An archetypal tale of an 11-year-old village boy’s misadventures illuminates director Wang Xiaoshuai’s moving recollection of his own childhood during the Cultural Revolution. “A stirring evocation of childhood.” — Variety
Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous artist, is one of the ruling party’s most trenchant and charismatic critics – and an astute master of online media. “An essential account of the artist-activist’s rise to international fame.” — The Guardian
Denmark’s fearless Mads Brügger in person with his gonzo documentary. He buys himself a diplomatic post in the Central African Republic and proceeds, envelopes stuffed with cash, to jockey for power and influence.
Palme d’Or, Best Film, Cannes Film Festival 2012. Veteran French stars Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva are unforgettable in Austrian director Michael Haneke’s tender, wrenching story of love and death.
Scottish lads decide to liberate a barrel of single malt in Ken Loach’s caper comedy direct from Cannes. “This is British comedy at its warmest and most pleasurable; cask strength, unfiltered and neat.” — The Telegraph
Eight countries, one language: drawings and digital data that move. This collection of recent animated shorts from around the world is designed to amaze and delight audiences aged 7-11 and their more senior companions.
An international showcase of impressive recent animation in a wide array of techniques, digital and analogue, with an emphasis on the abstract and the expressive – and a few gag-based pieces too.
The second annual Artists Cinema programme of short films again asks for a ‘response, comment, interruption and/or reflection on the cinema context’ from established artists more usually associated with the gallery context.
Abrir puertes y ventanas
Milagros Mumenthaler’s slow-burning portrait follows three young sisters alone in a Buenos Aires house. Their dysfunctional relationship gradually unveils the circumstances of their peculiarly isolated, indolent lives.
Rich, engrossing backstage documentary. Slavik Kryklyvyy, a former world Latin American dance champion, returns to competition with a new young partner. “Kryklyvyy is a superb physical specimen, and his dancing is sublime.” — Variety
The superb German actress Nina Hoss casts a surprising spell in this subtly shaded story of love and intrigue set in an East German village a decade before the fall of the Wall.
We open the year’s programme with an exhilarating rush of pagan festivity from the Louisiana Bayou – and a declaration of confidence in brilliant, purely cinematic originality. There’s a collective of artisanal talent informing every frame of this wild blend of social realism and eco-sci-fi. Winner of the Grand Jury and Cinematography Awards at Sundance, Beasts also took the Camera d’Or for Best First Film at Cannes in May.
The life and times of the fearless, fiercely articulate Irish Republican firebrand who became Britain’s youngest elected female MP at 21. “A stirring story told in an endlessly compelling voice.” — Irish Times
“Jack Black gives the performance of his career, under the pitch-perfect direction of his School of Rock director, Richard Linklater, who expertly crafts a black comedy with a deceptively sunny surface.” — NY Post
This intimate, lavishly illustrated portrait exposes Bert Stern, the legendary photographer behind iconic images such as Marilyn in chiffon, Lolita and her lollipop, and such landmarks in 50s chic as Jazz on a Summer’s Day.
Romanian actresses Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan shared the Best Actress Award at Cannes as former friends slowly driven apart by differences in faith in this new film from the director of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.
Frihetens bittra smak
A highly affecting documentary about Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was murdered in 2006 after her disturbing reports from Chechnya. “Apt to provoke moral outrage in anyone short of Vladimir Putin.” — Variety
Beautiful CinemaScope Technicolor restoration of Otto Preminger’s 1958 adaptation of Françoise Sagan’s scandalous bestseller starring David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Breathless star Jean Seberg – and the French Riviera.
Sex, lies and literature. Deftly switching between love affairs eight years apart, this tale of postgrad passions and literary aspiration wittily translates an acclaimed Chilean novella into a gentle, funny movie.
