmmaker takes to the sea and finds quiet transcendence in travel and the elemental allure of the ocean. This strangely calming film is a true original.

Ballast

Lance Hammer

In the most widely praised debut at Sundance this year, a rural Mississippi family realigns after a tragic death. "Fragmentary, mysterious and poetic." — Village Voice

The Band's Visit

Bikur Ha-Tizmoret

Eran Kolirin

A lost Egyptian band spends the night in a small Israeli town in this charming comedy. "Marries goofy deadpan comedy with a conciliatory spirit... you'll weep with laughter." — LA Weekly

The Banishment

Izgnanie

Andrey Zvyagintsev

A family tragedy told with incredible visual power by the Russian director of The Return. Best Actor Award, Cannes, 2007. "Truly something to see." — Time

Be Kind Rewind

Michel Gondry

When all the tapes in their store get wiped, Jack Black and Mos Def set out to remake every movie. Directed by Michel Gondry. "A hundred minutes of sweet-natured idiocy." — Financial Times

Ben X

Nic Balthazar

Virtual reality meets vérité in a bold and emotionally shocking tale from Belgium of online gaming hero Ben X, who is bullied mercilessly in real life.

Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

Christopher Bell

Are steroids really a cheaters' drug, or are they as American as Rocky Balboa? Dedicated gym rat Chris Bell weighs the evidence. "Whip-smart, funny and refreshingly honest." — CNN.com

Billy the Kid

Jennifer Venditti

Much-awarded and widely loved documentary about a 15-year-old hyper-engaging small-town misfit. "A movie about adolescence unlike any other." — LA Times

Blind Mountain

Mang shan

Li Yang

This searing suspense drama of a young woman tricked into slavery in a country village is a severely critical portrait of China now.

Blockade

Blokada

Sergei Loznitsa

This staggering record of the 900-day siege of Leningrad is compiled from phenomenal footage found in Moscow's archives. "Eerie and powerful." — Time Out NY

Boy A

John Crowley

Andrew Garfield is mesmerising as a young man starting life anew after growing up in detention. " A poignant realist drama that will leave a big emotional impression." — Time Out

A Brighter Summer Day

Guling jie shaonian sha ren shijian

Edward Yang

Edward Yang's magnum opus is one of the greatest films of cinema's first hundred years, a sprawling, intimate coming-of-age drama set amidst gang warfare in 60s Taipei.

Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame

Buda as sharm foru rikht

Hana Makhmalbaf

A young Afghan girl's determination to attend a nearby school becomes an epic quest in this stunningly shot, politically charged film by a 19-year-old Iranian woman.

C

California Dreamin' (Endless)

California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit)

Cristian Nemescu

A robust village comedy with satirical bite and a pensive undertow, California Dreamin' personalises American intervention in the Balkans. "It has energy, wit and heart to spare." — IFC News

Caramel

Sukkar banat

Nadine Labaki

This bittersweet comedy drama is filled with insight into women's lives in contemporary Lebanon. "Utterly entrancing and completely brilliant." — Film Comment

Cargo 200

Gruz 200

Alexi Balabanov

The end of the Soviet Union is the ultimate horror show in this brilliantly grotesque film from the director of Brother. "A superbly-acted, finely-directed, vision of hell." — Time Out

Christopher Columbus - The Enigma

Cristóvão Colombo – O Enigma

Manoel de Oliveira

Director Manoel de Oliveira (born 1908) recreates the real-life search of Manuel Luciano da Silva and his wife Sílvia to prove that Christopher Columbus was actually Portuguese.

CJ7

Cheunggong 7 hou

Stephen Chow

"This utterly beguiling foray into family comedy from Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer) may be the tribute to E.T. the gleefully childlike filmmaker has had up his sleeve forever." — LA Weekly

Clash of the Titans

Will Moore

A lean, mean showcase for Wellington's vibrant underground hip-hop scene, following local rappers and freestylers competing for the title of Wellington's best battle emcee.

