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Rachel Weisz is Hypatia, history's first recorded female philosopher, in Alejandro Amenábar's extravagantly mounted epic of the declining Roman Empire. “Fascinating… crammed with both stirring images and ideas." — LA Times
Brit profile of an inflammatory American comic too hot for America. “A groundbreaking comedian gets a step closer to immortality.” — Hollywood Reporter. “Exceedingly funny… Scorched ears never felt so good.” — Austin Chronicle
The best Australian badass movie since Chopper, David Michôd’s Sundance winner shows us a violent Melbourne crime family imploding in the iron grip of its pint-sized matriarch. With Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver.
Revelatory, complex and moving documentary about the legacy of British playwright Andrea Dunbar (Rita, Sue & Bob Too) whose incisive portrayals of working class life, from the time she was 15, mirrored her own.
Changes in official attitudes to mental illness from the 19th century until now are reflected in the architectural history of New Zealand’s psychiatric institutions, in Kathy Dudding’s poetic, emotionally-loaded essay film.
A sardonic drama about the entanglements of 20-something twins Lauren and Jeannie as they (don’t quite) confront romantic relationships and career-path crises. “Smart, sweet and deeply involving.” — Screendaily
This mesmerising, densely beautiful film from Sri Lanka takes us on a mysteriously symbolic journey with a young man who plunges to earth. “Like a freshly remembered dream.” — San Francisco Bay Guardian
Charming portrait of NY Times fashion photo-columnist who identifies trends on the street and at high society parties. “We all get dressed for Bill.” — Anna Wintour. “A great documentary for a deserving fashion legend.” — Esquire
James Nguyen’s insanely bad eco-horror, inspired by The Birds, Apocalypse Now and An Inconvenient Truth, is already a legend. “We confirm that it’s the worst-film-ever experience of the season and that you need to see it.” — Vice
Wellington filmmaker Costa Botes (Forgotten Silver) tells the story of David Klein who in 1976 invented the Jelly Belly, now a billion-dollar enterprise from which he earns barely anything. “Sweet and surprising.” — Hot Docs
An extraordinary three-part epic of the rise and fall of Carlos the Jackal. “Edgar Ramirez inhabits the title role with the arrogant charisma of Brando in his prime. It’s an astonishing film.” — indieWIRE
Best Actress Award Cannes 2010. “An intriguing, not-quite love story featuring French superstar Juliette Binoche, English opera singer William Shimell and the spectacular Tuscan countryside.” — Salon.com
Documentary about the legacy of the late Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio who design and build innovative structures for the less fortunate in impoverished Alabama.
Imminent man-made catastrophe is explained with alarming clarity and conviction by doom theorist Michael Ruppert, who already accurately predicted the economic meltdown. “Shockingly persuasive.” — NY Times
In this slyly excruciating comedy of embarrassment from the Duplass brothers, John C. Reilly finds his courtship of Marisa Tomei seriously threatened by her jealous, awe-inspiringly passive-aggressive 21-year-old son (Jonah Hill).
Soudain le vide
France's fearless Gaspar Noé (Irreversible) has created a vast, stupefying vision of life after death, a hallucinatory extravaganza. "An experience equally sublime and infuriating, revelatory and painful, ecstatic and terrifying." — Philadelphia Inquirer
Flagrantly attention-seeking but famously anonymous, Brit street-artist/prankster Banksy has now put his name to this energetic, headily entertaining item of art-world provocation. “A head-spinning, wild ride.” — Salon.com
This tense, atmospheric, true Cold War spy movie centres on a disillusioned KGB colonel who risked everything in the early 80s to let the West know just how thoroughly Soviet spies had infiltrated American security.
This horrifying indictment reveals the full hour of much-quoted footage shot and subsequently abandoned by SS cameramen in 1942 in the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw – and encourages us to consider exactly why it was ever made.
Boundary-pushing British comedian Chris Morris shatters the mythology of the lethally focused jihadist in a taboo-busting comedy about four terrorists who are complete dorks. “In the Loop meets Paradise Now.” — Salon.com
Award-winning doc about the ecological poisoning caused by ‘fracking’, the mining of ‘clean’ natural gas. “You haven’t experienced environmental dread until you’ve seen tap water catch fire.” — Now
“If you want to know why Glenn Gould is considered one of the greatest pianists of the last century… this is the movie to see.” — Vancouver International Film Festival. “An invigorating and brightly unsettling journey.” — Patti Smith
Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan star in Roman Polanski’s sharp-witted adaptation of the Robert Harris bestseller. “A gripping conspiracy thriller and scabrous political satire… addictive and outrageous.” — The Guardian
A charming and illuminating encounter with artist Gordon Crook, who settled in Wellington from the UK in 1972 and has produced a wealth of drawing, collage, photography, painting and tapestry.
