Umi yori mo mada fukaku
A formerly successful novelist tries to reconnect with his ex-wife and young son in this affectionate, shrewdly observed drama of family life from Japan’s unassuming master, Kore-eda Hirokazu (Our Little Sister).
Party on. Millennial searchers drink, drug, dance and love night after long summer night in this seductive blurring of documentary and fiction shot in the outdoor bars, dance clubs and house parties of Warsaw.
NZIFF recommends this programme for children aged 4+
NZIFF recommends this programme for children aged 8+
A celebratory showcase of some of the year’s brightest and best animated shorts. If you’re looking to sample the animation ecosystem in all of its multi-coloured, variously shaped glories, there’s no better place to begin.
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’.
Copenhagen-based Noma and celebrated chef-owner René Redzepi relocate the restaurant and its entire staff to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo for five sold-out weeks of spectacular lunches and dinners with specially created menus.
A wry character study of a bored young Spaniard galvanised into action by the bureaucratic conundrums that confront him when he tries to have his baptism annulled from the records of the Catholic Church.
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.
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.
Zonda: folclore argentino
Carlos Saura, the Spanish director of such classics as Flamenco, Tango and Blood Wedding, mounts a dazzling showcase for the leading contemporary performers of traditional Argentinian music and dance.
À peine j’ouvre les yeux
Tradition butts up against progress in Leyla Bouzid’s debut, a musically charged French-Tunisian film that follows a young woman in a band as she navigates familial and cultural strictures on the eve of the Jasmine Revolution.
Revisiting an infamous literary scandal of the last decade, Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary re-examines the many lives of Laura Albert, who was exposed as the true author of sensational bestsellers by teenage prodigy JT LeRoy.
A 90-year-old Jewish woman reflects on a lifetime of experiences as she prepares to try bacon for the first time. Screening with Obit.
Quand on a 17 ans
An attentive mother (Sandrine Kiberlain) intervenes unwittingly in her son’s passionate feud with another boy in this intimate, engrossing and original coming-of-age drama set in the spectacular Pyrenees.
An alarming look at the power of the internet: a meme inspires two girls to murder their friend. This doco explores the real-life horrors of the digital age.
La calle de la amargura
“Veteran auteur and master of the Mexican bizarre, Arturo Ripstein – an influence on a generation of his country’s directors – plunges us into a Mexico City of crime, prostitution and luchador wrestling.” — Film Forum
The late performance artist Chris Burden was first known for confronting works involving extreme physical peril, but his later installations are almost universally adored. This compelling new film charts his journey.
Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson assembles excerpts and offcuts from her remarkable career (to date) to evoke an assortment of uneasily resolved questions about ethics and compassion in documentary film.
Renaissance man Viggo Mortensen steals the show as a solo father whose idealistic way of raising his six children off the grid comes under attack in this energetic, comedic drama.
Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart are beautifully attuned to Meek’s Cutoff director Kelly Reichardt’s intimately observed, interwoven tales of three independent women in contemporary small town Montana.
Defying the media bans inside the camps, this combination of whistle-blower testimony and illegal footage leaves no doubt about the cruel reality of Australia’s off-shore refugee detention centres.
Six gentlemen of leisure sail the Aegean in a gleaming yacht and compete to determine which of them is ‘The Best in General’ in this bone-dry take on contemporary manhood, directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg).
Thanks to an astonishingly crisp restoration, Orson Welles’ 1965 Shakespearean masterpiece lives anew. Welles gives a mammoth performance as the Bard’s tragic fool Falstaff, along with John Gielgud as Henry IV and Keith Baxter as Hal.
This inventive romcom starring writer/director Hayden J. Weal and featuring Julian Dennison and Michelle Ny, reminds us that there’s no more romantic place to fall in love than Wellington – in the summer. World Premiere.
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.
Médecin de campagne
French box-office star François Cluzet (The Intouchables) is a doctor reluctantly introducing a younger female trainee to his country practice in this touching and funny drama from doctor-turned-director Thomas Lilti.