Compelling, seductively humorous doco about Simeon II of Bulgaria’s rollercoaster journey from boy king in 1943 to popular hero in 2001. “A mesmerizingly strange true-life tale– a documentary delicacy to savour.” — Time Out
Lee Hirsch’s doco is a powerfully effective tool in the campaign to drag school bullying out of the dark corners where it thrives. “Maybe, this film suggests, getting power to the powerless is not as impossible as it sounds.” — LA Times
Writer Joss Whedon’s (The Avengers) deconstruction of the contemporary horror film manages to deliver the thrills of a teens-get-sliced scenario while piling on big laughs with meta-punchlines.
Cesare deve morire
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is illuminated by a cast of Italian prisoners who bring a load of experience to its tale of loyalty, conspiracy and murder. Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. Golden Bear, Best Film, Berlin Film Festival 2012.
Meet the very brave and inspiring LGBT-rights activists in Uganda who are fighting a tide of homophobia driven by imported evangelism, political opportunism and tabloid sleaze. Winner of Berlin’s Teddy Award for Best Documentary.
Celebrating the Earth’s natural beauty while simultaneously serving as an environmental clarion call, Chasing Ice is a stunning and important document of our world in transition.
This polarising drama explores a vicious sexual prank that took place in a US fast-food chain store. “Tense, extraordinary… It’s not a movie you want to watch twice – or miss the opportunity to see once.” — Time Out NY
A mordantly funny Italian woman’s coming-of-age movie also serves as a barbed account of the church’s devotion to worldly dominion. “Feels densely observed, transparently personal and autobiographical… An accomplished debut.” — The Guardian
Frederick Wiseman, master of vérité, takes a wry look backstage at the most chic nude revue in Paris (and enjoys the view from out front as well). “The most entertaining film in his 40-plus-year career.” — Cinema Scope
Australia's Tony Krawitz (Jewboy, The Tall Man) directs the adaptation of The Slap author Christos Tsiolkas' award-winning novel in this searing film about history, guilt and secrets.
This superb true crime doco by Werner Herzog examines the case of a Florida man convicted of a triple homicide, still protesting his innocence after 17 years and one last-minute stay of execution on death row.
This superb true crime doco by Werner Herzog examines the case of a convicted wife murderer who converted to Islam in prison and confessed to earlier murders. A case of genuine remorse or a ruse to postpone execution?
This superb true crime doco by Werner Herzog examines the cases of two of the ‘Texas Seven’ who pulled off a spectacular break-out from a Texas maximum security prison in 2000 – and, once thwarted, went from life to death row.
This superb true crime doco by Werner Herzog examines the case of a woman sentenced to death for her role in the murder of 25-year-old Joana Rodrigues in order to kidnap the latter’s baby son. Her hired accomplices go free.
This highly entertaining portrait invites you into the extraordinary world of the strikingly original and very influential style maven who became the first great fashion editor – at Harper’s BAZAAR and Vogue.
Haunting behind-the-headlines portrait of the life of vivacious London woman Joyce Vincent, whose disappearance went unnoticed for almost three years. “Riveting to watch and revealing to ponder long after it ends.” — The Observer
In Easy Street Chaplin’s tramp happily steals from the mission – until love strikes. Screening with Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail.
Shot on the spectacular hills overlooking Cook Strait, Juliet Bergh’s salvagepunk Western set in a post-apocalyptic future is the first fruit of the Film Commission’s low-budget Escalator scheme. Starring Loren Taylor.
Defying local racism, Olga Nenya has fostered 23 homeless children, many of mixed-race heritage. “A rich observational portrait of a woman who wants to save the children from an unjust world – her way.” — Hot Docs
Les Adieux à la Reine
The last days of Marie-Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and the royal court of Versailles are seen from within, through the eyes of a servant (Léa Seydoux) in this spectacular French historical drama inflected with modern intelligence.
