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.
Angie Meiklejohn, prominent and articulate Centrepoint survivor, is joined by her siblings in this lucid exploration of the legacy of sexual abuse, directed without a hint of sensationalism by Costa Botes.
NZIFF recommends this programme for children aged 4+
NZIFF recommends this programme for children aged 8+
Himself a former Jehovah’s Witness, writer/director Daniel Kokotajlo provides an insider’s critique in this dramatic tale of mother and daughter torn between faith and instinct.
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.
The armour is heavy and the stakes are high in this warm-hearted and charmingly offbeat documentary about a group of modern knights competing to represent New Zealand in the brutal sport of ‘medieval combat’.
Mark Hadlow and Jed Brophy stand-off in this trickily plotted thriller about a service station owner who rashly appropriates a stash of stolen drug money.
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.
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.
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.
A thoroughly unnerving picture of our times, this gripping doco immerses us in the surreal world of the content moderators who decide what we see (or don’t see) on social media.
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.
The landmark lesbian love story returns to the giant screen as vibrant, beautiful and celebratory as ever.
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.
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.
A surefire fix for animal lovers and a valuable sketch for skeptics, this warm doco from Kiwi director Eryn Wilson offers us intimate access to an Aussie rehab centre for troubled dogs.
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.
A cult film in the making, Jim Hosking’s wildly absurdist follow-up to The Greasy Stranger stars Aubrey Plaza and Jemaine Clement as small-town oddballs with best laid plans.
Standing in for libraries everywhere, the magnificent New York Public Library is explored and extolled in the great Frederick Wiseman’s latest ode to the importance of essential institutions in politically tumultuous times.
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.
A suspended police officer assigned to dispatcher duty is caught in a web of intrigue in this pulsating Danish thriller, jam-packed with mystery and suspense despite never leaving a cramped emergency call centre.
A soaring, evocative audio-visual journey into the life, culture and landscapes of one of Australia's most beloved singers – the late Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.
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.
The life and artistry of trailblazing Olympic figure skater and dancer John Curry are revisited in this timely doco which sheds light on his enduring legacy, featuring rare footage of his legendary performances.
From the swamps of Florida to a tragic end in a plane that should never have taken off, Stephen Kijak’s doco follows the wild trajectory of the original band, archetypal Southern boys who rocked the 1970s.
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.
Shot without permits in Afghanistan, this spectacular and powerful redemption drama from the director of Son of a Lion brings a needed fresh perspective to conflict in the Islamic world.
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.
“Half biopic, half career showcase, Mark Noonan’s Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect examines the life and work of its titular Pritzker Prize-winning architect.” — Luke Maxwell, Dublin Inquirer
It’s Halloween and Jake wants to be Rapunzel. Claire Danes and Jim Parsons are sensational as a Brooklyn couple with divergent responses to their four-year-old’s ‘gender-variant play’ in Silas Howard’s comedy-drama.
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.
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.
Anchored by deeply lived-in performances from Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny and newcomer Charlie Plummer, Lean on Pete is a profoundly moving account of life on the margins of America.
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.
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.
After an idiosyncratic career of iconic roles for everyone from Wim Wenders to David Lynch, the late Harry Dean Stanton hangs up his hat with this wryly funny, affecting character study.
“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
From refugee daughter of a Tamil revolutionary and aspiring filmmaker to pop stardom and controversy magnet: this stimulating documentary about Sri Lankan musician M.I.A. dances to its own idiosyncratic beat.
The new film by Māori psychologist and filmmaker Paora Joseph (Tātarakihi: Children of Parihaka) invites open discussion of suicide through the brave testimony of five grieving families travelling to Cape Reinga.
In this illuminating documentary portrait, Sir Ian McKellen looks back at the six decades of his glittering career, from his early success on UK stages through to his towering performances in film.
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.
Merata Mita, pioneering Māori filmmaker and international champion of women in indigenous film, is celebrated by her youngest son, archivist Heperi Mita, collaborating with his siblings to deliver a richly personal portrait.
This electric time-lapse portrait of three skateboarders dropping into manhood bears all the hallmarks of its executive producer Steve James (Hoop Dreams): empathetic, unsentimental and profoundly involving.
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.
Check out the year’s best New Zealand short films as chosen by this year’s guest selector Leon Narbey, from a shortlist drawn up by NZIFF programmers from a total of 84 entries.
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.
“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
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.
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 Oscar-winning Japanese composer (The Last Emperor; Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence), synth-pop pioneer, electronica experimentalist and environmentalist reflects on his work and influences in this intimate portrait.
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.
Presented by Miss Conception films, who focus on female-led stories, this fresh dispatch from the heartland introduces two legendary shearers – and three in the making – as they head for black-shirt glory at the Golden Shears.
Rapper, piano virtuoso, performance artist, gifted collaborator or evil, smirking genius, Jason Beck aka Chilly Gonzales crowd-surfs the academy and puts on a hell of a show in the year’s wildest, funniest music doco.
Thirty years after its Film Festival debut, Prince’s legendary concert movie escapes music rights limbo just in time to make the perfect late addition to our lineup.
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.
Two damaged strangers fall into a complex intimate relationship in Dustin Feneley’s beautiful and rigorous debut feature film, shot in Otago against the backdrop of the breathtaking Southern Alps.
‘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 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.
Le monde est à toi
Isabelle Adjani is the safe-cracking matriarch and Karim Leklou is her son who longs for a Mr Freeze franchise and a quiet life in this Cannes hit, a rollercoaster crime caper from writer-director Romain Gavras.
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.