The eighth episode in the world’s longest-running documentary series: every seven years British director Michael Apted visits the people he first interviewed about their dreams and aspirations when they were seven years old.
Inspired doco about 60s death squads who executed over a million Indonesian communists, made in collaboration with the executioners. “I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal and frightening in at least a decade.” — Werner Herzog
Filling the giant screen with stunning time-lapse vistas of Antarctica, and detailing year-round life at McMurdo and Scott Base, Anthony Powell’s documentary is a potent hymn to the icy continent and the heavens above.
Punk before punk existed, three black teenage brothers formed a band and put down a demo tape in 1974 but never recorded an album. The discovery of that demo has been a revelation. This heartfelt doco tells their story.
Michael Douglas becomes a glittering colossus of kitsch as Liberace, the most flamboyantly gay, closeted entertainer in Las Vegas, while Matt Damon is achingly right as the young hunk who became his companion in the late 70s.
La migliore offerta
Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) scored a hit in Italy with this romantic intrigue set in an international auction house. “Geoffrey Rush brings striking depth of character to a classic Old World mystery.” — Hollywood Reporter
A storied account of 70s Memphis power pop band Big Star, widely regarded as one of the greatest bands in rock history, and tragically little known in their day. “A boon to members of the Big Star cult.” — Hollywood Reporter
Engrossing, highly informative doco investigates the story of Tilikum, a six-ton bull orca, whose killing of his Sea World trainer was blamed on the victim herself. “A mesmerizing psychological thriller.” — Variety
Direct from Cannes. Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) delivers a coolly satirical take on the true story of Californian rich kids who found media fame breaking into the houses of celebrities. With Emma Watson.
Winner of both Jury and Audience Awards for Best Documentary at Sundance, Blood Brother explores the idealism of a young American aid worker in an Indian orphanage. “Documentaries don’t come any bigger-hearted.” — Variety
It’s been a few years since Jeremy Saulnier’s horror-comedy mash-up Murder Party hit the festival circuit and won a lot of fans. Now he’s back with a riff on the revenge movie, immediately selected for the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes.
Music is the food of love and a consolation in heartbreak in the fateful romance of a seasoned banjo player and the new lead vocalist in a (very good) Belgian bluegrass band. A European hit rich in American roots music.
Our popular annual collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra presents the last of the great Buster Keaton comedy features and Cops, a classic short. Marc Taddei conducts scores by Timothy Brock.
Intimate and rousing musical portrait of the R&B singer who went from James Brown impersonator to acclaimed Daptone recording artist in his own right at age 62. “A Superfunky good time.” — Twitch
How far would you go for some free money? Would you walk naked through a bar for $100? Would you punch a stranger's face for $200? It's always interesting for audiences to ponder what they’d do in hypothetical situations, which is exactly why filmmakers have so much fun with dark and devilish exercises like Cheap Thrills.
This wry 2013 mockumentary about an early computer vs computer chess tournament looks and talks like an authentic 80s relic. “An endearingly nutty, proudly analog tribute to the ultra-nerdy innovators of yesteryear.” — Variety
The meteoric rise, calamitous crash and remarkable endurance of US champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce are related with nerve-wracking immediacy in Lucy Walker’s (Waste Land) doco. “Enthralling.” — Screendaily
This astounding and rarely seen masterpiece of 20s cinema juxtaposes individual dreams and the mass energy of pre-Depression New York City to mesmerising effect. With a live score composed by Cloudboy’s Jo Contag.
This affectionate, though hardly sugar-coated, portrait of two artists you probably have never heard of may well prove an NZIFF favourite.
Clint and Dwayne, awesome lady-killer pony-riding gang of two, raise the funds to get Dwayne a new set of teeth. The funniest movie valentine to stoned mateship and recreational innovation in backblocks NZ since Kaikohe Demolition.
In the only Hitchcock movie ever shot in 3D, quintessential cool blonde Grace Kelly stars as a society woman for whom jealous husband Ray Milland arranges the perfect murder. But thanks to a well-placed pair of scissors, the tables are turned, and Milland’s carefully laid plans begin to disintegrate.