French singer Soko and Lily-Rose Depp star in this exquisitely dressed, spectacularly danced drama inspired by the true story of two rival pioneers of modern dance in late 19th-century Paris.
The most lauded Australian drama of the last year, this bold, superbly acted debut from acclaimed theatre director Simon Stone reimagines Ibsen’s The Wild Duck in a contemporary small town.
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.
Guest expat Kiwi filmmaker Heath Cozens presents his provocative documentary about members of a Tokyo fight club where the disabled enter the ring to battle each other and the able-bodied.
Filmmaker Sebastián Silva (The Maid) travels to Miami to fulfill his lifelong dream of swimming with a dolphin. Screening with Wild.
Mãe só há uma
A 17-year-old boy is transplanted from the poor neighbourhood that nurtured him to the home of his well-to-do birth parents in this potent Brazilian drama of family and sexual identity from the director of The Second Mother.
Ejhdeha Vared Mishavad!
Invigorating trademark interplay between truth and fiction with uncommon cinematic bravado, this highly original political mystery, told from multiple perspectives and time periods, is unlike any other Iranian film in existence.
This homegrown fantasy spectacular features a father and son on a perilous quest to steal a magical wish-granting scale from a fierce dragon. Screening with Captain Fantastic.
A 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl breaks a gender barrier to follow her father and train hunting eagles in this spectacular and entertaining documentary.
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.
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.
“Body confidence does not come from trying to achieve ‘the perfect body’. It comes from embracing the one you’ve already got.” Australian body image activist Taryn Brumfitt exemplifies her message in this lively doco.
Poesía sin fin
A glorious feast for the senses, the latest film from Chilean octogenarian and life-long maverick Alejandro Jodorowsky revisits his coming of age as an aspiring young poet in the bohemian Santiago of the 40s and 50s.
Written, produced and directed by women and with women in all the key roles, this smart and entertaining film about an ambitious investment banker (Anna Gunn) puts a feminist twist on the Wall Street thriller.
Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa follows his monumental documentary Maïdan with this found-footage epic vividly recalling popular optimism at the failed coup of August 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union.
Richard Linklater follows Boyhood by recalling his own first days at college in this hilarious, deeply relaxed comedy about male bonding, set in the bars, discos, parties and frat houses of 1980 Austin.
The modern well-to-do Czech family is skewered in director Olmo Omerzu’s mordant drama of free-wheeling parents, unfettered teenagers, and their faithful, long-suffering border collie.
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.
Meet the world’s largest sacred miniature park resident. Screening with Francofonia.
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.
Les premiers, les derniers
Two bounty hunters searching the flatlands of Western Europe for a stolen cellphone cross paths with two lovers on the run from the end of the world in this deadpan delight from Belgian actor/director Bouli Lanners.
Behind the scenes at the New York Met’s sumptuous 2015 Costume Institute show ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ and its Anna Wintour-spearheaded opening ball, the celebrity packed Met Gala.
New Zealand filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly’s moving portrayal of one man’s journey to restore thousands of hours of film heritage in post-Taliban Afghanistan, a journey that uncovers the very nearly forgotten history of his ravaged country.
The director of Russian Ark turns his attention to the Louvre in this hauntingly illustrated tribute to the great art museum and its preservation of cultural heritage through the rise and fall of empires.
The power of faith to heal – and hurt – is dramatised with bruising compassion in Jake Mahaffy’s Venice-prizewinning tale set within a Memphis storefront church congregation.
Rich with clips and lively interviews, this doco traces the running movement over the past 50 years – the struggle for the right to run, especially for women, then the explosion of grassroots road races and marathons.
Jim Jarmusch pays tribute to seminal proto-punk champs the Stooges and their wiry frontman Iggy Pop in this tremendously entertaining rock doco, charting their rise and premature demise through to their late-career revival.
