NZIFF Booklet

Films by Must See

Metro: David Larsen

“The New Zealand International film Festival is... our annual embodiment of the Great Truth About Culture: you are going to die leaving a lot of good things unread, unlistened to, and unwatched...

The right approach is to work out how much you can take in while still enjoying it, and then do that. There is no wrong number: in case of the festival, 50 films over 17 days is great, but so is five.

Which only leaves the problem of choice. My Mantra: Follow your people, but take some risks.” — David Larsen, Metro Magazine

Let the Sunshine In

Un beau soleil interieur

Claire Denis

Juliette Binoche lights up every frame of Claire Denis’ frank and rueful dramedy of romantic hope springing eternal, written in collaboration with the controversially confessional novelist and playwright Christine Angot.

Happy End

Michael Haneke

Jean-Louis Trintignant is the failing patriarch and Isabelle Huppert his daughter in this satirical dissection of a powerful French construction dynasty from Austrian director Michael Haneke (Amour, Caché).

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.

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.

Austerlitz

Sergei Loznitsa

How should we remember the Holocaust? As tourists visit Nazi death camps in increasing numbers, Sergei Loznitsa sets up his camera at Sachsenhausen and Dachau and simply observes the behaviour of the visitors.

A Gentle Creature

Krotkaya

Sergei Loznitsa

Ukrainian feature and documentary maker Sergei Loznitsa’s new dramatic film is a glowering state-of-the-nation fable, a bitter mix of tragedy, farce and road movie soaked in the sardonic spirit of Gogol and Dostoyevsky.

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.

My Life As a Courgette (Subtitled)

Ma vie de Courgette

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.

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.

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.

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Steve James

A small family-owned bank serving Chinatown businesses, Abacus was the only US lender indicted for fraud post 2008. Steve James (Hoop Dreams) embeds with the Sung family through their spirited fight for vindication.

Risk

Laura Poitras

Dramatically revised since its 2016 Cannes premiere, Laura Poitras’ years-in-the-making, all-access documentary about Julian Assange provides a deeply revealing portrait of a man who would change the world.

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.

Winnie

Pascale Lamche

Winner of a Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival, this fascinating portrait allows South Africa’s ‘mother of the nation’ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to give her account of her bitterly contested role in history.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Maliglutit (Searchers)

Zacharias Kunuk

Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) returns with this Arctic epic about a vengeful husband who sets off in pursuit of the violent men who kidnapped his wife and destroyed his home.

Spookers

Florian Habicht

In this funny and improbably charming documentary Florian Habicht looks behind the curtain to show us the real lives of the frighteners at the infamous and hugely popular horror theme park at the old Kingseat Hospital.

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.

Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web

Annie Goldson

As Annie Goldson’s impressively detailed documentary clearly sets out the battle between Dotcom and the US Government and entertainment industry, it goes to the heart of ownership, privacy and piracy in the digital age.