“Council nemesis, freedom fighter and social revolutionary; Graham Gordon is one of the unique characters of the Waitakere Ranges… The West has never been wilder than in this beautifully crafted documentary.” — Bob Harvey
Irish women, from preschoolers to elderly widows, talk about the men they love in this simple, affecting award-winning documentary. “Every moment is spot-on: touching, funny, modest, timeless.” — Austin Chronicle
A selection of new dance films, both performance and documentary, from New Zealand filmmakers; including a documentary portrait of the life of Shona Dunlop McTavish who brought modern dance to Dunedin.
This year’s crop of digital short dramas embraces comedy and drama and demonstrates the diverse talents of up-and-coming New Zealand filmmakers. Selected from an overwhelming number of entries by a panel of industry experts.
A spicy mix of funny and imaginative stories that span animation, documentary and experimental genres. Short films by up-and-coming New Zealand filmmakers, selected from an overwhelming number of entries nationwide by a panel of industry experts.
The best New Zealand short films of the year as selected by a panel of industry experts. This wide-ranging programme includes new work by Katie Wolfe, Dan Salmon, Zia Mandviwalla and the bold and provocative Manurewa.
Actor William McInnes nails the can-do, get-ahead, ever-loving Kiwi dad (with rocks in his head) in Brendon Donovan’s comedy-drama. With Robyn Malcolm. Introducing Josh McKenzie as Gazza’s kart-racing son and number one hope.
James Franco is uncannily right as young beat poet Allen Ginsberg in this film about his epochal 1957 poem. “It’s a heady flight into not just a particular poem but into the act of creativity itself.” — Hollywood Reporter
Io sono l’amore
Tilda Swinton in a hyper-stylish drama about a wealthy Milanese clan. “An exquisite, all-enveloping feast of sensual pleasures. It’s almost certainly the most elegant piece of cinema you’ll see this year.” — The Times
This new animated classic from the director of The Triplets of Belleville, scripted by Jacques Tati, tells the sweet, funny tale of a magician travelling in Scotland and the impressionable young girl who adopts him as her dad.
Jim Carrey as flamboyant real-life con artist Steven Russell and Ewan McGregor as his quiet, camp boyfriend! “One of the sharpest, blackest and funniest comedies of the year.” — Empire
Rawiri Paratene is the self-proclaimed Second Son of God needing a miracle to save his down-and-out friends from eviction in Mike and Rosemary Riddell’s heartfelt drama. With Sara Wiseman, Ian Mune, Greg Johnson.
“The definitive screen investigation of the global economic crisis, providing hard evidence of flagrant amorality – and of a new nonfiction master at work.” — Variety. Lucid and informative, the hottest doco at Cannes this year.
Opfindelsen af Dr Nakamats
Entertaining portrait of manically creative 80-year-old Japanese inventor who holds the record for individual patents – over 3,000 – and counts the floppy disk and an aphrodisiac called Love Jet amongst his inventions.
Moving, illuminating portrait of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, graffiti artist and party boy who became an art world star at 21. Never-before-seen footage. “Definitive.” — Moving Pictures
“Pioneer comedian. Plastic-surgery freak. Red-carpet maven. Foul-mouthed shock artist. No matter how you think of her, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is likely to expand your idea of who, exactly, Joan Rivers is.” — San Francisco International Film Festival
Inspired by The Lives of Others, Czech director Jan Hřebejk (Divided We Fall) has created a resonant drama dealing with the complex intersection of personal lives and communist-era state surveillance in his own country.
Casey Affleck turns in a chilling performance as a psychopathic sheriff in Michael Winterbottom’s violent country noir, adapted from the Jim Thompson novel. “An entertaining and brilliant psychological portrait.” — Interview
La Danse: Le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris
A portrait of one of the world’s great ballet companies by one of the world’s great documentarians. “Sumptuous in its length and graceful in its rhythm… this is one of the finest dance films ever made.” — NY Times
A zealous, ingenious cinematographer from an early age, Kiwi Clive Neeson delivers a glorious compilation from a lifetime so far of filming surfing, snowboarding, skiing and adventure sports around the world.