A Confucian Confusion

Duli Shidai

Edward Yang

A densely-plotted satire on the culture of business and the business of culture in modern Taiwan, involving chic businesswomen, pretentious authors and their scurrying functionaries

The Cool School

Morgan Neville

The emergence and impact of the beat-era LA art scene is examined in this lively documentary. "Smart, jazzy and unafraid to deflate egos... a fast-paced, finely critical study." — Time Out NY

The Counterfeiters

Die Fälscher

Stefan Ruzowitzky

Oscar winner, Best Foreign Film. A vividly original concentration camp drama. "Sharp and compelling... delivers on the promise of its astonishing true-life origins." — Empire

Crazy Love

Dan Klores

This brash, attention-grabbing documentary recounts a life-long tale of violently obsessive passion that has made numerous headlines over the decades.

CSNY: Déjà Vu

Bernard Shakey, Benjamin Johnson

Neil Young's film intercuts concert footage of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 2006 US tour with a frank documentary record of audience reactions to his political activism.

D

Dear Zachary

Kurt Kuenne

This heartbreaking doco begins as a loving scrapbook tribute to the filmmaker's dead friend before careening into a harrowing and provocative true-crime drama.

Derek

Isaac Julien

A moving celebration of the life of pioneering gay filmmaker Derek Jarman (Jubilee, Caravaggio, Blue), featuring copious film extracts and the reflections of former muse Tilda Swinton.

Digital Panorama

A stunning collection of recent international short digital animations from the dark edge of the creative spectrum.

Donkey in Lahore

Faramarz K-Rahber

This documentary tale of a young Brisbane goth's five-year courtship of a beautiful Pakistani woman is a tale of cross-cultural misunderstanding that's simultaneously funny, sad and insightful.

The Duchess of Langeais

Ne touchez pas la hache

Jacques Rivette

Jeanne Balibar and Guillaume Depardieu are superb in this adaptation of Balzac's tale of drawing room passion. "A nearly impeccable work of art – beautiful, true, profound." — NY Times

E

Earth

Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield

The spectacular giant screen spin-off from the BBC's Planet Earth series. "Simply matchless... there isn't a moment that doesn't fill one with awe." — Time Out

Eat, for This Is My Body

Mange, ceci est mon corps

Michelange Quay

This evocation of Haiti is cinema poetry of intoxicating lyricism, a powerful allegory of the racial and sexual politics of colonial heritage.

The Elephant and the Sea

Woo Ming-Jin

Malaise in the tropics is dramatised with dry absurdist wit and wicked eye for the surreal in this gorgeously shot drama from Malaysia. "Brilliant." — Variety

Elite Squad

Tropa de elite

José Padilha

The biggest hit in Brazil since City of God, and controversial winner of the Best Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival this year, Elite Squad is an incendiary vision of police violence in Rio.

Empties

Vratné lahve

Jan Sverák

The writer/star of Kolya wrote and stars in this expertly gag-laden comedy about the hyperactive retirement of a charming old rogue. "Exceptionally funny and touching." — The Globe and Mail

Encounters at the End of the World

Werner Herzog

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

The English Surgeon

Geoffrey Smith

Inspiring and dramatic doco about Henry Marsh, celebrated British neurosurgeon who volunteers on the Ukraine. "Unforgettable portrait of a true humanitarian." — Time Out

The Escapist

Rupert Wyatt

"The Escapist... not only works as a brilliant, twisting existential expansion of the traditional prison break film; it also works as a crackerjack example." — Cinematical. Starring Damian Lewis, Joseph Fiennes, Brian Cox, Seu Jorge.

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone

Evangelion shin-geki jo ban

Masayuki, Anno Hideaki, Tsurumaki Kazuya

Action-packed reboot of the venerable Japanese anime franchise Neon Genesis Evangelion. Best Film and Best Director, Tokyo International Anime Fair 2008.

F

Fear(s) of the Dark

Peur(s) du noir

Blutch, Lorenzo Mattotti, Marie Caillou, Pierre di Sciullo, Richard McGuire

This French collection of animated shorts enlist the fevered imaginations of six gifted artists to create an inventive take on our primordial phobias of all things dark.

Fighter

Natasha Arthy

Real-life kung fu champ Semra Turan stars as Aicha, the feisty daughter of traditional Turkish immigrants determined to be a contender.

The First Saturday in May

Hennegan Brothers

Behind the scenes with six contenders at the 2006 Kentucky Derby. "Compelling, expertly paced... Nothing short of riveting." — Washington Post

Flight of the Red Balloon

Le Voyage du ballon rouge

Hou Hsiao-hsien

Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien delivers a richly layered picture of life in Paris starring Juliette Binoche. "A movie of genius." — Village Voice

Flower in the Pocket

Liew Seng Tat

Two small Chinese Malaysian boys are the captivating protagonists in this bittersweet slice of life. "Playful and gently moving." — Hollywood Reporter

FPS - Live Cinema Event

Sam Hamilton and Eve Gordon present an amazing collection of cinema experimentation and live music.

