Cactuslab is the team behind the NZIFF website. We've put together our top picks for this fantastic festival even though our only qualifications are that we really really love films, and have incredibly good taste. At least, most of us do. And naturally those of us who don’t are wrong and have had their picks quietly edited out.
- Dominic Corry
- Dunedin Film Society: Raphael Richter-Gravier
- Staff Picks: Andrew Harrison
- Staff Picks: Ant Timpson
- Staff Picks: Bill Gosden
- Staff Picks: Caroline Palmer
- Staff Picks: Cianna Canning
- Staff Picks: Collette Wright
- Staff Picks: Felicity Drace
- Staff Picks: Hedda ten Holder
- Staff Picks: Jo Scott
- Staff Picks: Kailey Carruthers
- Staff Picks: Kate McGee
- Staff Picks: Lynn Smart
- Staff Picks: Melanie Rae
- Staff Picks: Michael McDonnell
- Staff Picks: Nic Marshall
- Staff Picks: Nick Paris
- Staff Picks: Rebecca McMillan
- Staff Picks: Rosie Jones
- Staff Picks: Sandra Reid
- Staff Picks: Tim Wong
- Wellington Film Society
Punk rockers and skinheads clash in this intense, darkly humorous game of cat-and-mouse, from the director of bracing indie thriller Blue Ruin.
“Propulsive action drama meets philosophical rumination in A War, a superlative Danish take on the Middle East-set soldier story – think American Sniper by way of Borgen.” — Kevin Maher, The Times
This politically charged, spine-chilling debut from Iranian Babak Anvari is a tense and atmospheric thriller set in a haunted Tehran apartment during the terrifying final days of the Iran-Iraq War.
Everyone knows the moon-landing was faked for the television cameras, but nobody had quite so much evidence before actor/director Matt Johnson uncovered this astounding behind-the-scenes footage, starring himself.
Artist Sam Hamilton speculates on the unique and relational aspects of our solar system’s major celestial bodies and their cultural, scientific and existential meaning for us in this dense experimental film.
Blending animation with live action, oral history and archival footage, Keith Maitland’s SXSW winner is a suspenseful doco that recreates the terrible day of America’s first mass shooting on a campus.
Voted in Sight & Sound’s 2012 poll the third greatest film of all time (and topping the list among directors), Ozu Yasujiro’s sublime family drama is as relevant today as it has ever been, in a sparkling new restoration.
In Alison Maclean’s vibrant screen adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s debut novel, a first-year acting student (James Rolleston) channels the real-life experience of his girlfriend’s family into art and sets off a moral minefield.
Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau
An intensely romantic night in Paris begins for two young men when they experience the coup de foudre in a sex club orgy, then roam the empty city streets in a post-coital daze and begin to get acquainted.
Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle and Keith Carradine star in Terence Davies’ lively, witty and ultimately intensely moving dramatisation of the sheltered life of 19th-century New England poet Emily Dickinson.
Three distinct ‘explorers’ – a marine scientist, an improvised sound artist and an underground poet – form the nexus of this unique, visually arresting documentary from New Zealand filmmakers Adam Luxton and Summer Agnew.
Winner of the 2016 César for Best Film, Fatima is a beautifully nuanced portrait of an immigrant single mother giving everything to better the lives of her two very different teenage daughters.
La mort de Louis XIV
A master of minimalist portraits of historical figures, Albert Serra (Story of My Death, NZIFF14) directs French New Wave doyen Jean-Pierre Léaud as Louis XIV during the last days of his 72-year reign as the king of France.
Australian Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil (Charlie’s Country) returns to his Arnhem Land hometown with filmmaker Molly Reynolds to explain ‘what happened to my culture when it was interrupted by your culture’.
Paul Dano discovers all the tools he needs for survival in Daniel Radcliffe’s multi-purpose corpse in this wildly weird desert island comedy from viral and music video oddballs the Daniels.
Based on a behind-the-scenes exposé written by former South African politician Andrew Feinstein, this excoriating doco from Johan Grimonprez offers a superb and succinct examination of the global arms trade.
Director Thorsten Schütte’s doco splices together performance and interview footage of the ever-articulate rock star (and talk-show guest) Frank Zappa to recount the story of his defiantly non-conformist musical journey.
Hands down the grossest, weirdest and truly most ‘WTF?’ film screening at NZIFF. A perverted combination of John Waters at his appalling best and the warped comedy of Adult Swim’s Tim & Eric.
In Ben Wheatley's ambitious, wildly disorienting adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel, tenants of a high-tech skyscraper slip into a literal class war. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Elisabeth Moss.
From Iranian master Asghar Farhadi: a violent incident rocks the marriage of two Tehran actors in this Cannes award winner for Best Actor and Best Screenplay.
Genre subversive Paul Verhoeven, director of Basic Instinct and Black Book, teams up with the great Isabelle Huppert to craft this provocative, blackly comic thriller.
An amazingly up-close and personal view inside the New York mayoral campaign that became a media frenzy when the charismatic candidate with the excruciatingly appropriate name couldn’t keep himself from sexting.
A bizarre, sublimely surreal vampire-mermaid musical from Poland about two siren sisters who lure their prey from the stage of a trashy Warsaw nightclub.
Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst and newcomer Jaeden Lieberher star in this dazzling, genre-defying sci-fi/chase movie from the director of Mud and Take Shelter.