This laid-back and funny drama reveals a sharp picture of westernised Tunisian youth adrift in the aftermath of the Jasmine Revolution. “Die Welt manages to blend fiction and nonfiction with seamless grace.” — Slant
With the intrigue and energy of a thriller, Dirty Wars shines a startling light on the new shape of America’s War on Terror. Acclaimed journalist Jeremy Scahill investigates the far-reaching Joint Special Operations Command.
Paul Judge’s doco provides a thorough record and eloquent posthumous tribute to a major and often controversial NZ artist. Draws on a wealth of archive material, plus his own interviews with Driver and other art world notables.
A corporate spy infiltrates a group of eco-activists in this espionage thriller from Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice). “The kind of rock-solid intelligent entertainment that has become all too rare.” — Film Comment
Lawrence Johnston’s absorbing, multi-faceted consideration of Nevil Shute’s On the Beach looks at how the threat of nuclear annihilation once took hold in popular culture; and captures a formative moment in the boomer psyche.
Playing Tania, a feisty young petrol station attendant figuring out her place in the world with no real help from anyone else, Auckland writer-actress Sophie Henderson is mesmerising. Directed by Curtis Vowell.
The latest from Ben Wheatley, the award-winning director of previous NZIFF hits Kill List and Sightseers, is a psychedelic folk-horror set during the English Civil War, likely to delight and perplex in equal measure.
Withering indictment of Bad Pharma chronicles resistance to the conjunction of Western market forces and health care in Africa. “A testament to human decency and a damning indictment of laissez-faire capitalism.” — The Observer
Greta Gerwig stars in and co-wrote this charming portrait of an aspiring dancer floundering in hipster Brooklyn. Directed by Noah Baumbach. “Cutely serious Gerwig’s performance is full of depth and nuance.” — The Guardian
This lively, informative encounter with Jane Campion as she writes, rehearses and films Top of the Lake was shot over three years, from her collaboration with writer Gerard Lee to the series’ premiere at Sundance.
Sister Loyola Galvin turns 90 and shares insights on faith, ageing, compassion and compost. A NZ Gardener Gardener of the Year, Loyola’s commitment is to nurturing all living things, especially those which 'don’t get a good start’.
The soldiers of Gideon’s Army, Dawn Porter’s stirring debut documentary, are public defenders, lawyers who dedicate themselves to representing the indigent, and regularly answering the question, 'How can you defend those people?’
La Cage doree
When hard-working Maria and Jose inherit a handsome property in Portugal, should they leave behind the lives they’ve made in Paris? A funny, warm-hearted and hugely entertaining upstairs-downstairs comedy.
Two remarkable young actresses, Elle Fanning and Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures), illuminate Sally Potter’s coming-of-age tale set in a pre-feminist 60s London bohemia.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s superb, universally acclaimed production of the great Romantic ballet Giselle has now been made into a superb film, directed by Toa Fraser and shot by Leon Narbey. With Gillian Murphy, Qi Huan.
For one night only the Mighty Civic is transformed into a Gothic cathedral of psychedelic doom. NZIFF plays host to a unique live cinema performance from Italian rock legends Goblin as they accompany the eye-popping visuals of Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece Suspiria with their own pulsating score.
Vital portrait of the late novelist, playwright and TV personality, born a Washington DC insider and a biting critic of successive US regimes. “Captures Gore Vidal in all his ever-articulate glory.” — Hollywood Reporter
Barbara Sukowa is superb as the brilliant German-Jewish philosopher whose landmark coverage of the 1960 trial of Nazi war criminal Thomas Eichmann, A Report on the Banality of Evil, unleashed a hornet’s nest of controversy.
Annie Goldson and Kay Ellmers’ doco, expanded from the film they made for Maori Television, takes a timely look at New Zealand’s military and media, notably journalist Jon Stephenson, in Afghanistan.
“A fictional but sweatily plausible account of a Danish cargo ship ambushed by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, which alternates between tensions on board and in the Copenhagen negotiation chamber; Formidable.” — Variety
As we move from the age of the megacity to the gigacity, Andreas Dalsgaard takes us on a chaptered journey, from Copenhagen through New York, LA, Chongqing, Siena, Melbourne and Dhaka to, yes, Christchurch, examining urban issues and challenges.