The Freshman

Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

The Festival and the Vector Wellington Orchestra in a single rare screening of one of the popular comedy classics of the silent era.

From Street to Sky

Bryn Evans

Warm, intimate biography of local roots musician and Rastafarian Tigilau Ness, whose quest for unity in the Pacific has taken him from protest to peace.

Frontier(s)

Frontière(s)

Xavier Gens

A gang of criminals take refuge in a hotel run by a family of degenerate Nazis. French cinema gets dragged kicking and screaming into the grindhouse in this gore-drenched debut.

Frozen River

Courtney Hunt

A nerve-wracking thriller about two women trafficking illegal immigrants across a frozen river. Winner Grand Jury Prize (Best Dramatic Feature), Sundance Festival.

Funny Games

Michael Haneke

Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher) channels his anger with mainstream media depiction of violence into a horrific and highly entertaining piece of cinema. Starring Naomi Watts, Tim Roth.

G

Garbage Warrior

Oliver Hodge

A visionary architect grapples with corporate and political meddling in a bid to build entirely self-sustained, eco-friendly communities in the New Mexico desert. Infectious and inspiring.

A Gentle Breeze in the Village

Tennen kokekko

Yamashita Nobuhiro

The latest film from the director of Linda, Linda, Linda is seriously charming, a wryly affectionate not-quite-coming-of-age tale set in a tiny country school.

George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead

George A. Romero

Gore-hounds rejoice! The Maestro returns with a new installment in his epic anthology of all things zombie. "An entirely fresh take on the inevitably impending apocalypse." — Cinematical

Gomorrah

Gomorra

Matteo Garrone

Grand Jury Prize Winner, Cannes Film Festival 2008. Riveting adaptation of Roberto Saviano's bestselling exposé of the Camorra, the Neapolitan Mafia. "Thrilling... a modern classic." — The Observer

H

Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go

Kim Longinotto

Excellent objective documentary about a British boarding school for children with extreme behavioural problems – and a staff to student ratio of 108 to 40.

The Hollow Men

Alister Barry

The 'stolen' insider emails of Nicky Hager's best-selling account of National's 2004 election campaign rise again in Alister Barry's (Someone Else's Country) new film.

Homegrown: Programme 1

MIC Toi Rerehiko presents its selection of the best New Zealand short films of the last 12 months. Includes internationally honoured films by Sima Urale, Leo Woodhead and Roseanne Liang.

Homegrown: Programme 2

MIC Toi Rerehiko presents a fascinating selection of recent short films by New Zealand filmmakers.

Homegrown: Programme 3

MIC Toi Rerehiko presents a selection of recent experimental and animated films by New Zealand filmmakers.

Huloo

Robin Greenberg

Robin Greenberg's documentary introduces us to the remarkable life of New Zealand's very own T'ai Chi master, Loo-Chi Hu.

Hunger

Steve McQueen

British artist Steve McQueen's formidable film about IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands is a searching and provocative deliberation of martyrdom. Winner Camera d'Or for the best debut at Cannes this year.

I

If We Knew

Als we het zouden weten

Peter Lataster, Petra Lataster-Czisch

This powerful film tracks the dedicated staff of a Ducth intensive care neo-natal ward and engages with the ethical issues that confront them daily.

I Just Didn't Do It

Soredemo boku wa yattenai

Suo Masayuki

This gripping courtroom drama provides a hair-raising exposé of the Japanese justice system. "If a film can change Japan's legal system, this is the one." — Japan Times

In Bruges

Martin McDonagh

Bloody and brilliantly funny, playwright Martin McDonagh's directing debut brings a black Irish wit to an odd couple/hitmen-on-the-lam comedy. With Colin Farrell, Brendon Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes.

In Search of a Midnight Kiss

Alex Holdridge

In this cool and funny lo-fi romantic comedy, two love-scarred LA 20-somethings meet on Craigslist rather than spend New Year's Eve alone. "The perfect date movie." — RottenTomatoes.com

In the City of Sylvia

En la ciudad de Sylvia

José Luis Guerin

Awash with the sights and sounds of the French city of Strasbourg, this lyrical tale of a young man's search for his lost love is a purely cinematic, virtually wordless treat for romantics and people watchers.

