Looking through our programme to hone it down to a few particular and personal highlights is near nigh impossible. Aaargh! I’ll tackle this cruel task through films that are at the forefront of my mind because most recently seen at Cannes. A few standouts for me were, in alphabetical order, Aquarius, Elle, Graduation, Paterson, Sieranevada, Toni Erdmann (the first, second and last all feature extraordinary performances by three marvellous actors: Sandra Huller, Sonia Braga and Isabelle Huppert) – but this is not to say that the other films in our great cluster from this year’s especially rich edition of the Competition are any the less rewarding. While also still in Cannes, I was impressed by debut feature Mercenary and captivated by Neruda, from Directors’ Fortnight. Images from Under the Sun have remained with me since seeing this eye-opening film back in October last year, likewise Winter in Lampedusa, which links to Fire At Sea, seen at the Berlinale in February, where I was also riveted by Midnight Special. And I have been haunted by The Clan. As always, I am looking forward to the films from New Zealand that I have not yet had the privilege to see, excited by the prospect of Animation Now!, our inaugural festival-within-the-festival of, you guessed it, animation film, and by our Classic Cinema and Retro strands, in particular my very first encounter with One Eyed Jacks.
- 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
Brazilian actress Sonia Braga has the role of her life in this engrossing and richly surprising portrait of a fiercely intelligent and independent woman fighting to save the apartment she loves from demolition.
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.
Cannes winner Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) directs a tense, involving moral thriller centred on an overbearing father keen to get his daughter out of Romania and into a British university at any price.
Direct from Cannes, Jim Jarmusch’s beautifully calibrated ode to art and ordinariness stars Adam Driver as a New Jersey bus driver who writes poetry in his downtime and Golshifteh Farahani as his cupcake chef wife.
This blackly comic drama from the director of The Death of Mr Lazerescu draws us into the complex dynamics of an extended Bucharest family gathered to memorialise their late beloved patriarch.
Hailed at Cannes as a brilliantly original comic masterpiece, Austrian writer/director Maren Ade’s epic of parent-child dysfunction centres on a father assailing his uptight corporate daughter with crazy pranks.
A young Pacific Islander has to grow up fast when he gets the opportunity to leave his idyllic but oppressive home and take up a professional rugby contract in France in this fierce and entertaining sports drama.
Not your conventional biopic, this enthralling dramatic exploration of the legacy of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda conjures up a fiction in which he is pursued into political exile by an incompetent detective played by Gael García Bernal.
V luchakh solnca
Shot with the permission and supervision of Pyongyang authorities, Under the Sun turns a North Korean propaganda exercise into a deep-cover documentary about life inside one of the world’s most repressive nations.
Austrian filmmaker Jakob Brossmann captures a complex portrait of a tiny Mediterranean island community, its formidable mayor facing economic downturn and the burden of providing a temporary haven to countless refugees.
Gianfranco Rosi’s doco captures traditional life on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa alongside the compassionate, high-tech response to the boatloads of refugees finding landfall there. Best Film, Berlin Film Festival 2016.
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.
Delivered with muscularity and verve, Pablo Trapero’s 80s true crime drama unravels the exploits of a well-connected Buenos Aires businessman and his rugby-star son and their ruthless kidnapping and ransom operation.
A singular Western rightfully restored for the big screen, Marlon Brando’s sole directorial effort and legendary film maudit arrives fresh from its enthusiastic reappraisal at Cannes.