Architect I.M. Pei guides us through his creative process as he works, at the age of 92, on his serene, white Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. Beware: this film is designed to make you want to travel to Cairo, Córdoba and Qatar.
Widely dubbed the Das Boot of tank warfare, this visceral, indicting Israeli film was awarded the Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival. “Powerful and original… An astonishing piece of cinema.” — NY Times
Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career) has been documenting the lives of three Adelaide women since they were 14. We meet them now at 47. “A moving and challenging insight into the heroism of ordinary lives.” — ABC Radio
Sean Byrne’s macabre kidnapping tale is like a demented blend of Misery and an 80s high school prom flick. “Byrne spills blood, boils brains and cannibalises naked teens with wicked energy.” — Screendaily
A fascinating portrait of Mark Hogancamp, who built an elaborate scale-model world in his backyard as a way to cope with the after-effects of a brutal beating. “Outsider art has never been as riveting – or as revealing.” — Now
This lively visit with artist Michael Smither marks the second in a series planned by filmmaker Tony Hiles to chronicle one of the country’s most instantly recognisable painters at work through his eighth decade.
Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Oscar-nominated doco about Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 handed the NY Times a 7000-page top secret dossier revealing the truth about US involvement in Vietnam. “A straight-ahead, enthralling story of moral courage.” — New York
Beautifully animated film based on J.R. Ackerley’s classic tale of man and dog. “Droll and tender… The intensely personal, mutually possessive devotion between man and man’s best friend gets a thorough probing.” — Variety
Set over a single night before the beginning of a new school year, The Myth of the American Sleepover captures the enduring wistfulness of teenhood and marks a unique and idiosyncratic debut from director David Robert Mitchell.
In this intense contemplation of the singer’s art, Pedro Costa films Jeanne Balibar painstakingly rehearsing and recording. “A startling and lucid lesson in filming musical performance and a cinephilic marvel.” — New Yorker
Nostalgia de la luz
Astronomy, archaeology and history are mesmerisingly interwoven and juxtaposed in this visually breathtaking meditation on Chile’s far distant and more recent past by the remarkable documentarian Patricio Guzmán.
Superb modern revival of classic 50s choreography shot on location in NY. “Few ballets capture what it means to be young in New York City like Jerome Robbins’s 1958 NY Export: Opus Jazz.” — New York
Absorbing, challenging critique of the ‘War on Terror’ interweaves the stories of two brothers-in-law: one Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard (now driving a cab in Yemen), the other a Guantánamo Bay prisoner charged with war crimes.
A miraculously photographed showcase of some of the sea’s least seen and most incredible specimens, this is an immersive cinema experience to be relished while you have the chance on the big screen.
“Julien Temple concludes his cinematic history of punk… making a persuasive, highly entertaining case for why rabble-rousing musical renegades Dr Feelgood are the unsung progenitors of the movement.” — The Scotsman
C’era una volta il West
Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, and Morricone in the Everest of Italian westerns. Superb new CinemaScope restoration of the 1968 classic. “Magnificent… the antiquated genre’s triumphant final masterpiece.” — Slant
Charming portrait of Stefan Knüpfer, Steinway piano tuner at work with some very famous clients: Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder, Till Fellner and Pierre-Laurent Aimard.
Nicole Holofcener’s (Lovely & Amazing) spiky comedy of liberal guilt delivers a pleasingly rounded portrait of a handful of lively Manhattan women, bound together by family ties and real estate envy. With Catherine Keener.
Jemaine Clement, Hayden Frost, Heath ‘Chopper’ Franklin, Tim Finn! A new generation of comic talent has a ball in Jason Stutter’s film of Ronald Hugh Morrieson’s cult classic of Kiwi Gothic lit.
A collection of abstract, dream-like short films that capture diversity in Kiwi experience and challenge familiar concepts of national identity.
Twenty-five years after the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, this Dutch documentary recalls the events and examines activism past and present with six of the original crew members now living on Waiheke.
The sumptuous classic about a lovely young ballerina caught between love and her burning passion for dance has been restored to dazzling splendour. “Magnificent… Ballet’s most memorable depiction in film.” — Village Voice
Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, front girls of the 70s-era teen proto-punk sensation, The Runaways. “The sheer force of the girl-power energy… will leave you jumpy.” — Vanity Fair
Screenwriter Stephen Sinclair (Braindead) turns writer/director with this bittersweet comedy about a couple of refugee artists from Russia (Stephen Papps, Elena Stejko) getting to grips with life in Auckland.
