Films by Country



Greg Mottola

“The director of Superbad grows up with an engaging movie about young love, crappy amusement parks and the listless days of summer.” — With Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds. Great 80s soundtrack.

The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector

Vikram Jayanti

Riveting interview with pop genius/convicted killer. “A hell of an exclusive… a synthesis of a psychological profile, a critical history and a candid, surprising interview.” — The Times

Animation for Kids 2009

Selected by kids for kids, our annual panorama of the world’s best animated shorts for the Festival’s youngest audience (we suggest 3–7 this year) has plenty to offer their grown-up escort parties.

Best Worst Movie

Michael Paul Stephenson

Michael Paul Stephenson, the child lead in 1989’s Troll 2, allegedly the World’s Worst Movie, turns director. He reassembles the key perpetrators and checks out the cult phenomenon this laughably beserk troll-free film has become.

Big River Man

John Maringouin

Marathon swimmer Martin Strel, attributing his endurance to a diet of horse burgers and alcohol, takes on the Amazon. “[Strel has] so much personality it’s a wonder he fits on the screen.” — NY Times

The Black Pirate

Albert Parker

The movies’ original, quintessential daredevil megastar and gallant rogue, Douglas Fairbanks, storms the high seas in this 20s action comedy classic. Visiting UK piano maestro Neil Brand matches his every move.

The Cat and the Canary

Paul Leni

Beautifully restored print of Paul Leni's 1927 silent classic in which a young woman must spend the night alone in a creepy gothic mansion. Accompanied by the exhilarating score (with theremin) composed by Festival guest Neil Brand, conducted by US maestro Timothy Brock.


Steven Soderbergh

Benicio Del Toro is riveting in Steven Soderbergh’s epic portrait of the revolutionary icon. “The finest film by an American director this year, a monumental achievement of astonishing audacity and ambition.” — Sight & Sound

Chuck Close

Marion Cajori

This portrait of the great New York portraitist, he of the giant photorealist heads, is an exemplary artist documentary. “If you are even remotely interested in the art world, this is a must-see.” — Time Out NY

Coraline 3D

Henry Selick

Translated from the dark kid-lit of Neil Gaiman into the hand-made (computer enhanced) 3-D dreamscapes of Nightmare Before Christmas’ Henry Selick, Coraline is the year’s most richly imagined Hollywood thrill ride.

The Cove

Louie Psihoyos

As gripping as a D-day assault movie, this spectacular activist film by National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos follows US conservation group Oceanic Preservation as it exposes Japan’s dolphin trade.

Drag Me to Hell

Sam Raimi

Sam Raimi, the super-8 horror nut who became a Hollywood titan (Spiderman 1,2,3) returns to his roots (Evil Dead 1,2,3) with a hellacious and hysterical chill-ride for Alison Lohman, a bank clerk with a PR deficit.

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.

Every Little Step

Adam Del Deo, James D. Stern

This documentary chronicles a heart-stopping series of auditions for the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line. “A thrilling combination of documentary and musical dazzler.” — Rolling Stone

The Gold Rush

Charlie Chaplin

This collaboration between the Festival and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra offers laughter and spectacle with one of the great, endlessly rewatchable cinema comedies. US maestro Timothy Brock conducts his new reconstruction of Chaplin’s own superb score.

Goodbye Solo

Ramin Bahrani

A gregarious young Senegalese taxi driver tries to persuade his aging white passenger that life is great in this continually surprising American South tale of clashing spirits and generations. “Wonderful.” — NY Times


Paul Solet

The unborn become the ravenous undead in this elegantly nasty trip to the dark side of politically correct parenting. “Treats its audience’s sense of propriety the way a baby treats a diaper.” — Variety

The Higher Force

Stóra planið

Olaf de Fleur Johannesson

From Iceland a shaggy dog tale of wannabe tough-guys. If you hear more hilariously mangled-English hard-man dialogue this year – deliberate or otherwise – we’d like to know about it.

Homegrown: Works on Video Drama

MIC Toi Rerehiko presents the best new NZ short films selected by a panel of industry experts. This years’ crop of short dramas testifies to the diversity and invention of Aotearoa’s finest up-and-coming filmmakers.


Lynn Shelton

A sneaky bromantic comedy – made by a woman – about straight male bonding gone a little too far. “A funny, strong, sympathetic dick flick that will bury itself deep within your most intimate areas.” — Cinematical

It Might Get Loud

Davis Guggenheim

Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) throws together Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White as a one-off supergroup in a celebration of the ultimate rock instrument. “A three-headed, amped-up, guitar-shredding slamdown.” — Variety


Andrew van Baal, Mark Flanagan

An elegant compilation of some of the great indie music and comedy acts recorded at the legendary LA club. With Andrew Bird, Aimee Mann, Bic Runga, Flight of the Conchords, Fiona Apple and many more.