Russia’s master of art cinema Aleksandr Sokurov (Russian Ark, Mother and Son) won the top prize at Venice for this phantasmagoric vision of the German legend. “A rude, lewd take on a classic, and irresistible.” — Financial Times
Six gifted young ballet students from disparate backgrounds prepare for the career-making Youth America Grand Prix in this intimate picture of the highly competitive world of dance. “Touching, enormously satisfying.” — Variety
Luftskibit Norge’s flugt over Polhavet
In 1926 Roald Amundsen, Lincoln Ellsworth and Umberto Nobile made the first undisputed crossing of the North Pole by air. The film of the expedition has recently been discovered and magnificently restored. Live Cinema accompanied on piano by Nikau Palm.
The latest, superbly animated classic from Studio Ghibli’s Miyazaki Goro is the tender 60s tale of schoolgirl Umi and her dashing friend Shun. Completely charming, Poppy Hill does not reserve its many treasures for children alone.
Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend! Marilyn Monroe is at her most beatifically ditsy alongside Jane Russell in Howard Hawks’ dazzling 1953 Technicolor screwball musical seen here in a new digital restoration.
Gerhard Richter, one of the world’s greatest living painters and now nearly 80 years old, talks about his work as a small film crew documents his creative process. “Akin to being in a museum that’s come alive.” — Film Comment
Le Sommeil d’or
The once thriving popular cinema of Cambodia is vividly evoked through the reminiscences of the few filmmakers and performers who survived the Khmer Rouge. “An elegantly assembled and deeply moving remembrance.” — Variety
An intensely stirring depiction of creative ambition and struggle, this portrait of charismatic African American choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones observes the artist as he forges a massive, controversial dance-theatre work for the Lincoln bicentennial.
Meet the little old lady of Icelandic music who recorded her first album in her kitchen at 71 and produced 59 homemade albums before calling it a day. “Small-scale. Fun. Successful. Just like its subject.” — Twitch
This frank documentary account of unfolding complications in the personal life of Chino, a young Havana deaf-mute man with crooked porn star looks, sheds surprising light on life and sexual freedom in Cuba today.
A far-out double feature from the Far East. Body horror from Japan (Henge) plus a hapless one-handed Korean detective on the search for a unique timepiece that may or may not be able to alter time itself (Young Gun in the Time).
Japanese provocateur Sono Sion (Love Exposure) shot this radical tale of teen rage in post-tsunami landscapes. “A near-masterpiece from one of the most significant Japanese directors working today.” — Little White Lies
This year the Festival’s popular collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra features the ninth and final silent film directed by young master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. With classic Charlie Chaplin short Easy Street.
An extraordinary surreal night journey through Paris starring Denis Lavant. With Kylie Minogue, Eva Mendes. Don’t miss the sensation of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, rapturously received and wildly debated. “Weird and wonderful, rich and strange – barking mad, in fact… A great big pole-vault over the barrier of normality by someone who feels that the possibilities of cinema have not been exhausted.” — The Guardian
Filmmakers Chris Pryor and Miriam Smith lived at Jerusalem on the Whanganui River and have produced a lively, visually beautiful picture of the local community and the three Sisters of Compassion stationed there.
The inaugural winner of the Make My Movie feature film competition, Dean Hewison’s 'Peeping Tom romcom’ is a funny, kooky and rather sweet look at one shy guy’s attempt to find true love via unethical means.
Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, A Royal Affair) took the Best Actor Award at Cannes as an innocent man demonised by a child’s false accusation. “Entirely convincing… An unbearably tense drama-thriller.” — The Guardian
Legendary French-Algerian con artist Frédéric Bourdin recounts his own breathtaking exploits. “A mesmerizing psychological thriller bulging with twists, turns, nasty insinuations and shocking revelations.” — Hollywood Reporter
Direct from Cannes. Arthouse superstar Isabelle Huppert meets Korean cult director Hong Sang-soo in three amusing tales of potentially romantic encounters, each starring Huppert as a French woman visiting a small Korean resort.