Recommended For Ages 12+
Se Dio vuole
This Italian box-office hit won Best New Director for Edoardo Falcone at the Italian Oscars and tells the comic tale of an atheist surgeon, a charismatic priest, and the dysfunctional family caught in the middle.
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.
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.
Punk rockers and skinheads clash in this intense, darkly humorous game of cat-and-mouse, from the director of bracing indie thriller Blue Ruin.
Based on Welsh novelist Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, this outrageous and lusciously erotic thriller from the director of Oldboy transposes a Victorian tale of sex, duplicity and madness to 1930s Japanese-occupied Korea.
An epic, richly understated contemporary drama of friendship and relationships told through the lives of four Japanese women. Winner of acting and screenwriting awards at the Locarno Film Festival 2015.
An enchanted cinematic essay by legendary performance artist Laurie Anderson. A self-narrated punk meditation on love and death; exquisitely crafted and effortlessly profound.
Luit Bieringa’s richly archived documentary examines the legacy of Gordon Tovey and the post-war education programmes that put art, artists, and Māori arts in particular, into the New Zealand classroom.
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.
Filmmaker Wang Nanfu shares alarming risks with her subject, accompanying fearless Chinese women’s rights activist Ye Haiyan on a mission while facing intimidation at every turn.
Two Finnish backpackers take jobs as live-in barmaids in an Australian outback pub and are gobsmacked by the rampant sexism of the boss and clientele in this alarming fly-on-the-wall doco.
This often funny and ultimately intensely moving tale of the friendship between an out-of-work Newcastle carpenter and a young single mother won for Britain’s Ken Loach a second Palme d’Or for Best Film at Cannes this year.
A plane crash, government corruption and nuclear warheads are just some of the ingredients for this taut Danish docu-drama, set in the aftermath of the Cold War. Based on a book by the award-winning journalist Poul Brink.
Ya Tayr El Tayer
There’s no such thing as instant stardom in this rousing dramatisation of the true story of Mohammed Assaf, a boy from Gaza whose golden voice took the Arab world by storm in 2013.
Adapted from Philip Roth’s autobiographical novel of the same name, Indignation is an incisive, affecting drama of embattled individuality on a 50s American campus. With Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon.
Successive generations of immigrant Americans mix it up in veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s celebration of a community fighting gentrification in New York’s most ethnically and culturally diverse neighbourhood.
This seductive physical and psychological journey through Istanbul with writer Orhan Pamuk mixes imagined narratives from his novel The Museum of Innocence and the real-world museum he created alongside it.
Based on a true story from post-World War II Poland, this satisfying drama follows a young female French doctor who finds herself caught up in the lives of nuns, traumatised and shamed by their wartime suffering.
Directed by a longtime friend, this documentary tribute to the life and work of war correspondent James Foley ensures that he will be well remembered for much more than his grisly public death at the hands of ISIS.
Nicholas Ray’s legendary 1954 Western put Joan Crawford in trousers with seething rival Mercedes McCambridge inciting mob violence. Riper, and more weirdly affecting than ever in this brilliant 4K Trucolor restoration.
Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar (All About My Mother) returns to his roots with another satisfying female-centric emotional drama, cutting between past and present to explore the loves and regrets of his anxious heroine.
Director Robert Greene and actress Kate Lyn Sheil blur fiction and reality as they investigate and reconstruct the story of newscaster Christine Chubbuck, who infamously committed suicide live on-air in 1974.
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.
In this tense, moving war drama, based on fact, a Danish sergeant takes charge of a group of youthful German POWs put to work defusing explosives on the coast of Denmark in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
Spectacular cinematography captures the world of bands of children who rove war-torn Afghanistan, scavenging, stealing, trading and surviving with gusto, in a film that artfully combines documentary and re-enactment.
Amazing Race supremo Phil Keoghan jumps onto a 1928 bike to ride the Tour de France as experienced by Kiwi Harry Watson, one of the first English-speaking cyclists to enter, let alone complete the race.
