- German with live English translation
“The director of Superbad grows up with an engaging movie about young love, crappy amusement parks and the listless days of summer.” — Salon.com. With Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds. Great 80s soundtrack.
Pop culture returns to Afghanistan after 30 years of Taliban rule. Though the old-guard elites vehemently oppose it, millions tune in weekly to Tolo TV’s jubilantly groovy Afghan Star. “Fantastic.” — Oprah Winfrey
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
Celebrate ten years of the alternative music festival All Tomorrow’s Parties with Sonic Youth, Portishead, Nick Cave, Iggy and the Stooges, Patti Smith, Animal Collective, Daniel Johnston, and many many more.
Appalling many, thrilling others, outraging all, hailed as a brilliantly hellish vision, dismissed as a stunt, Lars Von Trier’s psychosexual horror film was the one that dominated the headlines from Cannes.
Der Baader Meinhof Komplex
The major German film of the year. This vivid, provocative thriller traces the activities of the violent group of self-styled anti-fascists who called themselves the Red Army Faction and terrorised West Germany.
Five zealous young journos, one of them a Kiwi, ignored every warning and kept their cameras rolling as the Indonesians invaded East Timor in 1975. This intense new political thriller tells why they were silenced.
Les Plages d'Agnès
Humorous and illuminating autobiography from Agnès Varda, the lone female among French New Wave directors. “Inspiring… this film should be given to all young hopeful filmmakers.” — Sight & Sound
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.
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 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.
A Dutch filmmaker risked his life to make this punchy and disconcertingly beautiful doco exposing exploitation and ecological disaster behind the Kenyan flower industry that supplies Europe with roses.
“Bright Star tells the story of the love affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawne with a classical poise, exquisite craftsmanship and a piercing tenderness.” — Screendaily
Graeme Tuckett’s lavishly illustrated documentary-cum-tribute reviews the groundbreaking achievements of Barry Barclay and is constructed around a long revealing interview with the filmmaker.
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.
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
A stunning Michelle Pfeiffer reunites with Dangerous Liaisons director Stephen Frears to play a cynical courtesan in love with a younger man in this sumptuous Belle Epoque drama. With Rupert Friend, Kathy Bates.
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
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.
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.
Wellington’s progressive New Dance Group (1945-47) is remembered in reconstructed dance and a generous quantity of archival performance footage in this charming doco by Shirley Horrocks.
“An absorbing study of a man coming to terms with his emotional failings and a subtle portrait of post-Apartheid South Africa… a very faithful, hugely successful adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s Booker Prize winning novel.” — Film4.com
Video artist Johan Grimonprez has made a stimulating, highly entertaining mash-up of Hitchcock TV intros, 60s newsreel footage and instant coffee ads tracing the Cold War origins of catastrophe culture.
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.
Carey Mulligan’s enchanting performance in this early-60s getting-of-wisdom tale is one of the wonders of the year. Adapted by Nick Hornby from Lynn Barber’s memoir and directed by Lone Scherfig (Italian for Beginners).
Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.
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
Eight of the world’s most provocative philosophers express themselves in ten minutes flat. With Peter Singer, Cornel West, Slavoj Žižek, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Judith Butler, Avital Ronell, Kwame Anthony Appiah.
“A probing and discerning work that examines the emotional and personal consequences of the religious strife and sectarian violence roiling Hindus and Muslims in contemporary India.” — Screendaily
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.
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
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
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.
Sent a horrifying pornographic video featuring his recently deceased daughter, a grieving father swears retribution. “A very badass REVENGE flick.” — Harry Knowles, Ain’t It Cool News
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
Film noir meets bloody backwoods whodunit in this new digi-thriller from writer/director James Napier-Robertson. With Gareth Reeves, Cameron Rhodes, Ian Mune, Renato Bartolomei, Tom Hern. World Premiere.
British political satire takes on Washington in this lacerating spoof of bureaucratic opportunism. “Horribly brilliant… The acting is superb, and the writing is relentlessly funny – vicious and delicious.” — The Guardian
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
Best Irish Film at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh, this tale of runaway kids thrives on the gritty and irresistible charm of its two young stars and a generous helping of Bob Dylan on the soundtrack.
Florian Habicht describes his funny, affectionate film about the annual Ninety Mile Beach Red Snapper Classic fishing competition as a ‘sequel of sorts’ to his classic Kaikohe Demolition.
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.
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
Direct from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, director Ken Loach in laughter mode, featuring Steve Evets as a messed-up postman who receives spiritual guidance from none other than soccer idol Eric Cantona.
Compact perceptive portrait of one-of-a-kind self-made man Rob Moodie, most recently famous for appearing in court dressed as Alice in Wonderland to protest against male-dominated corruption in the New Zealand judiciary.
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
“Constantly outrageous… this tale of factory workers avenging themselves against their bosses is… a wickedly hilarious, marvellously calibrated exercise in deadpan style owing as much to Buñuel as to the Coen brothers.” — Variety
Fra Thailand til Thy
This lively doco portrait of Thai wives in a remote Danish town provides intimate insights and challenges PC prejudices about arranged marriages in which emotional comfort is frankly bartered for economic security.
An affectionate and informative ‘behind the scenes’ doco showing the making of the acclaimed Samson & Delilah through the eyes of its two young non-professional Aboriginal lead actors.
Luit Bieringa’s lovely portrait of Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey intersperses a lyrical picture of McLeavey’s Wellington with Sam Neill’s readings from his correspondence, and frank conversations with the man himself.