Ba ma bu zai jia
Winner of the Camera d’Or for Best First Feature at Cannes this year, Anthony Chen’s finely observed family drama pivots on the relationship between a wilful small Singaporean Chinese boy and his Filipina nanny
20 ans d'écart
In this hit romcom the age difference that has characterised a century of French cinema is reversed: 38-year-old fashion editor Alice (Virginie Efira) is romanced by 20-year-old architecture major Balthazar (Pierre Niney).
Budding sexual awakening is explored with a resolutely and refreshing female sensibility in this evocative study of a teenage girl’s attempts to attract an older guy during a hot Brooklyn summer.
Two short docos invite us into two very odd, very different personal domains. Zoe McIntosh found her King of Caravans at a motel caravan park in Whanganui. A Story for the Modlins uncovers a reclusive American family in Madrid.
The cinema becomes an immersion chamber in this intensely visceral account of commercial fishing aboard a New England fishing trawler, from the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard. “A watery knockout.” — Village Voice
Linhas de Wellington
Passionate romance, brutal treachery and selfless nobility are set against Napoleon’s 1810 invasion of Portugalin the late Raúl Ruiz’s epic follow-up to Mysteries of Lisbon, completed by his widow Valeria Sarmiento.
This close-up encounter with NBA star Jeremy Lin was in the works long before he exploded onto the scene in February 2012. “Not just a stirring sports drama but also a classic immigrant-family success story.” — Hollywood Reporter
This Sundance hit features breakout star Juno Temple (Killer Joe) in an unnerving psychological mood piece from Chilean writer-director Sebastián Silva. “The movie itself is even crazier than its protagonist.” — Screendaily
“This inspirational true story vibrantly captures the personality of its determined Dutch protagonist, 16-year-old Laura Dekker, who holds the title as the youngest person to sail around the world solo.” — Variety
Gaylene Preston was behind the scenes on Utu. Her documentary captures the chutzpah, ingenuity and burgeoning national pride of the filmmakers and their newly evolving respect for tikanga Māori.
Now here's one for the head-scratcher file: a remake of an infamous 80s slasher flick with sweet, innocent Elijah Wood in the role once played by the late, great, bloated and sweaty Joe Spinnell.
New Zealand artist Michael Smither revisits two unfinished paintings and scores a lament for the Pike River miners. As he paints, he provides straightforward and illuminating commentary on technique and intention.
Guided by Australian star-maker Miss Nikki, members of Burma’s first ever girl band “attempt to push past gender and ethnic prejudices in this poppy, insider view of the nascent awakening of a closed society.” — Indiewire
Behind the scenes on tour with indie rock heroes The National – as filmed by their incompetent roadie, Tom Berninger, the heavy-metal loving, younger brother of lead singer Matthew.
A loving tribute to small-scale farming. “A keenly observed, beautifully filmed documentary about a Sussex farmer struggling to survive in a world of big supermarkets and oppressive health and safety regulations.” — Evening Standard
Joss Whedon and a cast of his TV regulars breathe fresh life into Shakespeare’s comedy of romantic gamesmanship. “The first great contemporary Shakespeare since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.” — The Guardian
Mississippi teenagers on the run fall in with a charismatic fugitive. “Matthew McConaughey turns in his best performance and filmmaker Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) captures a slice of backcountry soul.” — LA Times
This lovely portrait of an unexpected friendship between a solitary traveller (singer Mary Margaret O’Hara) and an urbane museum guard is infused with the glories of the magnificent Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
NZIFF’s only cash-prize competition section sets out to identify and reward the year’s best local shorts. Sample the best of homegrown talent as we line up the six finalists guest-selected by filmmaker Alison Maclean.
Nugu-ui ttal-do anin Haewon
With his unfaltering production schedule delivering a new film every NZIFF season, the prolific Hong Sang-soo continues to charm and delight audiences hip to his perceptive but ever-cynical take on modern relationships.