The fears that trouble a ten-year-old boy in 80s Montreal are evoked with humour, sensitivity and singular power in this amazing autobiographical portrait of childish innocence and vulnerability.
This incredibly moving and fascinating doco takes us into the interior life of autistic Owen Suskind, and explores how his love of Disney animated features gave him the tools as a child to communicate with the world.
Zhi fan ye mao
The impact of China’s industrialisation on rural families simmers in the background of this dry, elegantly composed tale of reincarnation and relocation, produced by leading Chinese auteur Jia Zhang-ke.
La pazza gioia
“This high-energy romp is a superb showcase for its two lead actresses as they impetuously extend a group outing from the residential clinic into a two-character outlaw adventure.” — Lisa Nesselson, Screendaily
Two New York boys fight to keep their parents’ personal business from sabotaging their connection in Ira Sachs’ tender tale set against the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighbourhood.
Les vies de Thérèse
Filmed over the last months of her life, this compelling and inspiring portrait of the French feminist thinker and activist Thérèse Clerc celebrates her extraordinary evolution and vital legacy.
Werner Herzog, director of such notable classics of the non-fiction realm as Grizzly Man, turns his inimitable eye on the galloping evolution of the internet, its geniuses and its ominous implications for creation at large.
Tout en haut du monde
Long Way North is a beautifully animated historical fantasy about a 19th-century Russian girl who embarks on a hazardous adventure to the North Pole to find her grandfather’s ship and save her family’s honour.
Sue Brooks (Road to Nhill, Japanese Story) applies her unique blend of comedy and drama as distraught parents (Radha Mitchell and Richard Roxburgh) hit the road in pursuit of runaway teenage daughter Grace (Odessa Young).
Bella e perduta
“Layering together the past, the present, and the timeless world of nature, Pietro Marcello fuses styles to explore Italy’s bucolic traditions and fragile but enduring cultural legacies.” — Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment
Five unconventional shorts from around the world deliver twisted tales of teenage heartbreak, relationship doom, queer romance, online commodification and a feverish found-footage dream of sex and death.
Jena Malone and Riley Keough play former college friends whose infrequent meetings run deep in director So Yong Kim’s intimate, beautifully nuanced study of friendship and the attraction of opposites.
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.
A young girl’s life is turned upside down when her father returns from Africa with a second wife and new baby in tow. Winner Best Short Film at Toronto 2015 and Sundance 2016. Screening with Sand Storm.
A stunning digital restoration of Robert Altman’s classic, lyrical reinvention of the American Western, made in 1971. Warren Beatty stars as a gambler going into business with Cockney madam Julie Christie. Songs by Leonard Cohen.
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.
In the uncommonly moving seventh episode of Wellington filmmaker Tony Hiles’ documentary series celebrating the creative skills of his friend, Michael Smither, he finds the renowned artist returning after 40 years to portraiture.
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.
Academy Award-winning documentary maker Barbara Kopple delivers definitive proof, from show-stopping testimony in a small South Carolina church to Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre, that nobody raises the roof like Sharon Jones.
In the wake of a painful breakup, a group of flatmates help the ex-couple separate their living arrangements. Screening with Lovesong.
Studded with dazzling dance excerpts, this award-winning portrait also gets up close and personal to its charismatic subject, Israeli dancer, choreographer and, plenty say, genius, Ohad Naharin.
Aquí no ha pasado nada
A hot date and an invitation to a great party have a fateful aftermath for a handsome young Chilean in this taut tale of crime, punishment and the price of justice, based on a notorious real-life case.
On a quest to uncover Leonard Bernstein’s ‘universal language of music’, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma travels the old ‘Silk Road’ with virtuoso musicians from diverse instrumental traditions to collaborate on rousing new musical explorations.
The most erotically charged film of the year offers a wild, sensual look at life behind the scenes on a backcountry Brazilian rodeo circuit where the reality of human desire sidesteps gender stereotypes every time.
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.