In Your Wake

Nos retrouvailles

David Oelhoffen

This taut, brooding crime drama plumbs the relationship between a dangerously immature, adrift father and his introverted son.

It's a Free World...

Ken Loach

Veteran masters of social realism Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty (My Name Is Joe) return with one of their most involving character-centred dramas. "A movie of great honesty and humanistic inquiry." — The Guardian

I Think We're Alone Now

Sean Donnelly

An intimate look into the lives of two stalkers of 80s teen pop one-hit-wonder Tiffany, Sean Donnelly's I Think We're Alone Now is absolutely disturbing, wince-inducing trainwreck viewing of the highest order.

J

Jar City

Mýrin

Baltasar Kormákur

CSI:Reykjavik! Richly atmospheric police thriller from Iceland. "Fans of the genre will thank the film for an infusion of ice-cold new blood." — Time Out NY

Jesus Christ Saviour

Jesus Christus Erlöser

Peter Geyer

A fascinating record of Klaus Kinski's fiery 1971 stage performance, his highly personal retelling of the New Testament, delivered to a crowd out for blood.

Jinx Sister

Athina Tsoulis

Estranged adult sisters are warily reunited in Athina Tsoulis' engagingly acted drama of family secrets and lies. With Sara Wiseman and Rachel Nash.

K

The Kid Brother

Ted Wilde

The Festival and The Trusts are proud to present the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in a single rare screening of one of the great comedy classics of the silent era.

The King of Kong

Seth Gordon

"A true gem about rivalry amongst videogamers... a thrilling examination of the human psyche – a hugely entertaining account of good vs evil." — Time Out

King of the Hill

El rey de la montaña

Gonzalo López-Gallego

A taut cat and mouse chase in the Spanish wilderness. "A sly, deceptive gut punch of a picture... a brilliant, vicious little piece of work." — Twitch

L

L'Invité

Laurent Bouhnik

It's business as usual in the polished world of French farce, where it's open season on the tasteless and the clueless; and heartless cads have the best lines. Starring Daniel Auteuil.

La Corona

Amanda Micheli, Isabel Vega

Academy Award nominated short documentary about the annual beauty contest held by the inmates of Colombia's largest women's penitentiary.

La France

Serge Bozon

Winner of France's Jean Vigo Award for the year's most remarkable debut, La France mixes genres – period romance, war movie and pop album – to confoundingly pleasurable effect.

Lake Tahoe

Fernando Eimbcke

This tender deadpan comedy follows 16-year-old Juan as he tries to organise a repair job on the family car he has just crashed. Selected as 'Revelation of the Year', Critics' Week Cannes 2008

Last of the Living

Logan McMillan

This ingeniously infectious Kiwi riff on Shaun of the Dead sees three bickering layabouts enlisted in a risky scheme to save the world from a zombie apocalypse.

La Zona

Rodrigo Plá

This expert thriller set in a wealthy walled community in Mexico City packs nail-biting suspense with a scathing broadside on class war. "Riveting." — Hollywood Reporter

Let's Say...

On dirait que...

Françoise Marie

What do kids think their parents do at work? French filmmaker Françoise Marie gets fascinating, often funny answers by having kids act out their parents' work days. "A real charmer." — Variety

Let the Right One In

Låt den rätte komma in

Tomas Alfredson

A striking original vampire movie set in a Swedish junior high school in winter 1982. "Very smart, very sweet, very sick and very special indeed." — Cinematical

Lorna's Silence

Le Silence de Lorna

Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Actress Arta Dobroshi is a revelation as a young Albanian woman inveigled into a treacherous scam in acclaimed Dardennes Brothers' new film. Best Screenplay, Cannes Film Festival 2008.

Lou Reed's Berlin

Julian Schnabel

Director Julian Schnabel captures Lou Reed performing his 1973 album live in 2006. "Berlin gets the documentary it deserves: [it] instantly ranks as one of the great concert films ever shot." — Tribeca Film Festival

M

Mahjong

Majiang

Edward Yang

In Yang's ferocious satire a young French girl adrift in Taipei descends into a twilight world of petty criminals, con-men, kidnappers and killers.

