NZIFF Booklet

Films by Venue

The Civic Theatre

3 Faces

Se rokh

Jafar Panahi

“Charming Iranian cinema at its purest… Once more defying a filmmaking ban, Iranian director Jafar Panahi sounds the depths of traditional values in a road movie with actress Behnaz Jafari.” — Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

Ága

Milko Lazarov

An exquisitely shot and very moving film about an aging couple who appear to exist alone on the edge of the world, stoically surviving on the Arctic tundra in a way of life that may be about to end.

American Animals

Bart Layton

Rising stars Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and Evan Peters (American Horror Story) lead this enthralling true-crime thriller that is as thematically probing as it is straight-up propulsive.

The Ancient Woods

Sengirė

Mindaugas Survila

Filmed over ten years by Lithuanian biologist Mindaugas Survila, this beautiful, meditative ode to the growth and abundant wildlife in an ancient, unspoiled Baltic forest contemplates its subjects without ever interpreting them.

Arctic

Joe Penna

This snowbound endurance thriller, shot spectacularly on location in Iceland, stars Mads Mikkelsen as the sole survivor of an air crash, stranded somewhere in the barren wastlelands of the Arctic.

Ash Is Purest White

Jianghu er nv

Jia Zhang-ke

The transfixing Zhao Tao plays a tough, resilient woman in love with a small-time hoodlum in Jia Zhang-ke’s epic gangland romance, set against China’s relentless modernisation in the 21st century.

The Atlantic

Atlanten

Jan Röed, Kristian Petri, Magnus Enquist

This spectacular 1994 documentary, shot on and around Atlantic Islands from Iceland to South Georgia, is reprised in a rare 35mm print.

Beirut

Brad Anderson

A taut, twisty hostage thriller with shades of Le Carré, Beirut brings Jon Hamm and his brand of suave, world-weary charisma to war-torn Lebanon. Co-starring Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).

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.

Border

Gräns

Ali Abbasi

An ingenious and twisted blend of crime drama and supernatural romance, this thrillingly unpredictable Swedish film from the writer of Let the Right One In delivers a fresh spin on Nordic mythology.

Breath

Simon Baker

Coming of age in 1970s Western Australia is poignantly evoked in Simon Baker’s visually poetic adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel about a young man’s obsession with surfing and the allure of living dangerously.

Burning

Beoning

Lee Chang-dong

A love triangle and mystery based on a Murakami Haruki short story, Korean great Lee Chang-dong’s (Secret Sunshine,  Poetry) latest was the best-reviewed film at Cannes, an unforgettable now-or-never must-see on the giant Civic screen.

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

Climax

Gaspar Noé

Direct from Cannes, the latest sensation from French cinema’s premier provocateur Gaspar Noé (Enter the Void) is his best yet, an exhilarating 1990s techno dance musical that spins out into collective freak-out.

Cold War

Zimna wojna

Paweł Pawlikowski

Winner of the Cannes Best Director award, Paweł Pawlikowski (Ida) has crafted a brilliant, kaleidoscopic vision of 1950s Europe, bursting with music, dance and the turbulent love of two musicians caught between East and West.

Disobedience

Sebastián Lelio

Rachel Weisz stars as a black sheep drawn back to her London Orthodox Jewish home, rekindling sparks with a childhood friend (Rachel McAdams) in the English-language debut of the director of Gloria and A Fantastic Woman.

Dogman

Matteo Garrone

Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah) returns to the scene of the crime with this jaw-dropping, based-on-fact tale of a timid dog lover driven to terrifying extremes when he hitches his star to a human beast he cannot control.

Donbass

Sergei Loznitsa

Ukrainian documentarian and writer/director Sergei Loznitsa takes a sprawling dark comedy, with a vast ensemble cast, to evoke purposely manufactured social breakdown in the Donbass region of his homeland.

First Reformed

Paul Schrader

A country priest (Ethan Hawke) questions his faith after an unnerving encounter with a radical environmentalist in this searing thriller from the writer of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.

Foxtrot

Samuel Maoz

An Israeli family wrestles with loss as soldiers at a remote checkpoint battle ennui in this daring, visionary tragidrama from the director of Lebanon. Winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize.

The General

Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman

Buster Keaton, the stone-faced genius of silent-era comedy, at his funniest and most thrilling in an exquisite new digital restoration of the most serenely locomotive movie ever made. Accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra performing Carl Davis’ excellent score, conducted by Peter Scholes.