Help give the year’s best New Zealand short films the homegrown recognition they deserve by voting for your favourite at this screening.
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.
The late, great Belgian filmmaker and cultural nomad Chantal Akerman crafts a moving portrait of her relationship with her housebound mother, an Auschwitz survivor whose chronic anxiety greatly shaped her daughter’s art.
Over three years, writer and theologian John Hull kept a series of audio diaries recounting his experience after losing his eyesight. This inventive documentary transposes his perceptions to film with startling success.
Emerging from the sea, three lone figures are reborn into a post-apocalyptic world. Choreography by MaryJane O’Reilly. Screening with Mr Gaga.
Loaded with wry humour and surprising rug-pulls, Penny Lane’s supremely strange biography of 1920s impotence-cure mogul J.R. Brinkley is the documentary oddity every festival watch-list needs at least one of.
Vanessa Gould’s fond and fascinating documentary introduces us to the unseen women and men responsible for crafting the obituaries of the New York Times.
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.
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.
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.
Un tango más
In their heyday, Buenos Aires octogenarians María Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes were the Ginger and Fred of tango. In this dance-filled doco they recall their 50-year career and their often stormy personal life.
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.
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.
Crisp photography, boisterous tunes and a stacked deck of affable company make this funny, incisive comedy a memorable entry for the war genre. With Benicio Del Toro and Tim Robbins.
A gathering of old friends accepts the challenge to share all incoming calls and messages. It’s a game you won’t want to emulate at your next dinner party, but dammit, you’ll be thinking about it.
Kristen Stewart reunites with Clouds of Sils Maria director Oliver Assayas to play a young American in Paris, buying haute couture for her celebrity boss, and seeking contact with the spirit of her dead twin brother.
A new girl gets initiated into a painfully dorky gang. Screening with Nuts!.
NZIFF 2016 opens with the World Premiere screenings of the Kiwi feel-good movie of the year: Tearepa Kahi’s richly researched celebration of Dalvanius Prime and the many rivers that flowed into the making of ‘Poi E’.
Combining superstar bio and social history, this entertaining doco follows drag queen Panti Bliss as she rises from ‘giant cartoon woman’ to fearless activist in the hard-fought campaign for same-sex marriage in Ireland.
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.
In this deadpan comedy, a high-minded Iranian writer pursues his ambitious goal of cultural exchange, bringing together Metallica and Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan’s first rock band, at a lo-fi radio station in San Francisco.
La Tortue rouge
Studio Ghibli’s first international co-production is a ravishing castaway fable that combines beauty, mystery, drama and heartbreak – with not a word spoken. It’s a triumph for animator Michael Dudok de Wit.
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.
This doco provides an astonishingly revealing picture of the construction of a section of China’s massive Xu-Huai Highway, as seen by dislocated locals, exploited migrant workers and the embattled construction company.
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.
Elite Zexer’s mesmerising debut feature portrays the emotionally layered relationship between a Bedouin mother and her spirited daughter, both bound by village custom while struggling to adapt to a changing world.
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.
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.
Bringing the work of master collagist Lewis Klahr to New Zealand for the first time, this new collection of short films offers a terrific introduction to his eye-zapping assemblages of 60s pop culture ephemera.
A young man suffering from a rare and painful skin disease learns to wear his own skin, flaws and all. Screening with The Wounded Angel.
On their way to a dinner party, a couple accidentally leave the voice message from hell. Screening with Perfect Strangers.
A heartfelt dramatised contemplation of life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, experienced partly through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl steeling herself for the departure of her adored older brother.
Le fils de Joseph
“Offbeat French formalist Eugène Green delivers his most accessible work to date with this… honey-drizzled, farcically funny fable of an unhappy teenager seeking a father.” — Guy Lodge, Variety
From a mysterious stone circle in southwest England, to the backwater canals of Venice, to suburban New Zealand, these five inventive shorts take us on an ethereal journey and open our eyes to new perspectives.