The Man from London

A Londoni férfi

Béla Tarr

Cult director Béla Tarr's bizarre, ominous adaptation of a Simenon detective novel unfolds in amazingly choreographed mobile camera sequences. "Mesmeric." — The Guardian

Man on Wire

James Marsh

This thrilling documentary recounts Frenchman Philippe Petit's 1974 attempt to walk a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. " Exhilarating, ecstatic and toe-curlingly vertiginous... Unforgettable." — Peter Calder NZ Herald

Married Life

Ira Sachs

Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson and Rachel McAdams in a Hitchcockian tale of adultery and murder, 40s style. Slyly ironic film noir by Sundance winner Ira Sachs. "Perfectly acted." — New York Film Festival

Mataharis

Icíar Bollaín

The notion of the female spy as glamorous femme fatale is given a reality check in this intriguing and refreshing film. "With a sharp eye for a good story... an excellent exploration of the emotional intelligence of women." — Hollywood Reporter

Max & Co

Samuel Guillaume

This extravagantly mounted, endlessly inventive stop-motion puppet animation should appeal to admirers of films like The Nightmare Before Christmas or Wallace & Gromit's Were-Rabbit adventure.

Mechanical Love

Phie Ambo-Nielsen

Compelling, disquieting and droll doco explores the development in Japan and comsumption worldwide of therapeutic robots: can robots offer a substitute for human affection?

Mongol

Sergei Bodrov

The legend of Genghis Khan comes to life in the festival's most lavish spectacle, an old-fashioned, giant-screen-filling epic that's both rip-roaring and romantic.

Munyurangabo

Lee Isaac Chung

From Rwanda a delicate, poignant film about the friendship of two young men, one Hutu, the other Tutsi. "An authentically beautiful film." — Film Comment

Mutum

Sandra Kogut

A shy, uncannily philosophical country boy's view of a confused grown-up world is rendered with great charm and sensitivity in this beautiful film from Brazil.

My Name Is Albert Ayler

Kasper Collin

Superb portrait if the legendary saxophonist to whom even John Coltrane yielded the stage. "The ne plus ultra of free jazz.... a cause for rejoicing." — New Yorker

My Winnipeg

Guy Maddin

Guy Maddin's portrait of his native city is intensely idiosyncratic and hilariously unreliable. " Dazzlingly imagnative, flagrantly absurd and yet clearly very heartfelt." — Sight and Sound

N

Night

Lawrence Johnston

This symphony of music and images celebrates life between dusk and dawn. Directed by Lawrence Johnston (Eternity) and superbly shot by legendary cinematographer Laurie McInnes. "A magical mystery tour into the nocturnal." — Variety

Night and Day

Bam gua nat

Hong Sang-soo

From Korea's master of irony Hong Sang-soo, this ruthlessly unsentimental comedy of manners follows a feckless Korean painter to Paris, where he screws up the lives of several fellow expats.

No End In Sight

Charles Ferguson

A staggering overview of how America lost the war in Iraq with plentiful testimony from inside the Bush camp. "A mind-boggling litany of mistakes and poor judgements." — Film Comment

The Not Dead

Brian Hill

This intense, poetic portrait of three former British soldiers afflicted by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a resounding, deeply moving experience.

Not Quite Hollywood

Mark Hartley

An affectionate, hilarious sex-and-violence studded celebration of the 'Ozploitation' films the 70s and 90s. With George Miller, Quentin Tarantino and a cast of thousands.

O

O'Horten

Bent Hamer

A Norwegian bachelor faces retirement in this charming comedy, easily the best-loved film to debut at Cannes this year. "A small wonder... luminous and deliciously funny." — LA Times

Obscene

Daniel O'Connor, Neil Ortenberg

A highly entertaining portrait of Barney Rosset, one of the most adventurous English-language publishers of the 20th century and one of the great unsung heroes of free expression.

One Hundred Nails

Centochiodi

Ermanno Olmi

The director of The Tree of Wooden Clogs envisages a Christ-like figure in a contemporary Italian town. "Spellbindingly innocent, magical in its tenderness." — Time Out

The Order of Myths

Margaret Brown

Filmmaker Margaret Brown find the segregated South alive and well in America's oldest Mardi Gras, in Mobile Alabama. "Vibrant and revealing." — Hollywood Reporter

The Orphanage

J.A. Bayona

"A brilliant Spanish horror film... [it] is what every great horror film should be. A drama first, a fright factory second." — Financial Times. Produced by Spain's master of cinema fantasy, Guillermo del Toro.