“Chronicling wartime events in (and under) the Polish city of Lvov, this Oscar-nominated drama uncovers an incredible true story of courage and humanity... Illuminating, provocative and bracingly unsentimental.” — Time Out
This urgent, affecting, but never sentimental documentary takes us into Baghdad’s most dangerous neighbourhood, where one determined man has taken it upon himself to rescue several dozen orphans from the war-torn streets.
An intense, slow-burning Russian war drama that considers moral choice in the moral vacuum of occupation. “Truly eloquent and moving… Actors and landscapes alike could have come out of 19-century Russian paintings.” — Sight & Sound
A senseless triple homicide committed by two 18-year-olds during a car theft has been the defining event in a world of damaged lives investigated in this ‘rigorously humane’ (NY Times) documentary by Werner Herzog.
É na terra não é na lua
An absorbing account of life and traditions, unrecorded by previous history, on the tiny volcanic island of Corvo (pop. 400) in the Portuguese Azores. “Tirelessly engrossing.” — Village Voice. Best Doco, San Francisco Film Festival 2012.
This deeply charming, kid-centred film contains a multitude of perspectives to surprise and delight audiences from nine to ninety.
The recent project of legendary French cameraman Raymond Depardon is intercut with a selection of his astounding footage and images shot over 50 years around the world. “A tribute to a masterful eye, a humanistic heart and a wondrous life.” — Variety
Csak a szél
An intense, compelling drama following a day in the life of an underclass Romani family, set against the background of a series of racist attacks on their community. Winner of the Jury Grand Prix, Berlin Film Festival 2012.
Bag Blixens maske
No polite literary memoir, director Morten Henriksen’s alarming portrait of author Karen Blixen (Out of Africa) is drawn from the bitter experience of his own father who was an eager young fan in Blixen’s later years.
Director Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue) charts the highs and lows of a turbulent decade-long love affair between a Danish filmmaker and his New Yorker boyfriend. “A front-runner for best American film of the year.” — Village Voice
Matthew McConaughey is a Texan cop with a sideline in murder (for hire) in this lurid and bloody trailer-trash melodrama. With Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon. “Unabashed pulp.” — The Guardian
Dae gi eui wang
Adults-only anime from Korea immerses us in a world of bullying at school – and after. “Mightily provocative in its representation of human debasement, this satire on class inequality burns like acid.” — Hollywood Reporter
KLOVN THE MOVIE
Blisteringly funny throughout, this hysterical Danish outing from the comedy-of-the-uncomfortable school will appeal to those who think Curb Your Enthusiasm and films like The Hangover don’t push the envelope enough.
A riveting portrait of loss and redemption as 53-year-old, one-time 70s rock god (and now crackhead) Bobby Liebling attempts to swap an early death in his parents’ basement for musical resurrection.
For the past 40 years, in a remote and harshly beautiful corner of northern Manitoba, Brian Ladoon has devoted his life to preserving and breeding an endangered species: the Qimmiq, Canada's indigenous Eskimo dog.
A spectacular environmental documentary by Peter Young, one of New Zealand’s leading nature cinematographers and a key figure in the international movement to end fishing of the Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea.
Shilton ha chok
Incisive award-winning doco interrogates the framing and persistence of the military legal system that rules Palestinians living under occupation in the same territory as Israeli citizens who live under civilian law.
Le Tableau is a captivating animated French-language fable taking place inside a painting. “This consistently enjoyable, inventive and beautifully crafted tale is a color riot suitable for all ages.” — Boyd van Hoeij, Variety
In this Sundance hit romantic comedy 35-year-old Josh Radnor (who also wrote and directed) returns to college and falls for Elizabeth Olsen's sophomore theatre student. “Funny, moving, thoughtful, true.” — Paste Magazine
Mauricio believes that rules, not heroic rescues, prevent drownings. Filmmaker Maite Alberdi’s documentary portrait of a summer lifeguard at work on a popular Chilean beach could hardly be more telling or more oddly moving.
