“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
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.
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.
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.
NZIFF recommends this programme for children aged 4+
NZIFF recommends this programme for children aged 8+
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.
Jianghu er nv
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.
This spectacular 1994 documentary, shot on and around Atlantic Islands from Iceland to South Georgia, is reprised in a rare 35mm print.
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).
Pájaros de verano
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 den Gängen
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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
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 no Mirai
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dahong denglong gaogao gua
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thirty years after its Auckland International Film Festival debut, Prince’s legendary concert movie escapes music rights limbo just in time to make the perfect late addition to our 50th birthday celebration.
‘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.
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.
A fast, funny documentary on the life, looks and times of the British fashion designer, business woman, environmental activist – and unreconstructed punk – Vivienne Westwood.
Der Himmel über Berlin
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.
Kona fer í stríð
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.
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.
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.