Crammed with absurd and wonderful detail, this claymation feature from Oscar winner Adam Elliot (Harvie Krumpet) is a mordantly funny tale of pen-friendship between a lonely Australian girl and a paranoid Manhattanite.
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.
A smartly minimalistic science fiction drama, Moon is a tightly wound, man-alone-in-space workout. Sam Rockwell is dynamite as Sam Bell, the lone inhabitant on a moon base. “Alarmingly vivid.” — San Francisco Bay Guardian
A wonderfully down-to-earth comedy drama about a young Melbourne mother recovering from a terrifying illness and tackling some of life’s big questions, and even more of the small ones. From the director of Look Both Ways.
Classic NZ documentary. “A chillingly prescient study of the erosion of plant genetic diversity in the Third World by seed companies working for First-World profit.” — Peter Calder, NZ Herald
British composer and performer Neil Brand discusses and demonstrates the art of improvised accompaniment to silent film. A funny, illuminating and entertainingly interactive show.
Big business and a small, struggling rural support town are on a collision course in this good natured comedy made on a shoestring budget with extensive community goodwill.
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
This intelligent, layered doco puts the Gaza Strip death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie in the context of a new generation of globalised activists crossing the world to put themselves in harm’s way.
Joyously celebrating remix culture, Brett Gaylor raises fascinating questions about sampling culture and copyright laws in this love letter to his favourite recording artist, audio bricoleur Girl Talk.
Admiring portrait of South African women’s organisation Bobbi Bear, which fights to repair the damage caused by child sexual abuse. By acclaimed UK documentarian Kim Longinotto (Divorce Iranian Style, Sisters in Law).
Mesmerising, and politically red hot, Warwick Thornton’s feature about a pair of outcast outback Aboriginal kids won the Camera d’Or for Best First Film at the Cannes Film Festival and is an unexpected hit in Australia.
Serious fun for the kids in a medieval monastery! “Visually ravishing and doused in Celtic magic, Irish animated feature The Secret of Kells takes as its plot source and stylistic inspiration the eighth-century Book of Kells.” — Screendaily
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
Spectacular anime from the maker of Ghost in the Shell tells the story of a group of genetically modified eternally-young fighter aces in a world where war has become a company-sponsored reality game.
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
New Zealand premiere screenings of the feature debut by Armagan Ballantyne from an original screenplay by Briar Grace-Smith. Already a popular and critical success at the Rotterdam and Berlin Film Festivals.
Wellington-raised, Paris-based saxophonist Lucien Johnson, a band of local avant-garde virtuosos and veteran Kiwi filmmaker Geoff Murphy (Utu) collaborate on an exuberantly macabre musical tribute to Edgar Allen Poe.
NZ documentary classics. The Spirits and the Times Will Teach focuses on the reminiscences of two kuia, Ngākahikatea Wirihana and Herepo Rongo. Waikato explores the support of the Waikato people for the King movement.
NZ documentary classics. The Prophets concerns the Tūhoe of the Urewera country and the Ringatū religion. The Great Trees talks about leadership and education. Sir Āpirana Ngata is remembered.
NZ documentary classics. Tūrangawaewae focuses on the establishment of a new urban marae in Porirua. The Carving Cries explores the importance of passing on shared memories, knowledge and history to the next generation.
Haile Gerima’s Ethiopian epic was named as the Best African Film of the year at the 40th Pan-African Film Festival. An impassioned account of a country at war – and at war with itself – for 40 years.
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.
World premiere screenings of captivating, ravishing doco about a charismatic East Coast couple raising their six children to respect nature and survive in the wild.
Fra Thy til Thailand
This lively doco portrait of a marriage broker in a small Thai village challenges PC prejudices about arranged marriages in which emotional comfort is frankly bartered for economic security.
Classic 70s TV documentaries made in the Hokianga by Barry Barclay explore the legend of ‘Opo the friendly dolphin’ and an old woman’s memories of pioneering life and the niceties of civilised life.
Trip to Asia: Die Suche nach dem Einklang
Fascinating doco penetrates the mysterious inner life and communal ego of the famously closed, elite Berlin Philharmonic during a breakneck concert tour of Asia with conductor Sir Simon Rattle.
1.9 out of 10 — IMDB.com. Could this be the worst movie ever made? It doesn’t even have trolls. Our screening will be intro’ed by star Michael Stephenson in anticipation of his own doco about Troll 2 mania, Best Worst Movie.
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
Longingly sensuous, the year’s hippest, freshest, most sweetly inclusive date movie. A lyrical tale of two solitary expats crossing paths in the international art-rock milieu of a sprawling East London squat.
This intimate, emotionally enthralling, colourful depiction of the living Tibetan Buddhist tradition documents the four-year search for a reincarnated master through the eyes of a sincere and passionate disciple.
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
A visionary dramatisation of a notorious tale from Australia’s convict past shot in the spectacular Tasmanian wilderness. “Beautifully performed, and shaded with authentically bitter Celtic wit.” — Edinburgh Film Festival
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
Critic and filmmaker Mark Peranson introduces his unconventional documentary about the making of an unconventional film, Birdsong. “A real artistic inquiry and celebration.” — Variety
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
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.
“Michelle Williams is superb as a struggling girl who loses her dog in Kelly Reichardt’s wise, deceptively simple tale.” — Newsweek
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!
“Biopic offers could be waved at Kiran Bedi following Yes Madam, Sir, an enthralling chronicle of her brilliant, tempestuous career as India’s first elite policewoman.” — Variety. Narrated by Helen Mirren.
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