Julia Loktev’s tense drama of a young American couple and their local guide on a trek in the spectacular Caucasus mountains stars Gael García Bernal. “A stunning evocation of a relationship and a haunted place.” — Cinema Scope
Australian director Cate Shortland’s superb new film brings an acutely fresh eye to Rachel Seiffert’s post-World War II story of a spiky young German girl fleeing the Allied forces with her four younger siblings.
Live Cinema accompanied by City oh Sigh. Jazz baby Clara Bow creates havoc in the boondocks in this classic Hollywood comedy of the 20s. This racy little number celebrates a liberated city gal and her right to flirt with any man she pleases, wedding ring be damned.
Internationally lauded Auckland filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly (The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins) accompanies 16-year-old Māori scholar Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti to Yale and a critical turning point in his education.
Matthew Akers’ compelling portrait shows this gorgeous 63-year-old performance artist’s journey from violent early works to her sell-out new work: silently sitting and encountering her audience.
“Stirring up an exhaustive portrait of the legend behind the music, Kevin Macdonald’s Marley is sure to become the definitive documentary on the much beloved king of reggae.” — Hollywood Reporter
L’Exercice de l’État
This sleek, charged picture of ambition, powerlessness and posturing within government transcends the satire or critique of any similar US or UK political thriller: it’s both realistic and utterly surreal. With Olivier Gourmet.
Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, Monsieur Lazhar is a flawlessly acted, sensitively understated teacher/student drama that accumulates surprising, affirmative, emotional power. “A really great movie.” — Village Voice
Un Monstre à Paris
Animator Bibo Bergeron (A Shark’s Tale) delivers a lively child-friendly love letter to Paris (and the movies) a hundred years ago featuring a cute and sassy singer, a projectionist and a musically gifted giant flea.
Wes Anderson’s Cannes opening-night film is a highly idiosyncratic, impeccably made portrait of young love circa 1965. With Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton. “Hilarious and heartfelt.” — Rolling Stone
“Welsh-Egyptian Sally El Hosaini brings sensitivity, distinctive identity and an invigorating adrenaline charge to a story of criminally inclined East London youth in her dynamic first feature.” — Hollywood Reporter
Somewhere between fairytale and documentary, this startling debut feature sees French rural life, both austere and magical, through the perceptions of its remarkable star: four-year-old Nana.
O som ao redor
This drama of life on a sheltered prosperous street in Recife is the year’s most striking and compelling Brazilian movie. “Stunning… The kind of thrilling discovery that makes festival-going worthwhile.” — Film Comment
Neil Young fans: your man is on fire. A superbly recorded solo concert film directed up close by Jonathan Demme (Heart of Gold).
Six short films have been selected as the finalists in the inaugural NZIFF New Zealand’s Best Short Film Competition.
Ngā Whanaunga means relatedness and connectedness between peoples Selected for NZIFF by the Wairoa Māori Film Festival this lively collection showcases recent shorts by Māori and Pasifika filmmakers.
Gael García Bernal stars in the dramatic true story of the poppy advertising campaign that urged Chileans to oust the dictator Pinochet in 1988. “Weirdly funny and rousing, both intellectually and emotionally.” — NY Times
“Jack Kerouac’s peerless anthem to the romance of youthful freedom and experience has finally made it to the screen with its virtues and spirit intact.” — LA Times. Direct from Cannes.
À perdre la raison
Joachim Lafosse’s psychological drama provides insight into and analysis of a real-life case of maternal infanticide. “A deeply moving performance by Emilie Dequenne, and a devastating look at a young woman come undone.” — Screendaily
In the rough, remote Russian town where Lenin was born, a brave journalist has launched an independent newspaper produced on a computer in his lounge and delivered by hand. A darkly humorous portrait of a brave venture.
Ren shan ren hai
Inspired by a true-crime story, this bold and unsettling revenge film takes a road trip down the dark by-ways of modern Chinese society. Director Cai Shangjun won the Best Director Award at Venice for this searing vision of moral decay.
