Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are deeply affecting in award-winning roles as a retired Norfolk couple preparing for their 45th-anniversary party, when a ghost from the past raises awkward, long-buried questions.
Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s doco celebrates 50 years of cultural and political debate in the pages of The New York Review of Books with octogenarian editor Robert Silvers, its tireless champion of intellectual freedom.
Decades after it was deemed too deviant to release, 54: The Director’s Cut delivers the full decadent glory of legendary Manhattan disco Studio 54 as its makers intended. With Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek and Mike Myers.
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.
Charting the ripple effects of real compassion, this inspiring true story follows a spirited young New Zealander’s search for the Rwandan samaritan who assisted him through a dangerous predicament over ten years before.
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.
NZIFF recommends this programme for children aged 9–12.
This year’s big-screen celebration of the latest and best animated shorts is a dazzler, including Don Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film at Sundance.
Om de wereld in 50 concerten
Dutch director Heddy Honigmann’s beautiful documentary follows Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to Russia, Argentina and Soweto, subtly exploring the depth of feeling music stirs in both players and listeners.
Christchurch filmmaker Peter Young celebrates the creative spirits that have brought life and community back to the heart of the city.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) is known as the ‘Father of Yoga in the West’. In this fascinating documentary, produced by the Self-Realization Fellowship who continues his work, we learn about his extraordinary life.
Documenting the frenzy of adulation and controversy that erupted during street artist Banksy’s month-long ‘residency’ in New York, Chris Moukarbel energetically examines issues of art and ownership within the public space.
Loaded with footage of his legendary stunts, and packed with anecdotes almost as hair-raising, this warts-and-all portrait of 70s motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel upholds his primacy in the extreme sports pantheon.
This impressive doco disperses the fog of shame and sensationalism to shed light on the tragedy that made international headlines in 2007 when a young Wainuiomata woman died during a mākutu lifting.
Anticipating the punch-counterpunch set-up of today’s TV punditry, but so much more incisive, the 1968 TV debates between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr resound again in this terrific documentary.
“Matthew Heineman’s troubling documentary about vigilante groups on both sides of the border in the porous region between Mexico and the Southwestern US – an area increasingly taken over by drug cartels – is explosive stuff.” — New York
This testimony of shattered young veterans of Israel’s 1967 Six-Day War was taped at the time in a project headed by author Amos Oz – and immediately suppressed in the interests of national morale by the Israeli army.
This affectionate portrait of Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold is also a love letter to the culinary and cultural wonders of Los Angeles, from Beverly Hills fine dining to strip mall noodle joints and taco carts.
Actresses Juliet Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz bring ample personal history to this engrossing drama of theatre-world affinities and rivalries from the director of Summer Hours and Irma Vep.
This provocative legal drama from Mumbai puts a singer on trial for inciting suicide. “A startlingly clear-eyed and multifaceted vision of a society that remains damagingly mired in outmoded traditions.” — Slant
A winning portrait of Italian-born Auckland concert pianist Flavio Villani as he returns like the prodigal son to Italy for his concert debut, scaling one of the summits of the Romantic repertoire.
Two metalheads unleash a satanic riff that opens the gates of hell in this blood-splattered, heavy shredding comedy-horror. The winner of the Make My Horror Movie competition hits home shores after wowing audiences overseas.
An amazing gust of fresh air from the 70s! Starring Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård and the phenomenal Bel Powley as 15-year-old Minnie, who, brave, funny and ever true to herself, embarks on an affair with an older man.
Three high school geeks, obsessed with 90s hip-hop, get into risky business with molly moving gangstas in this fast, funny LA street comedy, featuring a star-making performance from the charismatic Shameik Moore.
Filmmaker Kim Longinotto accompanies the irrepressible ex-hooker Brenda Myers-Powell as she storms the streets, prisons and high schools of Chicago to inspire young women caught in the cycle of abuse with the story of her escape.
Sidse Babett Knudsen from Borgen and Chiara D’Anna star as lovers locked in a game of mistress and servant in this consummately coutured, surreal fantasy inspired by European soft-core of the 70s.
