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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Director John Boorman’s comic memoir of postwar days as an unwilling conscript in the British Army is steeped in bittersweet nostalgia for misspent youth, first love and a Britain that faced the future by clinging to the past.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.