NZIFF Booklet

Films by Must See

Cactuslab

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.

Green Room

Jeremy Saulnier

Punk rockers and skinheads clash in this intense, darkly humorous game of cat-and-mouse, from the director of bracing indie thriller Blue Ruin.

A War

Krigen

Tobias Lindholm

“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

Under the Shadow

Babak Anvari

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.

Operation Avalanche

Matt Johnson

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.

Apple Pie

Sam Hamilton

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.

Tower

Keith Maitland

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.

Tokyo Story

Tokyo monogatari

Ozu Yasujiro

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.

The Rehearsal

Alison Maclean

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.

Paris 05:59

Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau

Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau

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.

A Quiet Passion

Terence Davies

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.

On an Unknown Beach

Adam Luxton, Summer Agnew

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.

Fatima

Philippe Faucon

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.

The Death of Louis XIV

La mort de Louis XIV

Albert Serra

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.

Another Country

Molly Reynolds

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’.

Swiss Army Man

Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan

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.

Shadow World

Johan Grimonprez

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.

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

Thorsten Schütte

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.

The Greasy Strangler

Jim Hosking

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.

High-Rise

Ben Wheatley

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.

The Salesman

Forushande

Asghar Farhadi

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.

Elle

Paul Verhoeven

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.

Weiner

Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

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.

The Lure

Córki dancingu

Agnieszka Smoczyńska

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.

Midnight Special

Jeff Nichols

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.