The creators of BBC’s Deep Blue and Earth take us on a spellbinding journey through seven realms of Africa to reveal a natural world more magical and mystical than anything we could imagine.
“This charming and sensitive film about a five-day encounter between acclaimed late author David Foster Wallace and a Rolling Stone journalist is a transfixing human drama.” — Anthony Kaufman, Screendaily
Archival footage and interviews are used to stirring effect in this doco that shows how Britain’s striking miners in 1984 were ill-equipped to face an overwhelming, lengthy and ‘carefully orchestrated state crackdown’.
Observing the planning and construction of New Zealand’s first ‘living building’, Te Wharehou o Tūhoe, Sarah Grohnert draws on images of incredible beauty to portray the profound connection between Ngāi Tūhoe and the land.
This intellectually teasing, near-future drama stars Domhnall Gleeson, with Oscar Isaac as a reclusive AI genius and an eerily bewitching Alicia Vikander as the android Ava, programmed to test the boundaries of creation.
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.
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.
Archival film of Scottish life is shaped into a kaleidoscopic evocation of work and recreation in the 20th century, stirringly scored with original songs by Fife musician/singer/songwriter King Creosote.
Alex Gibney’s documentary sensation, based on Lawrence Wright’s best-selling history of Scientology and its apostates, gets the big screen treatment it deserves.
Lily Tomlin is perfectly cast as a sharp-tongued, taboo-breaking granny who comes out fighting for her pregnant teenage granddaughter in this constantly surprising comedy-drama from About a Boy director Paul Weitz.
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.
This rousing history of the ideals and origins of Greenpeace makes lavish use of video archives of early action – and examines the far-reaching conflicts that arose as the founders clashed about tactics and priorities.
In their last film, two documentary masters, Les Blank and Ricky Leacock, get together to chat about films, friends and the joys of French cuisine. “Like a parting gift from them to cinema.” — Jeff Reichert, Reverse Shot
“Paul Thomas Anderson has taken Thomas Pynchon’s novel about the death of the hippie counterculture and turned it, reasonably faithfully, into a surreally funny, anxious and beautiful film noir.” — The Telegraph
Veteran documentary maestro Albert Maysles’ Iris is a captivating salute to a proud flag-bearer of the vanishing quality of fashion individuality, the legendary New York clotheshorse and design darling Iris Apfel.
The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra plus Charlie Chaplin equals glorious Live Cinema. Marc Taddei conducts Chaplin’s score for The Kid, arranged by Carl Davis, and Timothy Brock’s new score for the wildly funny The Immigrant.
Cole Porter’s irreverent take on The Taming of the Shrew is one of the most pleasurable (and fabulously danced) MGM musicals of the 50s – and the only one produced in 3D. With Ann Miller, Howard Keel and Bob Fosse.
The candid, definitive and hugely entertaining tale of the rise of The Who, named for the cinephilic pair of Swinging Londoners who figured that managing a band would be a great way to get a movie made.
With never-before-seen photos, audio and film footage, British documentarian Stevan Riley delivers an enthrallingly intimate look at the brilliant, troubled and always charismatic Marlon Brando.
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) casts Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly and Léa Seydoux in a surreal English-language fable set in a world where singles are forced to couple up or be turned into animals.
The life, music and passionate commitment of the irresistible Mavis Staples are lovingly chronicled in this spirited doco – with help from fans Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Chuck D, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Prince.
Scoring its points through clearly stated arguments and pithy humour, Merchants of Doubt examines the methods corporations use to stymie political actions that would be good for public health, but bad for their bottom lines.
A new summit in mountain sports documentary – with characters and a plot to rival many a feature, Meru captures the sheer physical extremity of two attempts to make the first ascent of a precipitous Himalayan peak.
In her final completed film, playing a dramatic role created by her husband Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe is touching, and radiant as ever, as a showgirl whose intensely sympathetic nature upends the lives of three cowboy drifters.
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.
In J.C. Chandor’s intense, 80s-set thriller an ambitious wheeler-dealer on New York’s contested waterfront (Oscar Isaac) tries to detoxify his business, but his Mob daughter wife (Jessica Chastain) has other ideas.