P

Paradise

Paradiset

Jerzy Sladkowski

Hans and Kerstin have been happily married for 65 years. But can a lifetime of love stand up to a weekend of interior decorating? This charming documentary is a comic delight.

Paris

Cédric Klapisch

From the director of The Spanish Apartment, a mult-character cavalcade of life and death and love and the lack of it in the City of Lights. "A rich and satisfying indulgence." — UrbanCinefile.com.au

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

Steven Sebring

An intimate, lyrical portrait of punk pioneer Patti Smith. "If Patti Smith has ever mattered to you, you'll remember why when you see Dream of Life." — Film Comment

Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud

Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis is one of the wonders of the year, an animated feature that's more richly populated, vigorous, succinct and shrewdly funny than many a flesh-and-blood drama.

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

Jim Brown

A rousing, affectionate biographical portrait of singer/activist Pete Seeger, now in his late 80s. "As certain to get audiences singing as the man himself." — Variety

Planet B-Boy

Benson Lee

This exhilarating documentary brings us all the excitement of the 2005 break dancing Battle of the Year. Featuring insane performances and impossible choreography from the world's best b-boys.

Pop Skull

Adam Wingard

Welcome to the fevered dream world of Daniel, 20-something and losing the plot. "Dazzling... its hip sensibility is Lynch before he went into self parody." — Ant Timpson

R

[REC]

Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza

Zombies chomp on a reality TV crew (and others) in the horror flick of the year. "Run, escape, survive... but never stop recording."

Rain of the Children

Vincent Ward

Vincent Ward's deeply personal and incredibly moving film unravels and re-imagines the history-tossed life of Puhi, the elderly Tuhoe woman he first filmed as a young filmmaker in 1978.

The Red Balloon/White Mane

The classic romance of a Parisian boy and his huge red balloon returns with the same director's equally honoured White Mane, the tale of a country boy's passion for a beautiful wild horse.

Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story

Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon

An illuminating music-filled history of Stax Records, low-down cousin to Detroit's silkier Motown. "An essential account." — NY Times

The Return

Kathy Dudding

Kathy Dudding's experimental documentary – a poetic portrait of Wellington city – intercuts her grandmother's reminiscence with lyrical images of the city today and archival imagery from the past.

Revue

Predstavlenye

Sergei Loznitsa

This handsomely presented compilation of immaculately preserved 50s and 60s Soviet propaganda films offers unique insights into the mindset of a lost time and place.

River of No Return

Darlene Johnson

Memorable and revealing encounter with Yolngu woman Frances Daingangan whose part in Ten Canoes took her from traditional tribal life to the red carpet at Cannes.

The Romance of Astrea and Céladon

Les amours d’Astrée et de Céladon

Eric Rohmer

At 87, Eric Rohmer, lifelong connoisseur and satirist of the romantic misadventures of the young and self-absorbed, finds inspiration in a classic Arcadian romance.

Rubbings from a Live Man

Florian Habicht

Extravagant performing artist Warwick Broadhead recounts, re-imagines and re-enacts a life lived to the full and dogged by personal tragedy. Directed by Florian Habicht (Kaikohe Demolition).

S

Safety Last

Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

In association with the Harold Lloyd Estate, the Festival is delighted to present a Live Cinema screening of one of the classic comedies of the silent era, accompanied on the piano by Tim Dodd.

The Savages

Tamara Jenkins

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are in peak form in this American black comedy as brother and sister obliged to care for their estranged father. "Terrific." — Entertainment Weekly

Secret Sunshine

Mil-yang

Lee Chang-dong

A young mother is tested to the limits of spiritual endurance in this award-winning Korean drama. Best Actress, Cannes Film Festival. With Song Kang-ho.

Shadow of the Holy Book

Pyhän kirjan varjo

Arto Halonen

International corporate support for the bizarre and appalling regime that controls Turkmenistan is the subject of this indecently entertaining exposé, made in Michael Mooreish style.

Sharkwater

Rob Stewart

Ecowarrior Rob Stewart's spectacular film takes us swimming with the sharks, while uncovering the multi billion-dollar shark-fin trade that puts them and the world's eco-systems at risk.

