NZIFF Booklet

Films by Must See

Staff Picks: Sandra Reid

It is naturally inevitable that way too many terrific films in a year of film viewing and selecting get left off a list as condensed as this. But they have not been forgotten. I sometimes get around this dilemma by sneaking in mentions in this introduction, but naming them here would make for a very, very long list. My selection this year is heavily skewed toward Cannes (a mighty crop this year), mainly because it was my most recent festival port of call for this year’s NZIFF programme, and these films are fresh in my mind. But others, like Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope, have also lingered for a long time – his wonderful film has been with me since February, when I had the huge enjoyment of seeing it at the Berlinale. Austerlitz is another (there, I did sneak a title in!) – Sergei Loznitsa is one of my favourite filmmakers, so I am thrilled that we are showing two of his films this year (his A Gentle Creature is on my list).  There are, of course, also many films I have not yet seen, including the rich selection of local titles, and which I am very much looking forward to seeing.

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).

BPM (Beats Per Minute)

120 battements par minute

Robin Campillo

A wary newcomer to the radical activist life risks his heart with one of its firecracker stars in this stirring and moving exploration of the ACT UP movement that protested government inaction on AIDS in the 90s.

Faces Places

Visages villages

Agnès Varda, JR

In this utterly charming documentary, octogenarian French director Agnès Varda takes to the road with the young photo-muralist JR, creating artworks, looking up old friends and finding new ones.

Gabriel and the Mountain

Gabriel e a montanha

Fellipe Barbosa

Brazilian Fellipe Barbosa’s richly layered road movie retraces his friend’s Africa-on-$3-a-day travels through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia, based on the fond recollections of the people he befriended along the way.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Square

Ruben Östlund

Winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or, Ruben Östlund’s The Square is an astounding work of social satire centred on a Swedish art museum and a PR stunt that goes horribly wrong. Starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Terry Notary.

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.

The Teacher

Učitelka

Jan Hřebejk

When accused of bartering her students’ grades for goods and services provided by their parents, a schoolteacher mounts a devious defence in this blackly funny dramedy set in the communist era.