Len Lye - Discoveries and Rarities

Roger Horrocks introduces Art That Moves, his new film about New Zealand’s favourite 20th-century expatriate artist and filmmaker, and presents a cornucopia of rarities and recent restorations.

The Limits of Control

Jim Jarmusch

An enigmatic lone man travels through Spain in this stylish exercise in hitman chic from Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Dead Man). “Like a perfect piece of jazz – it sends you out of the theater in a blissed haze.” — Papermag

Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine

Amei Wallach, Marion Cajori

Fascinating interview-based portrait of brilliant nonagenarian sculptor. “The filmmakers seem to have developed an unusual intimacy with their subject… A privileged look into a psyche rendered solid.” — Village Voice

Mock Up On Mu

Craig Baldwin

From the wonderfully warped mind of Craig Baldwin (Tribulation 99, Sonic Outlaws), a delirious found-footage mash-up obsessing on Californian cultdom, the pre-history of Scientology and the American space race.

Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies

Arne Glimcher

This smart, concise Scorsese-sponsored doco argues that Cubism was a response to the new technology of cinema at the turn of the 20th century. “A dazzling, opulent treasure trove.” — Variety

Red Cliff

Chi bi

John Woo

Action maestro John Woo returns to China for this historical epic, the biggest budget Asian movie ever made. “Ratchets the entertainment factor up to 11.” — Japan Times. With Tony Leung, Kaneshiro Takeshi.

The September Issue

R.J. Cutler

A deliciously revealing documentary about the fashion world’s annual bible, the September issue of Vogue, and its formidable editor Anna Wintour. “A dishy and engrossing peek inside the fashion world’s corridors of power.” — Variety

Sin Nombre

Cary Joji Fukunaga

“This harrowing, pulse-pounding thriller, shot entirely in Mexico by young American hotshot director Cary Joji Fukunaga, looks like the debut film of the year.” — Best Director, Sundance Film Festival.

Soul Power

Jeffrey Levy-Hinte

James Brown, Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz, B.B. King and more burn down the house, Zaire 1974. “Joyously funky… another legendary concert sees the light of day through the miracle of technology.” — Variety

Theater of War

John Walter

A 2006 New York revival of Mother Courage in New York starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline provides the foundation for an invigorating consideration of the enduring significance of the theatre of Bertolt Brecht.



Park Chan-wook

Korean auteur extraordinaire Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) unleashes his frenzied take on a ravenous vampire priest movie. “A truly original take on the vampire film from a true cinematic master.” — Twitch

Treeless Mountain

So Yong Kim

Two little Korean girls are the stars of this intimate drama of childhood. “Conveys the joys, worries and hurts of early childhood with keen poignancy and barely a speck of sentimentality.” — Eye Weekly


James Toback

Frank portrait of disgraced heavyweight champion. “A hard-won perspective on a hard-fought life, in a movie that’s a contender for best sports documentary, heavyweight class.” — Time

Valentino: The Last Emperor

Matt Tyrnauer

The opulent lifestyle and fabulous haute-couture fashions of the great designer Valentino. “One for the ages. It reveals one of the past century’s most elegantly lived lives.” — NY Times Style

Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman

Eric Bricker

This doco about veteran photographer Julius Shulman is a treasure trove of modernist architectural eye-candy, a coffee table book come to life. “Nirvana for lovers of mid-century modern and fine-art photography.” — Variety

Wake in Fright

Ted Kotcheff

A brilliantly graphic picture of Outback mateship on a bender, this is a legendary, hard-to-see classic of 70s cinema. “A fabulous restoration of one of the greatest Australian films ever made.” — Sydney Film Festival

We Live in Public

Ondi Timoner

On the 40th anniversary of the Internet, this Sundance Award winning doco explores the psychic effects of the web through the eyes of the greatest Internet visionary and provocateur you’ve never heard of – Josh Harris.

Wendy and Lucy

Kelly Reichardt

“Michelle Williams is superb as a struggling girl who loses her dog in Kelly Reichardt’s wise, deceptively simple tale.” — Newsweek

Winnebago Man

Ben Steinbauer

A fascinating, funny and surprisingly moving encounter with the man who shot to YouTube notoriety as ‘Winnebago Man’, the world’s angriest TV salesman. Check out the clips and you’ll want to see this movie!

Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

A generous mix of concert footage and personal encounter with Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, possessor of one of the most gorgeous voices in world music today. “Inspiring.” — Independent Weekly