The ongoing artistic collaboration between pianist Norman Meehan, poet Bill Manhire and singer Hannah Griffin has produced two sublime CDs. Keith Hill’s doco captures them mid-process and in performance.
Cinema’s finest ongoing autobiographer, Ross McElwee (Sherman’s March, Bright Leaves) returns with another wry rumination on family and memory, comparing his rebellious son at 21 with what he can recall of himself at the same age.
Fascinating, admiring documentary by Dan Salmon about NZ ‘outsider artist’ Susan King who stopped talking aged four and has produced more than 10,000 drawings throughout her life, now sought by art dealers worldwide.
Léa Pool’s trenchant critique of breast cancer ‘culture’ questions the lucrative partnership between the pink ribbon campaign, corporations and cause marketing. “Angry and enlightening… powerful and subversive.” — Time Out NY
Top prize winner at the Amsterdam Doc Festival, this exquisite Korean film follows the daily routine of a deaf-blind man and his tiny wife. “Cinematic love stories don’t come more convincing or singular than this.” — Village Voice
Maciej Jackiewicz, animation director and CG supervisor at Platige Image, introduces a showcase of the films and game imagery that have made this Polish film studio a major shaper and international force in 3D stereoscopic animation.
Bold, provocative elite cops vs Jewish terrorists drama from Israel. “The main performances are powerful, the visuals are bold and vivid, the final effect one of the gut having been punched and the mind stirred.” — Hollywood Reporter
Explosive LA thriller from a James Ellroy script. “A terrific film: tense, shocking, complex, mesmerizing. It’s about a very bad Los Angeles cop, played with intricate demonic force by Woody Harrelson.” — Entertainment Weekly
This headlong satire of television in Berlusconi-land won Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah) the Cannes Grand Prix. “The rare movie that has some of that old, classic Fellini insanity in its overheated blood.” — Entertainment Weekly
L’ordre et la morale
In his most visceral and impassioned outing since 1995’s La Haine, actor/director Mathieu Kassovitz has made a propulsive action movie dramatising the extraordinary French military response to a New Caledonia hostage-taking in 1988.
An intimately observed drama of change in the lives of a deeply attached couple in their 60s caught between his world (an island in the Hauraki Gulf), hers (a city in China), and the world they have made together – their red house in the bush.
Gui lai de ren
Shot (beautifully) under the censors’ radar, this semi-autobiographical, semi-documentary by a young expatriate Chinese-Burmese director provides a uniquely close encounter with life in Myanmar/Burma.
Rodney Ascher’s clip-laden doco deciphers the visual details of Kubrick’s horror classic in the company of five obsessive and haunted cineastes. “Catnip for Kubrickians and critics both professional and otherwise.” — Variety
Fresh from its Cannes ovations. “A jewel-bright charmer [true story] about four spunky indigenous women whose powerhouse voices catapulted them onto the 60s-era world stage as Australia’s answer to the Supremes.” — Hollywood Reporter
Amazing Sundance-winning doco about renewed appreciation for 70s Mexican-American singer-songwriter Rodriguez. “A hugely entertaining, emotionally touching, and musically revelatory experience.” — The Playlist
Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough play a high-odds game of spy and spymaster in this gritty, nerve-wracking Belfast thriller. “Director James Marsh (Man on Wire) is working with riveting assurance.” — Hollywood Reporter
Heeeere’s Johnny!! The Jack Nicholson/Stanley Kubrick horror classic returns to the giant screen in merciless HD DCP! “Alive with portent and symbolism, every frame of the film brims with Kubrick’s genius.” — Empire
In 1903 Judge Daniel Paul Schreber published Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, one of the most remarkable studies of madness ‘from the inside’ ever written. Documentary, drama and CGI combine to tell his remarkable story.
