NZIFF Booklet

Films by Must See

Staff Picks: Michael McDonnell

Being a programmer for NZIFF I'm lucky enough to have seen a good portion of the selection already. A lot of my picks were my favourites from Berlin earlier this year. Standouts include the nail-biting Georgian political thriller Hostages and the wry Indian satire Newton, plus Brazilian whatsit Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! which is as wacky and wild as its title. There is a brace of hot new titles from SE Asia; teen thriller Bad Genius from Thailand and the feminist revenge 'western' Marlina the Murderer from Indonesia. The epic Bangkok Nites, made in SE Asia by a Japanese director, is a stylish and stirring discovery, while Tony Conrad delivers a fun and carefree portrait of a great artist/musician who deserves to be better known. Finally I'm looking forward to catching up on a number of Cannes titles including The Square, A Gentle Creature, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Faces Places.

Bad Genius

Chalard Games Goeng

Nattawut Poonpiriya

A group of school friends scheme to rake in mega bucks by helping others cheat on their exams in this stylish and super-smart Thai suspense thriller, which has been a box office sensation on its home turf.

Bill Direen: A Memory of Others

Simon Ogston

Filmmaker Simon Ogston hits the road with NZ writer, poet, indie rocker Bill Direen as he explores the cultural landscape and presents a series of strikingly diverse live performances.

Bangkok Nites

Tomita Katsuya

A high-class call girl and a middle-aged army vet search for paradise in a society haunted by decades of foreign exploitation in this stirring long-form feature set in Bangkok’s red-light district.

Dealt

Luke Korem

Winner of an Audience Award at SXSW, this fascinating feel-good doco introduces us to blind card magician Richard Turner, who learns a few new tricks as he comes to terms with visual impairment.

Don’t Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!

Não devore meu coração!

Felipe Bragança

A twisted tale of star-crossed lovers set amongst rival motorcycle gangs roaming a remote border region. Felipe Bragança’s neon-drenched, synth-laden film could be a biker Drive as reimagined by David Lynch.

Hostages

Mdzevlebi

Rezo Gigineishvili

This nerve-jangling political thriller depicts a shocking true story from 1983, when a group of young middle-class Georgians attempted to hijack a plane to Turkey to escape the Soviet Union.

The Love Witch

Anna Biller

A beautiful witch seduces – and disposes of – men in this sensationally conceived homage to 70s sexploitation, sharply told through both a contemporary feminist lens and the dubious sexual politics of the era.

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

Marlina si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak

Mouly Surya

Set amongst the visually ravishing widescreen vistas of rural Indonesia, this thoroughly enjoyable and delightfully deadpan adventure delivers a wily feminist spin on a western tale of murder and revenge.

Newton

Amit V. Masurkar

In this wry tragicomedy, a rookie government clerk finds himself entrusted with a task that appears deceptively simple: collecting 76 votes in a remote village in the jungle of central India.

Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present

Tyler Hubby

A joyful exploration of the unconventional art of minimalist musician, avant-garde filmmaker and conceptual performer Tony Conrad, whose innovative work always challenged the status quo.

Trophy

Shaul Schwarz

This thorny doco about commercialised wildlife conservation in Africa juxtaposes the potent emotional appeal of animal rights activism and the ‘if it pays, it stays’ rationalism of big game hunters.

Wind River

Taylor Sheridan

Rookie FBI agent Elizabeth Olsen teams with her Avengers co-star Jeremy Renner to investigate a mysterious death on an Indian reservation in this atmospheric western thriller directed by gun screenwriter Taylor Sheridan.