This bloody, brutal crime saga boasts the epic sprawl of the mob classics it emulates, but with a lurid energy all of its own. With a throbbing score from electronic heavyweights M83.
“Terence Davies’s Sunset Song is a movie with a catch or sob in its singing voice: a beautifully made and deeply felt adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s 1932 novel of rural Scotland.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
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.
This riveting doco, both intimate and raw, follows a pro-democracy activist couple and their four children over five turbulent years from imprisonment by the Al-Assad regime, pre-Arab Spring, to asylum in France.
Australian documentary filmmakers Bentley Dean and Martin Butler collaborated with villagers in the Vanuatu highlands who’d never seen a movie to create this luminous tale of forbidden love and continuously evolving tradition.
Banned in China, satire lives in Hong Kong. Five dystopian visions of Hong Kong ten years from now by five independent filmmakers, Ten Years mysteriously disappeared from Hong Kong cinemas after drawing record crowds.
Set in 1916, this suspenseful, historically freighted Jordanian film concerns a watchful young Bedouin obliged to guide a British officer through the spectacular desert of Wadi Rum. Best Foreign Language Oscar Nominee 2016.
Isabelle Huppert essays a self-possessed woman confronting unexpected changes in her life and work in Mia Hansen-Løve’s heartfelt and perceptive portrait of middle age.
In this richly atmospheric debut, a hot summer in the Bulgarian countryside gets hotter when a family acquires two extra inhabitants on their parched property – a well-driller and his unruly teenage daughter.
From India’s southern state of Karnataka, this award-winning comic gem made by first-time director Raam Reddy charms with its easygoing naturalism, evocative setting and colourful cast of characters.
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 ten countries around the world this stimulating French doco (and box office hit) finds concrete examples of solutions to environmental and social challenges in agriculture, energy, economy, education and governance.
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.
Frequently imitated (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and never surpassed, King Hu’s spectacular pre-CGI masterpiece of wuxia cinema has been radiantly restored. “The visual style will set your eyes on fire.” — Time Out
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.
Argentine Ricardo Darín and Spaniard Javier Cámara are beautifully paired in the most garlanded Spanish film of the year, a warm and humorous drama of male friendship shaded with imminent mortality.
A story of adventure and discovery as two Māori boys come to the realisation of larger issues impacting their coastline. Screening with Songs My Brothers Taught Me.
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.
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.
After a lifetime of preparation, US animal protection attorney Steven Wise builds a groundbreaking suit seeking legal autonomy for chimpanzee clients. Expertly documented by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker.
A stunning restoration of this classic tale of backstage passions from Weimar-era Berlin is accompanied by a new chamber orchestra score composed by Johannes Contag, commissioned by NZIFF and the Goethe-Institut.
This new documentary provides insight and historical perspective on the life and work of philosopher Hannah Arendt, illuminating her relevance to some of the most troubling phenomena of our own times.
“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
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.
When mining and clear-cutting contracts threatened their native lands, indigenous Peruvians took to the streets. This film documents their years of struggle against the ruthless tactics of a furiously antagonistic government.
In this charming doco, gifted teacher and musician, Michelle Leonard, travels to under-resourced outback NSW auditioning children then schooling the chosen 130 to perform in the annual Moorambilla Voices choir.
A chance encounter with a wolf proves to be inexorably life-changing for the lonely young woman at the heart of this striking German drama, which takes the idea of getting back to nature to an irrational extreme.
In a similar style to Jacques Tati, this elaborate and nostalgic comic portrait of the denizens of a Paris suburb favours visual gags over dialogue and the beguiling unravelling of random connections over plot.
Four thematically linked stories portray the harsh lives of four different teenagers in desolate rural Kazakhstan in this disarming new work from a young Central Asian director who has fast become a festival favourite.
Backed by insider analysis of the Stuxnet sabotage of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, Alex Gibney’s gripping new documentary argues that the architects of cyberwarfare have been both brilliant and insanely reckless.