The wonderful LCD Soundsystem documentary/concert film gets close to James Murphy and brings the dance band’s final concert at Madison Square Garden to a giant cinema sound system near you. “A thrilling experience.” — SPIN
An engrossing, open-minded investigation of the digital revolution in filmmaking and its impact on the creativity of filmmakers. Keanu Reeves interviews Cameron, Lucas, Nolan, Lynch, Scorsese, Fincher, DOPs, VFX artists and many more.
In this pitch-black comedy a pair of caravanning killers head off on a road trip through the beautiful Lake District. “The most consistently hilarious Brit-com for a good half-decade.” — Hollywood Reporter
Rufus and Martha Wainwright in a glorious and moving concert tribute to their mother Kate McGarrigle – with Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Teddy Thompson and Michael Ondaatje. “Uplifting and absorbing.” — Hollywood Reporter
L’enfant d’en haut
Terrific, intimate social-realist drama, Sister makes us anxious accessories of 12-year-old Simon, a quick-witted young thief working a Swiss ski resort. Superbly performed by newcomer Kacey Mottet Klein and French star Léa Seydoux.
Quick-witted undercover cop thriller set in a vast Paris nightclub. “With this tightly paced nail-biter, director Frédéric Jardin has made a film that’s surpassed its US counterparts by a country kilometer.” — Time Out NY
Mathurin Molgat’s comprehensive documentary about the past and future of the mighty kauri centres on an inspiring artisan: Northland luthier Laurie Williams.
In Eduardo Coutinho’s irresistible documentary a rich array of inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro, men and women of all ages and ethnicities, tell us about their favourite song – then sing it themselves, a cappella.
In this creepily ambiguous lo-fi metaphysical sci-fi thriller, a young couple infiltrate a suburban LA cult. With writer/star Brit Marling (Another Earth). “Taut, compelling… [A] nifty little spellbinder.” — Variety
Entre les Bras
Elegant doco records a year of transition as master chef Michel Bras hands his legendary three-Michelin-star hotel-restaurant Aubrac over to his son. “A rare window into the mysterious creative process of a chef.” — Time
Halt auf freier Strecke
Acclaimed, flawlessly naturalistic drama of what happens to an ordinary family when a husband and father becomes terminally ill. “This is a film that will likely return to haunt and perhaps even to succour its audiences.” — The Telegraph
An adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment with no policeman, Kazakh filmmaker Darezhan Omirbayev’s film tells a stark tale of a shy young student who commits an almost random act of murder.
Tai Yang Zong Zai Zuo Bian
A moving, simple tale of a troubled young man’s spiritual pilgrimage and an old man’s determination to rekindle his will to live.
A great 50s love affair is recalled today in this heady, playful and inimitably Portuguese romantic drama. Stars Ana Moreira and Carloto Cotta are incandescent. “It’s simply glorious – giddy and pulse-quickening.” — The Telegraph
Direct from Competition in Cannes. “The arrogance of wealth and power is seen through the eyes of a family employee in [this] stylish follow-up to The Housemaid.” — Hollywood Reporter
Tātarakihi tells the story of a ‘journey of memory’ taken by a group of Parihaka children following in the footsteps of their male ancestors who were transported south after the Taranaki land confiscations of the 1860s.
A finely crafted, vividly edited and moving portrait of three friends who became part of the underground skateboarding culture in East Germany in the 70s and 80s.
“Quirky, hilarious and moving… a road trip of stunning scope yet deep intimacy, featuring an aged rock star-turned-Nazi-hunter played by Sean Penn at his transformative best.” — Variety. Also starring David Byrne.
This lyrical documentary inducts us into the surprising world of Tongan Futa Helu and his Atenisi Institute. Probably the world’s smallest university, this unconventional institution proudly stands apart from church and state.
A programme for the very youngest Festival-goer. We had children from three to six in mind when we selected these animated gems from around the world. Culminating in the rather scary but happily resolved The Gruffalo’s Child.
This selection of four short films, two each by artist/filmmakers Ben Rivers and Ben Russell, takes us on a mind-expanding trip across the globe, melding documentary footage into something altogether more fantastic.
