Films by Genre

Women Make Movies

[CENSORED]

Sari Braithwaite

NZIFF guest, Melbourne archivist and filmmaker Sari Braithwaite’s provocative documentary is stitched together entirely from film footage cut by Australian censors.

And Breathe Normally

Andið eðlilega

Ísold Uggadóttir

A single mother turned border guard and a refugee from Guinea-Bissau form an unlikely bond in this intimate Icelandic drama about two people literally and figuratively trapped on the edge of the world.

Angels Wear White

Jia nian hua

Vivian Qu

“In an intriguing film noir full of white light reflecting off virginal dresses, polished surfaces and sparkling sand, director Vivian Qu probes the status of girls in Chinese society.” — Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail

Ava

Sadaf Foroughi

This alarming contemporary coming-of-age tale of a fiercely independent teenage girl at odds with her conservative Tehran school is based on the experiences of Iranian expat writer/director Sadaf Foroughi.

Birds of Passage

Pájaros de verano

Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra

The ancient traditions of Colombia’s indigenous Wayuu are shaped by an ambitious matriarch to stake a place for her clan in the burgeoning drug economy of the 1970s.

Blue My Mind

Lisa Brühlmann

A mysterious high-school girl dives headfirst into the vices of teenage life, while undergoing a radical and uncontrollable transformation of her own, in Lisa Brühlmann’s formidable debut feature.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Alexandra Dean

Alexandra Dean’s debut documentary is a revelatory and entertaining portrait of an adventurous woman and talented inventor better known to the world as the embodiment of Hollywood sex and glamour.

Capharnaüm

Capernaum

Nadine Labaki

A runaway boy sues his parents for bringing him into the world in this sprawling tale of against-the-odds resilience. “Nadine Labaki’s journey through the slums of Lebanon thrills with compassion and heart.” — Anna Smith, Time Out

Celia

Amanda Millar

Amanda Millar’s moving documentary celebrates the enduring legacy of Celia Lashlie, a passionate advocate for social interventions that equipped those long deprived of choice with the tools for responsible decision making.

Desert Hearts

Donna Deitch

The landmark lesbian love story returns to the giant screen as vibrant, beautiful and celebratory as ever.

The Devil We Know

Stephanie Soechtig

Championed by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and consumer activist Erin Brockovich, Stephanie Soechtig’s documentary is an enraging portrait of corporate greed honed to get into your blood.

Djon África

Filipa Reis, João Miller Guerra

With an array of prickly locals and the pictorial beauty of Cape Verde serving as backdrop, this amiable African odyssey of a son in search of his father is a breezy, Grogue-fueled delight.

East to East

Vanessa Wells

Four at-risk teenagers from Christchurch’s eastern suburbs get to experience the Coast to Coast up close as both competitors and support crew with the assistance of several multisport legends.

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable

Sasha Waters Freyer

“An unusually rich art-doc with an old-New York twang… Sasha Waters Freyer assesses the artist and the man in her documentary about photographer Garry Winogrand.” — John Defore, Hollywood Reporter

Good Manners

As boas maneiras

Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra

Social satire meets secret love meets beastly fairy tale in this wickedly assured shape-shifter from Brazil. (To guarantee maximum viewing pleasure, avoid the year’s most spoiler-ridden trailer. Seriously.)

Happy As Lazzaro

Lazzaro felice

Alice Rohrwacher

Direct from Cannes where it shared the Best Screenplay award for its amazingly inventive script, Alice Rohrwacher’s seductive rural fable applies fairy-tale logic to explore the troubled soul of Italy.

The Heart Dances – the journey of The Piano: the ballet

Rebecca Tansley

This elegant new film from the director of Crossing Rachmaninoff takes us backstage at the Royal New Zealand Ballet as a brilliantly theatrical European interpretation of a New Zealand classic re-enters the culture that inspired it.

Holiday

Isabella Eklöf

In this shimmering, controversy-stoking debut from Danish director Isabella Eklöf a gangster’s trophy girlfriend puts her body on the line for an Aegean holiday, bling, boats – and maybe a hand on the tiller.

Island of the Hungry Ghosts

Gabrielle Brady

Christmas Island’s notorious immigration detention centre is the focal point of this impressionistic documentary, beautifully and innovatively framed around the island’s workers, wildlife and dark past.

I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story

Jessica Leski

Bursting with colour, music and boyband adoration, Jessica Leski’s documentary is a celebration of women coming of age and navigating adulthood through the music and romantic appeal of their beloved boybands.

Keep the Change

Rachel Israel

Two autistic adults strike up a transformative relationship in Rachel Israel’s charming comedy, based on the romantic adventures of her unlikely star.

The Kindergarten Teacher

Sara Colangelo

Maggie Gyllenhaal is riveting as a teacher and aspiring poet thrown off kilter by the conviction that only she can guard and nurture the lyric talent of a gifted five-year-old student.

Kusama – Infinity

Heather Lenz

Now, at 89 years old the top-selling female artist in the world, Yayoi Kusama overcame family opposition, sexism, racism and mental illness to bring her radical artistic vision to the world stage.

Leave No Trace

Debra Granik

New Zealand actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie is mesmerising as 13-year-old Tom living off the grid with her war vet father (Ben Foster) in this haunting new film from the director of Winter’s Bone.

Le Grand Bal

Laetitia Carton

Filmmaker Laetitia Carton draws us into the beating heart of the traditional dance festival that attracts dancers and musicians from across Europe every summer to Gennetines in central France.