The Silence Before Bach

Die Stille vor Bach

Pere Portabella

A wonderful, inventive tribute to the great composer. "Brings Bach's music to life with a mysterious, magnificent blend of drama, documentary, and quasi-surrealist whimsy." — New Yorker

Silent Light

Stellet licht

Carlos Reygadas

This tale of adultery in a Mennonite community in rural Mexico has the power of a story from the Old Testament. "This is a film of grace and greatness." — Financial Times

The Sky, the Earth and the Rain

El cielo, la tierra y la lluvia

José Luis Torres Leiva

A poetic meditation on solitude, this masterful debut frames its characters within the imposing, rugged setting of a rural coastal area in Chile.

Somers Town

Shane Meadows

From the director and star of This Is England, the comic exploits of two teenage boys adrift in London. Best New British Feature, Edinburgh Film Festival 2008. "I had a perma-grin from beginning to end." — Premiere

A Song of Good

Gregory King

After committing a shocking crime, a young man decides to become a good person. Blackly humorous Kiwi suburban crime drama by NZ director Greg King (Christmas).

The Song of Sparrows

Avaze gonjeshk-ha

Majid Majidi

In this gentle Iranian comedy an ostrich-wrangler is tempted by easy pickings in the city. Best Actor, Berlin Film Festival 2008. "Will raise plenty of charmed smiles." — Screendaily

Son of a Lion

Benjamin Gilmour

Benjamin Gilmour's audacious docudrama was shot undercover in great secrecy and danger in Pakistan's remote Northwest Frontier. "The script hums with credibility." — Financial Times

Sparrow

Man jeuk

Johnnie To

A seductive tale of a gang pf hyper-stylish pickpockets and the femme fatale who takes them on, from Hong Kong's genre-twisting Johnnie To (Election, Exiled). Starring Simon Yam, Kelly Lin.

Standard Operating Procedure

Errol Morris

Documentary auteur Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War) recounts the fruit of two years of research into events surrounding the notorious photographs from Abu Ghraib.

Sukiyaki Western Django

Miike Takashi

From Japanese maverick Miike Takashi a violent orgasmically gonzo genre mash-up that screws around with Spaghetti Western conventions.

Surfwise

Doug Pray

Highly entertaining portrait of 84-year-old surf legend 'Doc' Paskowitz and the nine kids he raised to live the nomadic surfing lifestyle. "Wonderfully engaging." — NY Times

Swedish Tango

Schwedischer Tango

Jerzy Sladkowski

An elderly couple's decision to learn the tango leads them far from their cosy rural village. A delightful, intimate portrait of old lovers trying crazy new things.

T

Taipei Story

Qingmei Zhuma

Edward Yang

A young urban couple, caught between the old and new Taiwans, inexorably drift apart. "A masterpiece... the moods it conjures up are potent and indelible." — Chicago Reader

Taxi to the Dark Side

Alex Gibney

Alex Gibney's Academy Award winning documentary digs deep into the systematised abuse and outright murder of 'enemy combatants' held in American prisons.

Teeth

Mitchell Lichtenstein

This fiendish, black comedy-horror updates the ancient myth of 'vagina dentata' into a high-concept social satire with a razor-sharp script and outlandish gore.

Terror's Advocate

L'Avocat de la terreur

Barbet Schroeder

Fascinating portrait of the enigmatic lawyer who has defended the indefensible: Klaus Barbie, Carlos the Jackal, Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussain.

The Terroriser

Kongbu Fenzi

Edward Yang

One of the greatest films of the 80s, Edward Yang's chilling existential thriller charts the havoc wreaked on a handful of lives by a prank phone call.

That Day, on the Beach

Haitan de yitian

Edward Yang

Edward Yang's epic about the position of women in contemporary Taiwan heralded a new wave in Taiwanese film. Starring Sylvia Chang.