Check out the year’s best New Zealand short films as chosen by guest selector Christine Jeffs, from a shortlist drawn up by NZIFF programmers from a total of 75 entries.
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.
Present-day art world stars pay tribute in a lavishly illustrated profile of the arts patron extraordinaire who transformed a modest fortune and adventurous taste into one of the premier collections of 20th-century art.
As deeply fascinated by the conceptual as the biographical, this comprehensive portrait of one of our great experimental artists is essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in New Zealand art and music.
The director and riveting star of Barbara reunite for another moving film noir-inflected tale of love and profound suspicion, this time set amidst the reconstruction of Berlin in the immediate aftermath of WWII.
Completed in 1974 and withheld from exhibition until now, Les Blank’s legendary documentary about musician Leon Russell mixes live and studio performances into an amazing time capsule from the heart of 70s rock.
Kim Webby’s background in investigative journalism is put to riveting use in this documentary about Tame Iti and the Urewera Four, taking a criminal case of national interest to explore a greater social issue.
“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
Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders, personal trainers in an Austin gym, and their new New York schlub client, Kevin Corrigan, embark on colliding paths to self-improvement in Andrew Bujalski’s wry rom com.
A historic wooden Chinese sailing junk that crossed the Pacific in 1955 makes an even more improbable return journey after the family of its original sailors campaign to save it from the scrapheap and bring it home.
The latest French biopic of the iconic fashion designer is a heady experience, stunningly realised without official YSL approval, and concentrating on the decade that culminated with a triumphant collection in 1976.
Ethan Hawke’s music-laden documentary ushers us into the company of octogenarian former concert pianist and tireless teacher Seymour Bernstein, and invites us to share his humour, vitality and penetrating wisdom.
Australian filmmaker Jennifer Peedom’s superb doco captures the 2014 climbing season on Everest from the point of view of Sherpa Phurba Tashi, including the tragic avalanche and its aftermath.
All the anger, joy and turmoil of the 60s–70s feminist explosion comes alive in a vivid documentary, blending the recollections of key US campaigners with archival action likely to astound anyone who wasn’t there.
New Zealand-born Margot Nash scrutinises the memories and mementoes of her childhood to understand the unhappiness of her parents, and the corrosive instability of the household from which she fled as a young woman in the early 70s.
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.
Lavishly illustrated with long-lost motor racing footage and rich in interviews with the veteran drivers who were there, this doco explores the making of Steve McQueen’s ill-fated Hollywood epic, Le Mans.
Filled with his spectacular footage, this doco retraces the exploits of the late Carl Boenish, an aerial cinematographer and the father of the extreme sport of BASE jumping.
Il racconto dei racconti
Drawing on the rich and lurid vein of Neapolitan fairy tales, Matteo Garrone’s lavish, eye-popping fantasy thrusts a stellar international cast into its wildly baroque world of kings, queens, hags and monsters.
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.
Shirley Horrocks’ doco sheds new light on the life and art of Tom Kreisler, a 20th-century New Zealand painter with scant interest in landscape but a strong affinity with Mexican traditions and the wit and verve of Pop Art.
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.
An after-midnight flirtation on the streets of Berlin gets thrillingly side-tracked by another chase entirely. Filmed in a single real-time take, it’s an edit-free pièce de résistance of acting, directing and mobile camerawork.
Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are a middle-aged couple seduced by the attention of super-hip young Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried in this pointed and funny New York comedy about acting your age.
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.
Gillian Armstrong’s doco celebrates the colourful Orry-Kelly, the Australian-born designer who dressed Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca, Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot and Bette Davis in many of her greatest roles.
Profiling six of the women directly affected, Mary Durham’s documentary provides fresh and painful insight into our worst modern industrial tragedy and its aftermath as a continuous chain of humanitarian failures.
With a soundtrack you can sing along to, this spirited doco celebrates the hitherto anonymous LA session musicians who enlivened hit LPs by The Byrds, Cher, Nancy and Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, The Monkees and many more.
This nerve-racking wartime thriller from director Yann Demange and Black Watch writer Gregory Burke stars Jack O’Connell (Starred Up) as a lost British soldier hunted by both sides amid the mayhem of Belfast, 1971.