Let the Corpses Tan

Laissez bronzer les cadavres

Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani

“Stylish swagger goes full-tilt boogie in Let the Corpses Tan, the latest delirious exercise in lovingly retro pastiche from (NZIFF guests) Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani.” — Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter

Little Woods

Nia DaCosta

Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok) and Lily James are terrific as adoptive sisters running pharmaceuticals across the border to keep their heads above water in this gripping backwoods thriller from writer/director Nia DaCosta.

Looking for Oum Kulthum

Shirin Neshat

With intricate storytelling and exquisite imagery, Iranian artist Shirin Neshat considers the life and enduring power of Oum Kulthum, ‘the voice of Egypt’, widely considered the Arab world’s greatest vocalist.

Madeline’s Madeline

Josephine Decker

Bracingly fresh and riotously entertaining, this portrait of a talented young actress torn between her overbearing mother and an ambitious director stars Miranda July, Molly Parker and striking newcomer Helena Howard.

Milla

Valérie Massadian

This beautifully observed account of love, loss and renewal eschews drama to contemplate the everyday world of a young woman on the economic fringes, and tenderly extols her stoic capacity for love and happiness.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Desiree Akhavan

Chloë Grace Moretz delivers a heartbreaking and nuanced performance as a queer teen shipped off to a gay conversion camp in Desiree Akhavan’s touching drama, this year’s Sundance Grand Jury winner.

Nico, 1988

Susanna Nicchiarelli

The last years and final performances of legendary singer Nico – who did not want to be remembered as Lou Reed’s femme fatale – are brought vividly to the screen by Danish actress Trine Dyrholm.

Orlando

Sally Potter

Tilda Swinton strides through four centuries of history, switching genders as she goes, in Sally Potter’s gorgeous, playful subversion of British Heritage cinema. With Billy Zane, and Quentin Crisp as Elizabeth I.

Paul Callaghan: Dancing with Atoms

Shirley Horrocks

Shirley Horrocks, cine-biographer of many notable New Zealand artists, delivers an invaluable survey of the work and legacy of one of our most exceptional scientists and public figures.

Pick of the Litter

Dana Nachman, Don Hardy

“Puppies rule in Dana Nachman and Don Hardy’s seriously cute account of the breeding and training program that prepares service dogs to become guides for the visually impaired.” — Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

Rafiki

Wanuri Kahiu

Fresh and brave, Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu’s tender, exuberant teenage lesbian coming-out tale has been banned in Kenya and celebrated in Cannes.

RBG

Betsy West, Julie Cohen

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring her exceptional life and career.

The Rider

Chloé Zhao

Chloé Zhao directs “this poetic, laconic and ineffably beautiful drama [with] an unerring feel for its subject, a young cowboy struggling against his implacable fate in the American West.” — Joe Morgenstern, Wall St Journal

Science Fair

Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster

Festival Favourite Award winner at Sundance, this immensely engaging doco shares the lively personalities and inspiring projects of nine teenage scientists as they converge at a major international competition in LA. Recommended for audiences 10+

The Seen and Unseen

Sekala Niskala

Kamila Andini

Drawing upon the rich cultural traditions of Bali, this mesmerisingly beautiful film invites us into the magical and mysterious dream world shared by a young girl and her seriously ill twin brother.

Skate Kitchen

Crystal Moselle

The Wolfpack director Crystal Moselle returns with a free wheeling, often funny fiction debut about young female skateboarders in New York City, featuring real-life crew Skate Kitchen.

Slut in a Good Way

Charlotte a du fun

Sophie Lorain

With the vibrant and hilarious Slut in a Good Way, filmmaker Sophie Lorain, a veteran actress in her native Quebec, reframes the raunchy teen-comedy formula with an honest, adolescent woman’s point-of-view.

The Song Keepers

Naina Sen

Director Naina Sen embeds with the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir as they prepare a repertoire of Baroque hymns, taught by 19th-century Lutheran missionaries, and take it back to amazed audiences in Germany.

TERROR NULLIUS

Soda_Jerk

A controversy magnet across the ditch, this savage pop culture remix by art collective duo Soda_Jerk flies fearlessly in the face of Australia’s sanctioned history and national identity.

The Trial

O processo

Maria Augusta Ramos

In this searing close-up chronicle of the battle to impeach Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, Maria Augusta Ramos shines a light on the bitter divisions in a country where politics, commerce and corruption appear inextricable.

United Skates

Dyana Winkler, Tina Brown

In Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown’s performance-driven doco, African-American communities across the US battle in a racially charged environment to save a vital roller-skate subculture.

Wajib – The Wedding Invitation

Annemarie Jacir

A traditional family wedding in Palestine puts strain on the relationship between an old school father and his cosmopolitan expat son in this wry family drama.

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Lorna Tucker

A fast, funny documentary on the life, looks and times of the British fashion designer, business woman, environmental activist – and unreconstructed punk – Vivienne Westwood.

Yellow is Forbidden

Pietra Brettkelly

Kiwi director Pietra Brettkelly takes us into the opulent world of show-stopping Chinese designer Guo Pei as she prepares to make her Paris debut and seeks admission into the exclusive club of haute couture.

You Were Never Really Here

Lynne Ramsey

Lynne Ramsay, director of Ratcatcher and We Need to Talk About Kevin, teams with Joaquin Phoenix for a startling, nerve-shredding thriller about a brutal hitman contracted to save an abducted teen.

Zama

Lucrecia Martel

The brilliant Argentinian auteur Lucrecia Martel returns with a feverish, formally sophisticated period piece about a Spanish officer’s personal hell in colonial South America.