Girl

Lukas Dhont

Belgian filmmaker Lukas Dhont won the award for best first feature at Cannes with this empathetic, emotionally rich portrait of a 15-year-old trans girl who aspires to become a ballerina.

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.

In the Aisles

In den Gängen

Thomas Stuber

Franz Rogowski (Victoria, Transit) and Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann) head a superb cast in this tender, lyrical film about friendship and romance on the night shift in a wholesale market.

Juliet, Naked

Jesse Peretz

Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd are perfectly cast in this romcom, based on Nick Hornby’s novel about an indie rock obsession that leads to romance.

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.

Leto

Kirill Serebrennikov

An exhilarating exploration of freedom under restraint from a director under house arrest, this resonant, exuberant picture of musicianship and band life is based on the lives of two stars of pre-perestroika Leningrad rock.

Liquid Sky

Slava Tsukerman

Stunningly restored after years of neglect, the quintessential cult item of 1982 drills into a gender fluid New York New Wave club scene of fashionista warfare, hard drugs and extra-terrestrial visitation.

Loveling

Benzinho

Gustavo Pizzi

In a role written with her director husband, Brazilian actress Karine Teles (The Second Mother) is utterly captivating as a full-time wife, sister, aunt, and mother (of four) with chaos management skills to match.

Mandy

Panos Cosmatos

“Panos Cosmatos’ follow-up to Beyond the Black Rainbow is a gloriously lurid mock-80s revenge quest that aims a raging, roaring Nicolas Cage at villains from another dimension.” — Katherine McLaughlin, Sight & Sound

McQueen

Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui

This thrillingly flamboyant film explores British designer Alexander McQueen’s humble beginnings, his tight knit band of collaborators, his creative genius – and exalts the disturbing splendour of his work.

Mirai

Mirai no Mirai

Hosoda Mamoru

Direct from Cannes, this charming For All Ages anime from Hosoda Mamoru (Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast) takes a richly imaginative toddler-eye view of a new arrival in the family.

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.

Monterey Pop

D.A. Pennebaker

The first true rock-doc – and still the best – blazes with breakout performance from Hendrix, Joplin, The Who, Otis Redding, The Animals and more. Looking and sounding better than ever in this 50th anniversary 4K restoration.

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.

The Price of Everything

Nathaniel Kahn

How did the contemporary art market become so lucrative? In this hilarious and unnerving documentary filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn (My Architect) elicits revealing answers from buyers, sellers, critics and the artists themselves.

Puzzle

Marc Turtletaub

When Agnes (Kelly Macdonald) receives a jigsaw for her birthday, it opens a surprising new avenue in her life and leads her to meet Robert (Irrfan Khan), an avid competitive puzzler who triggers a reassessment of her situation.

Raise the Red Lantern

Dahong denglong gaogao gua

Zhang Yimou

The great Chinese actress Gong Li delivers a performance of exquisite expressiveness as a young concubine in Zhang Yimou’s visually ravishing 1991 drama of defiance, deception and authoritarian power. In a rare 35mm print.

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.

Searching

Aneesh Chaganty

Not the first film to unfold completely on computer screens, just the most exciting and emotionally resonant, this crime thriller takes us on a father’s (John Cho) frantic online search for his missing daughter.

Shoplifters

Manbiki kazoku

Kore-eda Hirokazu

This year’s surprise Cannes Palme d’Or winner is one of Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu’s finest films, about a loving, unconventional family making ends meet on the margins of Tokyo.

Three Identical Strangers

Tim Wardle

‘Stranger than fiction’ doesn’t come close. In an age of hot takes and hype machinery, this mind-blowing doco is the rare WTF true story entirely worthy of its breathless hyperbole.

Transit

Christian Petzold

A melancholy thriller of love and limbo, the latest film from director Christian Petzold (Barbara, Phoenix) expertly blends historical fact with contemporary milieux in its tale of a German Jew who flees to Marseille.

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.

Wings of Desire

Der Himmel über Berlin

Wim Wenders

Two angels watch over a divided Berlin in Wim Wenders’ visually astonishing city symphony from 1987 – restored 30 years later, under his direction, to look and sound better than ever in this glorious 4K presentation.

Woman at War

Kona fer í stríð

Benedikt Erlingsson

Iceland’s Benedikt Erlingsson (Of Horses and Men) winningly mixes absurdist comedy and tense thriller, with Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as a fearless eco-warrior, juggling environmental action and foster motherhood.

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.