Portrait of a happy rural hermit by Brit artist Ben Rivers. “A mysterious, quietly robust dream of a film… Two Years at Sea is less a documentary as such, more an impressionistic portrait, or a film poem.” — Independent on Sunday
Viewed as the underdog candidate, this lovingly crafted depiction of a white volunteer coach’s season with a football team in impoverished North Memphis was the surprise winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
Like an exquisitely restrained Baraka, this radiant, magnificently photographed celebration of the natural wonders of the world takes us to four pairs of places directly opposite each other on Planet Earth – including New Zealand.
Funny, scary anthology about a group of louts hired to burglarise a creepy house and steal a rare VHS tape. “V/H/S delivers the thrills and chills craftily… Watch it with friends.” — William Goss, The Playlist
Documentarian Michael Heath transports us to the Irish fishing village of Bunmahon where NZ artist Edith Collier painted during 1914–15. A gentle investigation of her work, the landscape, and the locals in this beautiful town.
Violeta se fue a los cielos
An intensely poetic biopic charting Chilean folksinger Violeta Parra’s epic journey from poverty to fame, underscored by Parra’s vulnerable, penetrating folk songs and a reverberating performance by Francisca Gavilán
Pang Ho-cheung (the John Waters of Hong Kong) delivers a deliriously offensive comedy about the lengths a producer will go to secure funding for a feature film. “Lewd, crude and flat-out hilarious.” — Twitch
A woman is mysteriously separated from the rest of humanity by an invisible wall. Stunning alpine landscapes are juxtaposed with existential terror in this literate psychological thriller, based on German novel Die Wand.
Jeremy Dumble and Adam Luxton’s gonzo art movie tracks random sets of Auckland characters linked by a teenage boy’s bizarre video project. An eye-popping cameo from Florian Habicht exemplifies its cunning and rude energy.
Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh were producers on this lucid, angry documentary and key players in the battle for justice for the ‘West Memphis Three’ imprisoned as teenagers for murders they did not commit.
Dinner date becomes dinner disaster in French cinema’s box office comedy hit of the year. “An amusing and well-acted French farce in the pure tradition of boulevard classics such as The Dinner Game.” — Hollywood Reporter
Et maintenant on va où?
A spirited, entertaining tale of women in a Lebanese village distracting their men from ‘religious war’, directed by and starring Nadine Labaki (Caramel). People’s Choice Award, Toronto International Film Festival 2011.
“A daring, novelistic and unforgettable account of the real lives of female prostitutes in three very different countries and social contexts… A wrenching journalistic exploration… and something close to great cinema.” — Salon.com
Disarmingly charming doco about a traditional shepherd and his young woman apprentice as they herd 800 sheep, several dogs and donkeys and a criminally cute puppy across hundreds of miles of wintry Swiss countryside.
A blowout for two young Sydney couples in Cambodia ignites a war of nerves in a fiery psychological thriller starring Joel Edgerton and Antony Starr. “Coils around and around itself until viewers may have trouble breathing.” — Variety
Con Fidel pase lo que pase
Several inhabitants of Sierra Maestra, Cuba are observed as they go quietly about their lives the day before the national hoopla for the 52nd anniversary of the revolution in this sardonic picture of ‘the last days of Fidelism’.
Andrea Arnold’s radical, stunningly visual response to Emily Brontë’s classic excavates the primal passions that made the novel such an affront to society. “A beautiful rough beast of a movie, a costume drama like no other.” — The Guardian
A far-out double feature from the Far East. Body horror from Japan (Henge) plus a hapless one-handed Korean detective on the search for a unique timepiece that may or may not be able to alter time itself (Young Gun in the Time).
Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt are sisters circling the same man (Mark Duplass) in this fresh, quick-witted comedy from writer/director Lynne Shelton (Humpday). “Insightful, probing and gloriously amusing.” — The Guardian