Hitchcock’s masterpiece of popular cinema, simply one of the most entertaining thrillers ever made, looks better than ever in this fabulous new 4K digital restoration. With Cary Grant, James Mason, Eva Marie Saint.
Admiring portrait of a rock singer who became a beloved chant master. “Modest and affecting, it’s a portrait of the possibility of finding peace, contentment and self through both music and spirituality.” — Time Out
Direct from Cannes, the latest entry from Jim Jarmusch, past master of punk cool. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are Adam and Eve, blood-sipping lovers since time began. “Passionate and consummately chic.” — Screendaily
Occupying a territory somewhere between ironic essay film and reverie, Gabriel White’s elegantly assembled Oracle Drive roves the well-mown desolation of the North Shore’s light-industrial urban fringe.
New York’s Milestone Films continues its essential mission of restoring the perceptive and socially conscious works of underground American filmmaker Shirley Clarke with this mesmerizing 1985 portrait of jazz icon Ornette Coleman.
An Austrian woman in Kenya plays 'Sugar Mama’ to assorted beach boys in this provocative take on exotic romance.
Fascinating portrait of animator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) who ploughed massive resources into a legendary animated feature, The Thief and the Cobbler, and saw it destroyed. With dazzling surviving sequences.
Stand-up psychoanalytic cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek gets inside some epochal movies -Jaws, Taxi Driver, Titanic, The Sound of Music and many more – to explore what they were really trying to tell us. Provocative and funny.
A visually ravishing, palpably sensual autobiographical feature from Mexican director Carlos Reygadas (Japon, Silent Light), winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes in 2012. “A perverse, dreamlike masterpiece.” — Salon.com
Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch play highway workers, complete opposites, whose job it is to paint centerlines on a rural Texas roadway. “An unconventional, ultimately rather sweet buddy pic that's an audiovisual treat.” — Variety
Recently restored, Shirley Clarke’s Oscar-winning portrait of poet Robert Frost lives on as a precious, gleaming artefact of the JFK era.
Shakespeare’s tale of teen love reimagined as a rock opera set in a beachside caravan park. A triumphant blast of style and 21st-century Kiwi trailer trash pop. Classic tragedy probably shouldn’t be quite this much fun.
When your mate has relationship problems, is it a good idea to bring your girlfriend along to help cheer him up? In Theo Taylor’s perceptive lo-fi feature we out with such a trio over a weekend spent at Lake Tarawera.
The notable British film at Cannes is the tale of two Bradford boys who fall in with a horse-racing scrap metal dealer. “Heartfelt and passionate, fluent and supremely confident... this is a heart-wrenching movie.” — The Guardian
A documentary tribute to one of New Zealand’s most influential and eclectic rock bands of the 80s: the incomparable Skeptics. Featuring a wealth of archival footage, including their controversial 'AFFCO’ video.
Mea Maxima Culpa
A concise account of the Catholic Church’s protection of its most errant priests. “At once cool and scalding, outraged and meticulous; a must-see for everyone, both inside and outside the 'House of God’.” — Financial Times
Comedian and diagnosed sleepwalker Mike Birbiglia directs his own self-portrait. “Birbiglia may just be the new Woody Allen... The funniest, most tender, thoughtful and downright brilliant comedy we’ve seen in years.” — GQ
Amy Taylor’s moving doco explores the impact of Moko, a 'friendly dolphin’, on the eastern coastal communities he frequented in the six months up to his death in 2010 – and one woman’s quest to befriend and protect him.
A sobering and fascinating time capsule of 70s psychedelia and communal hippiedom, with those who lived through the psychedelia, the songs and the madness – all wrapped up with eye-popping home movies and insightful interviews.
This refreshingly unaffected high school comedy-romance was a Sundance hit. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley shared the Grand Jury Acting Award playing a popular boy with booze issues and the shy girl he takes a shine to.
