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.
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.
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.
Ik ben Alice
Can a robot establish a ‘human’ relationship with someone? In this account of a Dutch pilot study, we see three elderly women become attached, with varying degrees of resistance, to a caredroid named Alice.
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.
Shu Qi plays the eponymous killer in this ravishingly beautiful foray into historical martial arts territory from Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien. Winner of the Best Director Award at Cannes.
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.
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.
Three brothers with markedly different approaches to their family’s drug-trade dynasty are drawn back to their Calabrian origins in this darkly elegant gangster drama. “Souls is set to be this year’s mafia pic.” — Variety
Le Tout nouveau testament
There’s the Old Testament, the New Testament and now this surreal and funny Brand New one in which God’s ten-year-old daughter leaves home on a mission to liberate humanity from the bored old man’s destructive whims.
“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
Rak ti Khon Kaen
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.
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.
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.
El abrazo de la serpiente
A lone shaman inducts two European ethnographers into the mysteries of the Amazon in this breathtakingly photographed tale of exploration, vividly reimagined from the indigenous point of view.
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’.
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.
Loin des hommes
This gripping existential Western – North African style – sees Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb play two men battling to survive in 50s Algeria. Based on a story by Albert Camus and scored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
After the sudden death of her elderly father, a middle-aged daughter uncovers some incriminating evidence in her mother’s freezer. Screening with Latin Lover.
Writer-director-editor-composer Yury Bykov’s electrically paced, flawlessly performed suspense drama is both a brutal metaphor for the corruption of post-Soviet Russia and a furiously entertaining thriller.
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.
Bande de filles
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.
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.
“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.
Guatemala’s active Pacaya volcano is a symbol of both ancient traditions and modern threats in this absorbing, beautifully shot film about the consequences of a peasant girl’s strategy to avoid an arranged marriage.
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.
The five daughters of a womanising Italian movie star gather to officially commemorate his greatness – and privately sift through the family trash – in this fizzy ensemble comedy, which wittily references Italy’s movie past.
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.
Joshua Oppenheimer follows his extraordinary The Act of Killing with an equally revelatory documentary in which boastful perpetrators of Indonesia’s 1965 massacres are confronted by the brother of one of their victims.
La mafia uccide solo d’estate
In this bold debut, popular Italian TV satirist Pierfrancesco Diliberto mixes rights-of-passage comedy with a fearless send-up of the historic underworld murders that have devastated his native Sicily.
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.
La Loi du marché
In a compelling performance that won him the Best Actor Award at Cannes, Vincent Lindon plays a laid-off factory worker battling to fend for his family and retain compassion and integrity at the bottom of the heap.
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 Nanni Moretti’s mix of wry comedy and sombre family drama, a woman strives to balance life and art as her mother’s health fails – and the actor in the film she’s directing (John Turturro) proves to be a handful.
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.
“Five young sisters in a small coastal Turkish town come of age against a backdrop of sun, secrets, and socially-mandated sexual suppression in [this] heartfelt, beautifully performed debut feature.” — Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
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.
Check out the latest and best Māori and Pasifika short films as selected for NZIFF by Leo Koziol, Director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, and Craig Fasi, Director of the Pollywood Film Festival.
Three sisters in their 20s get to know their teenage half-sister in this charming family drama, beautifully accentuated with flavours and sensations of its unmistakably Japanese setting. From the director of I Wish.
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.
In 1979 a little-known pioneer makes the first modern bungee jump off the Pelorus Bridge in Marlborough. A true story of Kiwi innovation and mateship. Screening with Sunshine Superman*.
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.
En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron
The deeply eccentric Roy Andersson’s meticulously mounted comic sketches move from historic fantasy to hilariously deadpan humour as he muses on humanity’s inescapable absurdity. Golden Lion, Best Film, Venice Film Festival 2014.
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.
Handsomely shot for the giant screen, this story of feuding brothers in a remote valley in Iceland begins as an oddball comedy about sheep farming and grows into a moving tale about a priceless rural heritage under threat.
“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.
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.
Que horas ela volta?
Brazilian actresses Regina Casé and Camila Márdila shared a Special Jury Prize at Sundance for their performances as a good-hearted housemaid at odds with her progressive teenage daughter in this keenly observed family drama.
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.
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.
An unconventional documentary portrait of a father and his middle-aged son. Screening with The End of the Tour*.
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.
Pretending to be a taxi driver negotiating the streets of Tehran, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi makes a fascinating, surprisingly entertaining movie about his own role as a forbidden storyteller and life in Iran today.
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.
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.
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.
Suraj Sharma, the star of Life of Pi, makes a moving Indian indie debut in this bittersweet 80s-set drama about a young man from a mountain village who sets off to find the older brother who’s filled his head with dreams of America.
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.
Omoide no Marnie
A shy girl makes a mysterious new friend while convalescing in a sleepy seaside village in this gorgeous Studio Ghibli adaptation of the children’s novel by Joan G. Robinson. Animated by Yonebayashi Hiromasa (Arrietty).
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.
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.