Women’s rugby in patriarchal Iran may sound strange to rugby-mad Kiwis, but this documentary proves that there is a will, if only a way can be found around the discouragement of hardline authorities.
Vivid, unvarnished portrait of New Zealand’s itinerant, ever-loquacious, rock ’n’ roll bard. With Robin White, Gary McCormick, C.K. Stead, David Kilgour, Dick Frizzell, Brian Edwards and a brief appearance by Minstrel.
Startling doco about academic views of tribal life in the Amazon. “The field of anthropology goes under the magnifying glass in this fiery investigation of the seminal research on Yanomami Indians.” — Sundance Film Festival
For the third successive year the Festival’s long-standing, popular and much-cherished collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is dedicated to the eternal comic wonder of the great silent clowns.
This enlightening, visually stunning film takes us on a journey into privatised space travel and the 21st-century legacy of the Soviet space programme.
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley are hipster geneticists and director Vincenzo Natali (Cube) ups the ante to create a hybrid horror that grafts the cine-DNA from Frankenstein, Rosemary’s Baby and The Fly.
West Papuans speak (and sing) of years of persecution in this potent activist film by a white Australian who first travelled to West Papua as a tourist in 1999 and found himself caught up in the independence cause.
Fascinating, funny portrait of Stephin Merritt, the notoriously bad-tempered writer of beguiling literate American pop, and his band the Magnetic Fields. “Will intrigue and entertain even those unfamiliar with their music.” — Time Out
A team of 21st-century cowboys herd thousands of sheep to summer pastures in the mountain grasslands of Montana. “A really intimate, beautifully shot examination of the connection between man and beast.” — NY Times
Entourage star, filmmaker Adrian Grenier turns the camera on a teenage LA paparazzo in his smart, entertaining investigation of celebrity culture. With Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Matt Damon. “Adrian Grenier gets it.” — LA Times
On Takuu, a tiny low-lying atoll in the south-west Pacific, the impact of climate change is real and immediate. NZer Briar March’s intimate, award-winning portrait of island life makes this confrontation with global crisis a vividly personal one.
Harmony Korine (Gummo) depicts the deviant exploits of a gang of demented geriatric peeping toms on stuttering low-grade VHS. “Is it a lost underground movie or a new species of freak-folk art?” — Cinema Scope
French director Julie Bertuccelli brings a startled outsider eye to this poetic Australian/French movie about a young widow (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her little daughter’s solemn obsession with a giant tree.
UK genre wunderkind Christopher Smith’s follow-up to Severance is as mystifying and haunting as is its connection to the Bermuda Triangle. With Melissa George. “A smart, supernatural time-shift chiller.” — The Guardian
Infectious portrait of Trimpin, an eccentric, extremely talented kinetic sculptor, sound artist, musician and composer who uses scavenged materials to craft fanciful musical instruments of his own design. With the Kronos Quartet.
Sarah Hunter’s music-filled documentary is a sharp and lively memento of the jazz-inflected Wellington reggae unit TrinityRoots, with fresh interviews and great footage of the band rehearsing, recording and performing.
The 25-year journey of the loggerhead turtle, one of the most fascinating and extraordinary migration stories in the animal kingdom, is captured in a stunning natural history film for all ages. Narrated by Miranda Richardson.
Documenting the entwined lives of soccer hero Andrés Escobar and notorious drug baron Pablo Escobar (no relation), this film uncovers Colombian soccer’s Faustian pact with the drug trade.
Indie rock hipster Sean Bones goes with the flow on the beaches and backroads of Jamaica in this smart and funny comedy about a skinny New York white boy trying to cut it in a Rastaman world.
Brazilian art star Vik Muniz recycles garbage to make gigantic portraits of Rio’s amazingly upbeat garbage recyclers in this inspiring Sundance Audience Award-winning doco. Music by Moby. “A joy.” — Hollywood Reporter
Performance-driven doco of inflammatory 60s art-rock group The Doors and blazing frontman Jim Morrison. Narrated by Johnny Depp. “Hallucinatory… genuinely cinematic, a visual journey.” — Screendaily
This bracing, backwoods drama of a young woman’s determination to deliver her young siblings from the bleak expectations of their kin was the big winner at Sundance this January. “Raw but utterly enveloping.” — Variety
Journey into the depraved mind of David Blyth, the bête noire of NZ cinema in a supernatural tale based on Greek mythology. Warning: contains extreme sadism and violence.