Ken Loach (The Angels’ Share) evokes the collective spirit that won World War II, carried over into the 1945 Labour election victory and welfare states policies in the UK. “A lament, a celebration and a wake-up call.” — Time Out London
Twenty-one-year-old Dree Hemingway and 85-year-old newcomer Besedka Johnson star in an unlikely story of an intergenerational friendship in California’s San Fernando Valley. “An empathic, absorbing tale.” — Village Voice
Actress and director Sarah Polley turns documentary maker to give us a surprising portrait of her own family. “An invigorating powerhouse of a personal documentary, adventurous and absolutely fascinating.” — LA Times
“Mixing archival footage with glorious footage of the mountains themselves... This document of the notorious quest to the top of K2 in 2008, considered more daunting than Everest, is a heart-throbbing experience.” — Hollywood Reporter
A smartly assembled documentary exposé about the terms of agreement that we all blithely click through when we join Facebook or Google or iTunes or a multitude of other websites. “Deeply unnerving stuff.” — Twitch
Loving, music-filled tribute to Chris Strachwitz, guiding force behind legendary roots music label Arhoolie Records. With Ry Cooder, Clifton Chenier, Richard Thompson, Flaco Jiménez and a new generation of roots musicians.
Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem and Olga Kurylenko star in an impressionistic contemplation of eroticism and grace by Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life). “A rapturous photo essay on carnal and spiritual love.” — Time
Tian zhu ding
Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke’s shocking new film draws on spectacular true-crime stories. The oblique observer of how societal change impacts individual lives (Still Life, The World) now confronts contemporary violence head-on.
A rousing music-filled portrait of some of the great backup singers of American pop, rock and R&B, with appreciations from Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Sting and more. “An unexpectedly moving, often joyous triumph.” — Indiewire
A revealing portrait of genius surfer Wayne Lynch, a man with more than a touch of Australian outlaw attitude. Packed with classic footage and interviews with Lynch and other surf legends.
The year’s most tantalising cinematic whatsit from writer/director/editor/composer/star Shane Carruth (Primer). “An out-there yet undeniably gripping tale that's part romance, part sci-fi and utterly original.” — LA Times
Swift and seductive, Stephanie Beth’s take on the grassroots talent of video games is a rare glimpse into a fascinating creative world, and a love letter to the 21st century’s only truly new art form.
The glorious peak achievement of the new feature film culture that burgeoned here in the 70s, Geoff Murphy’s 1983 Utu is unveiled afresh in its ravishing, pictorial splendour. Here it is, our own turbulent history transcribed with cinematic élan – and an elegiac, absurdist vision of the devil’s mischief in paradise.
Join the creators of The Raid, Hobo with a Shotgun, The Blair Witch Project and You’re Next as they unleash the acclaimed sequel to last year’s hit anthology V/H/S.
This documentary teases out the clash in community values underpinning the schoolroom shooting of a gay junior high student in California by a fellow student. Was it murder, a hate crime or justifiable self-defence?
The ravishing glory of the Lake Dal region in Kashmir stands revealed in this delicate tale of two young boatmen who dream and scheme to head to Mumbai together. “A lyrical, tender film.” — Hollywood Reporter
Dylan Horrocks, the noted graphic novelist (Hicksville), explores his family connection to the English astronomer who observed the transit of Venus in 1639. A personable, pro-science doco, dedicated to Sir Paul Callaghan.
Who is entitled to modified weather? Taking their special machine-sculpture, the 'Tornado Diverter’ to the US tornado belt, Swedish artist provocateurs Bigert & Bergström explore humanity’s attempts to control the weather.
In May 1971, Roman Polanski went to Monaco with documentarian Frank Simon to shadow the world’s greatest Formula One racer, Jackie Stewart. The resulting film was praised by racing enthusiasts but considered too specialised for wide release.
Kiwi-born Daniel Joseph Borgman returns to NZ, after a string of successful Danish shorts, with this piercing insight into the world of children, centred on a lonely, imaginative 11-year-old boy’s search for friendship.
Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) delivers a gripping account of the rise and fall of Julian Assange and outted WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning. “Probing, altogether enthralling.” — New York
A handful of the 8,000 candidates who vie for 176 places are put through gruelling competition as the British Army recruits a new intake for its Gurkha force.