NZIFF Booklet

Films by Must See

Staff Picks: Tim Wong

It would be stating the obvious to single out exciting new films by Ruben Östlund (The Square), Agnès Varda (Faces Places), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer), or any of the heavyweight Cannes titles, really, as must-sees at this year’s Festival – which, tipping the scales at 172 features and short film programmes, is our biggest yet – so instead here’s a selection of great/potentially great films easily overlooked and ripe for discovery.

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.

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.

Beach Rats

Eliza Hittman

In Eliza Hittman’s startlingly sensual study of conflicted masculinity, a Brooklyn teenager leads a perilous double life, cruising older men online while playing super straight to his homophobic homies.

Columbus

Kogonada

In this charming debut a young librarian and an out-of-town visitor bond in Columbus, Indiana, their friendship blossoming out of conversations about life, relationships and the city’s exceptional modern architecture.

The Future Perfect

El futuro perfecto

Nele Wohlatz

Arriving in Buenos Aires, a young Chinese immigrant embraces the struggle of a new language and surroundings, reimagining herself and her future in the process, in this dry comedy of manners.

Marjorie Prime

Michael Almereyda

Michael Almereyda (Experimenter) directs the magnificent Lois Smith as an ailing widow who turns to a holographic projection, played by Jon Hamm, in an effort to stave off memory loss and the melancholy of old age.

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.

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.

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.

The Untamed

La región salvaje

Amat Escalante

Love triangle drama and erotic bio-sci-fi thrills meet in a truly bizarre exploration of oppressive machismo and liberating sexual abandon from Mexican director Amat Escalante.

Western

Valeska Grisebach

Subtly applying the themes of the American western to Europe’s eastern frontier, Valeska Grisebach’s drama mines the tensions and the bonds that develop between a German construction camp and a nearby Bulgarian village.

Yourself and Yours

Dangsinjasingwa dangsinui geot

Hong Sang-soo

Hong Sang-soo’s sardonic romantic comedy teases confusion and bountiful amusement out of doppelgängers who may not be doppelgängers and lapses in memory that may or may not be genuine.