NZIFF Booklet

Films by Must See

Letterboxd

Some of our almost half-million members have been lucky enough to see a selection of films from the NZIFF 2017 programme at other festivals already—the first 30 listed below are (in order) the top picks of our community at the time of the festival launch.

The remaining picks are from our crew, and we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to mention the Quiz Show event we’re co-presenting at the Wintergarden in Auckland on July 29. See you there!

Stalker

Andrei Tarkovsky

One of the most immersive and rarefied experiences in all cinema, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker embarks on a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic post-apocalyptic landscape. Newly restored.

Call Me by Your Name

Luca Guadagnino

This gorgeous and moving adaptation of André Aciman’s acclaimed novel, directed by Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love), stars Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet as lovers in sun-kissed northern Italy.

I Am Not Your Negro

Raoul Peck

This Oscar-nominated documentary draws an astonishing, challenging and utterly contemporary examination of race in the United States entirely from the writings and interview footage of civil rights icon James Baldwin.

Belle de Jour

Luis Buñuel

In Luis Buñuel’s surreal 60s classic, Catherine Deneuve’s porcelain perfection hides a cracked interior in one of her most iconic roles: Séverine, a Paris housewife who begins secretly spending her after¬noon hours working in a bordello.

20th Century Women

Mike Mills

Annette Bening captivates as a single mother enlisting Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning to help raise her 15-year-old son in this funny, nuanced memoir of late-70s lifestyles from director Mike Mills (Beginners).

My Life As a Courgette (Dubbed)

My Life As a Zucchini

Claude Barras

This soulful and subversive Oscar-nominated feature uses stop-motion animation to tell the story of an orphan named Courgette. From the key animator on Fantastic Mr Fox, and adapted for the screen by Girlhood’s Céline Sciamma.

A Ghost Story

David Lowery

A simple story told with the simplest means, A Ghost Story tracks the progress of a ghost who can’t let go of the woman he loved and the house they shared, evoking a profoundly moving sense of existential disquiet.

On Body and Soul

Teströl és lélekröl

Ildikó Enyedi

Two workers in a pristine modern abattoir are shocked to discover they have been dreaming the same idyllic dream in this arrestingly peculiar – and visually dazzling – tale of reluctant soulmates.

Quest

Jonathan Olshefski

Condensing a decade’s worth of filming into an engrossing 105 minutes, Jonathan Olshefski’s documentary follows a buoyant young African American family and their working-class neighbourhood through the Obama years.

God’s Own Country

Francis Lee

Filmed on the Yorkshire Dales where he grew up, Francis Lee’s debut tells the poignant story of a hard-drinking lad who keeps his emotions in check until a handsome Romanian immigrant comes to work on the family farm.

A Date for Mad Mary

Darren Thornton

Sent only a single invitation, dry, sarcastic, maddening Mary (marvellous Seána Kerslake) sets out to find a date for her best friend’s wedding in this barbed and funny Irish romcom.

Ethel & Ernest

Roger Mainwood

This animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ graphic memoir of his parents’ lives is both humble and profound, with gorgeous renderings of Briggs’ justly famous lines. Featuring the voices of Jim Broadbent and Brenda Blethyn.

Kedi

Ceyda Torun

More than just another example of cute kittens on camera, this documentary about the cats of Istanbul and the people who watch out for them exudes charm and insight that a million YouTube videos cannot match.

The Farthest

Emer Reynolds

The incredible journey of the Voyager spaceship is retraced by the women and men closest to the action in this exhilarating big-screen documentary.

The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola

Colin Farrell plays a wounded Civil War mercenary under the care of a commune of young women, led by Nicole Kidman, in Sofia Coppola’s beautiful, feminist take on Don Siegel’s 1971 Southern Gothic psychodrama.

Sami Blood

Sameblod

Amanda Kernell

This clear-eyed coming-of-age tale follows a headstrong Sami teenager who attempts to abandon her indigenous heritage and pass as Swedish in a 1930s society rife with prejudice and discrimination.

Good Time

Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie

In this adrenalised Cannes sensation from guerrilla-filmmaker siblings Josh and Benny Safdie, Robert Pattinson is riveting as a small-time criminal on a frantic nocturnal odyssey to break his brother out of custody.

A Monster Calls

J.A. Bayona

A story-telling monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) helps a sleeping boy with his waking-life nightmares in this adaptation of Patrick Ness’ novel, spectacularly realised with lavish CGI and painterly animations.

Step

Amanda Lipitz

Fighting the tough realities of their disadvantaged neighbourhood, Step follows three irrepressible young women in an enlightened Baltimore school as they prepare for college – and rehearse for step dance glory.

The Other Side of Hope

Toivon tuolla puolen

Aki Kaurismäki

A Syrian stowaway lands up in Helsinki and finds refuge working in the worst restaurant in town in this funny, gorgeously filmed new tragicomedy from Finland hangdog maestro, Aki Kaurismäki.

Dina

Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles

This affecting Sundance-winning documentary trains an empathetic gaze on forthright Dina and her romantic, touch-shy boyfriend Scott as they approach marriage and navigate one another’s considerable foibles.

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.

Lady Macbeth

William Oldroyd

Florence Pugh is mesmerising as she transmutes from nervous bride to femme fatale in this bracing British period drama based on a 19th century Russian classic.

Summer 1993

Estiu 1993

Carla Simón

Catalan director Carla Simón’s award-winning dramatisation of her own experience as a six-year-old orphan adjusting to a new life in the country features the most remarkable and mesmerising child performances in years.

Nowhere to Hide

Zaradasht Ahmed

The top prize-winner at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam: a first-person account of four turbulent years in the life of a resilient medic and his young family living in Iraq’s ‘triangle of death’.

Loveless

Nelyubov

Andrey Zvyagintsev

Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan) won the Cannes Jury Prize for his stark and gripping tale of a divorcing couple caught in a missing-child procedural.

Frantz

François Ozon

This elegantly mounted drama explores regeneration in the aftermath of World War I through the complex relationship of a young German woman (Anna Beer) and a French soldier (Pierre Niney) brought together by shared loss.

Brigsby Bear

Dave McCary

This weird and wonderful indie comedy stars Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney as a man totally obsessed with a TV show about a bear saving the world. Also starring Greg Kinnear, Mark Hamill, Claire Danes.

Starless Dreams

Royahaye dame sobh

Mehrdad Oskouei

Mehrdad Oskouei’s lucid, empathetic documentary gives voice and spirit to young women locked up in a Tehran detention facility for murder, theft or simply running away from home – and whose lives were often worse outside.

It Comes at Night

Trey Edward Shults

In this nerve-shredding post-apocalyptic thriller plague stalks the land and water is scarce. Joel Edgerton, along with his wife and teenage son, fight for survival, barricaded into an abandoned lodge in the woods.

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.

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.

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.

Multiple Maniacs

John Waters

John Waters’ gloriously grotesque, unavailable-for-decades sophomore feature comes to the big screen at long last, replete with all manner of depravity.

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.

The Inland Road

Jackie van Beek

A runaway girl explores unsteady paths of emotional rescue with a young Central Otago family in writer/director Jackie van Beek’s gentle and lyrically filmed debut feature.

Manifesto

Julian Rosefeldt

Cate Blanchett dazzles as 13 different characters, each giving voice to the published rallying calls of myriad artistic movements in this playful, ingeniously staged feature by German artist Julian Rosefeldt.

Hounds of Love

Ben Young

This exercise in expertly crafted tension, centred on a serial killer couple and the teenage girl they abduct and hold captive, is a bold and challenging debut from writer/director Ben Young.