Timecrimes

Los cronocrímenes

Nacho Vigalondo

"An incredibly well crafted time-travel story... a tense, unstoppable vision of science and natural law gone awry." — Fantastic Fest

To Each His Own Cinema

Chacun son cinéma

Raymond Depardon, Kitano Takeshi, Theo Angelopoulos, Andrei Konchalovsky, Nanni Moretti, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, David Lynch, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Zhang Yimou, Amos Gitai, Jane Campion, Atom Egoyan, Aki Kaurismäki, Olivier Assayas, Youssef Chahine, Tsai Ming-liang, Lars von Trier, Raúl Ruiz, Claude Lelouch, Gus Van Sant, Roman Polanski, Michael Cimino, David Cronenberg, Wong Kar-wai, Abbas Kiarostami, Bille August, Elia Suleiman, Manoel de Oliveira, Walter Salles, Wim Wenders, Ken Loach, Chen Kaige

A fascinating, entertaining compilation of short films about movie-going by some of the world's greatest directors: Cronenberg, Lynch, Campion, Kitano, Salles, Kiarostami, Polanski etc etc...

tom thumb

George Pal

A boy no bigger than a thumb can be a hero! Grimms' fairy tales were never more upbeat that this high-spirited 1958 MGM adaptation starring Russ Tamblyn and Peter Sellers.

Trouble Is My Business

Juliette Veber

Documentary portrait of the dedicated unconventional former assistant principal responsible for student management and discipline at Aorere College in Mangere.

U

The Universe of Keith Haring

Christina Clausen

Lively, affectionate portrait of graffiti-influenced 80s artist Keith Haring, who painted on every surface he could find, including cars, walls, T-shirts and the subway.

Up the Yangtze

Yung Chang

Beyond the tourist views of life on the soon-to-be-flooded Yangtze River. "An astonishing documentary of culture clash and the erasure of history amid China's economic miracle." — NY Times

Useless

Wu yong

Jia Zhang-ke

The great Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke (The World, Still Life) presents an impressionistic, exquisitely shot documentary on China's (and, by implication, the world's) garment industry.

V

Vexille

Bekushiru: 2077 nippon sakoku

Sori

State-of-the-art animation and explosive big screen action from the team behind Appleseed. "Anime for the high-def generation." — Empire

The Visitor

Thomas McCarthy

A shy, disillusioned university professor retrieves his heart in this quiet, soulful drama from writer/director of The Station Agent. "A heartfelt human drama that sneaks up and floors you." — Rolling Stone

Vogelfrei

Anna Viduleja, Gatis Smits, Janis Kalejs

Fresh and engaging takes on the four ages of man from the brightest new talents of the newly emergent Latvian film industry. "Beautiful filmmaking." — The Lumiere Reader

W

Waltz with Bashir

Ari Folman

This extraordinary animated film captures director Air Folman's struggle to recover his lost memories of what he saw and what he did during Israel's ill-fated 1980s war in Lebanon.

Water Lilies

Naissance des pieuvres

Céline Sciamma

Crisply observed drama of schoolgirl crushes, jealousies and sexual exploration on a synchronised swimming team. "Very provocative and stylish." — The Guardian

The Wave

Die Welle

Dennis Gansel

This cautionary tale set in a German high school outlines how fascism starts and takes hold – quickly leading to violence and devastation. "Seductive and horrifying." — Hollywood Reporter

We Can Not Exist In This World Alone

Two Bens, Ben Rivers from the UK and US-based Ben Russell, converge on the South Pacific to present a programme combining their experimental work making for a vivid varied film experience.

Welcome to the Sticks

Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis

Dany Boon

This affectionate satire of an urban trendy transferred to a provincial town is now the most successful French film of all time.

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell

Matt Wolf

Celebratory portrait of avant-garde musician and disco producer Arthur Russell. "A long-neglected cult musician gets his well-deserved moment in the limelight." — Screendaily

Wonderful Town

Aditya Assarat

A love affair is at the centre of this haunting picture of life in a Thai coastal village after the tsunami. "A quiet, beautiful film... laden with tenderness." — indieWIRE

Y

Yella

Christian Petzold

Christian Petzold (Something to Remind Me, Wolfsburg) confirms his status as one of Germany's best young directors with this intense, off-centre thriller.

Yes, That's Me

Costa Botes

The music does the talking in Costa Botes' affectionate portrait of Dave Murphy, Wellington blues guitar legend.

Yi Yi

A One and a Two

Edward Yang

Edward Yang's sublimely moving family drama was his best-known and final film. "The work of a master in full command of the resources of his art." — NY Times

Young@Heart

Stephen Walker

A group of elderly choristers performs a repertoire of hipster favourites in this amazingly satisfying British documentary. "A sobering, poetic ode to joy." — New Yorker