NZIFF Booklet

Films by Must See

Staff Picks: Kailey Carruthers

As an aspiring festival 'lifer' and amateur cinephile, my 2015 picks span a wide array of subjects and styles. While the list below is a small teaser of my ever-growing wishlist, these are the films that I simply cannot miss seeing for the first or sometimes second time. Always one to give'r for the Canadian content, I look forward to experiencing the wild and woolly programme heading our way this year.

Out of the Mist: An Alternate History of New Zealand Cinema

Tim Wong

Tim Wong’s elegantly assembled and illustrated film essay contemplates the prevailing image of our national cinema while privileging some of the images and image-makers displaced by the popular view of filmmaking in New Zealand.

Cemetery of Splendour

Rak ti Khon Kaen

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

A hospital full of sleeping soldiers is haunted by matters both historical and intensely personal in the latest gentle and entrancingly beautiful cinematic enigma from the Thai Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

The Forbidden Room

Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson

A demented mash up of lurid, long-lost movies that never existed, this new work from Canadian genius Guy Maddin plunges a starry art house cast into phantasmagorical scenarios of melodramatic weirdness.

Turbo Kid

François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell

In the post-apocalyptic future of 1997, Turbo Kid must face down an evil warlord and rescue the girl of his dreams. This retro sci-fi delight is packed with heart, humour and non-stop geysers of blood.

Tangerine

Sean Baker

Shot on iPhone and looking fantastic, Sean Baker’s R-rated comedy storms the streets, doughnut shops, brothels and clubs of West Hollywood as two transgender BFFs hunt down the ‘bitch’ who did them wrong.

The Tribe

Plemya

Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy

This strange and original multi-award winner from Ukraine employs a deaf cast to enact its lacerating vision of teenage prostitution and gang war brutality in a Kiev boarding school.

Experimenter

Michael Almereyda

Led by an arresting, coolly clinical performance from Peter Sarsgaard, this potent examination of one of the most controversial figures in social psychology is as indelibly stylised as it is intellectually stimulating.

Mommy

Xavier Dolan

The emotional roller-coaster of a single mother’s relationship with her ADHD teenage son is rendered with intense sympathy and dramatic flair by 25-year-old director Xavier Dolan. Winner of the Cannes Jury Prize in 2014.

Girlhood

Bande de filles

Céline Sciamma

Newcomer Karidja Touré makes a mesmerising impression as a teenager drawn out of her shell and into a black girl gang in Céline Sciamma’s energetic and deeply empathetic drama, set in the tough suburbs of Paris.

Song of the Sea

Tomm Moore

An enthralling reinterpretation of Irish folktales… Sophisticated enough to appeal to adults and packed with enough humour and adventure to work for youngsters, Song of the Sea is a real animated gem.

Red Army

Gabe Polsky

“Gabe Polsky’s electrifying look at a once-unbeatable Soviet hockey team and the link between sports and politics… deserves a big boo-yah from audiences for being illuminating and hugely entertaining.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Ana Lily Amirpour

Our chador-wearing heroine walks the night-time streets of Bad City sinking her teeth into those who deserve to die. Outrageously languid, this new-school vampire movie is a triumphant first feature for Ana Lily Amirpour.

99 Homes

Ramin Bahrani

Andrew Garfield makes a deal with the devil in Ramin Bahrani’s searing moral thriller – a bitter examination of One Percent corruption, personified by Michael Shannon’s duplicitous real estate shark. Co-stars Laura Dern.

Amy

Asif Kapadia

An intimate, overwhelmingly moving tribute to Amy Winehouse, the great young British soul singer whose talent and charisma brought her more fame than anyone might be able to handle. From the director of Senna.

The Wolfpack

Crystal Moselle

In this stranger-than-fiction doco, we meet six brothers who have spent their entire lives locked by their father into their Manhattan apartment – where they watch movies obsessively and film their own ingenious re-enactments.

Holding the Man

Neil Armfield

The memoir of a gay love affair that began at school when the author fell for the captain of the football team and ended in tragedy 15 years later is already a classic of Australian literature, and now an inspiring, heartbreaking film.