NZIFF Booklet

Films by Language

English

Amazing Grace

Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack

Rescued from 45 years in legal and technical limbo, this extraordinary music film capturing Aretha Franklin in full flight deserves your respect – and the biggest screen and sound system possible.

The Amazing Johnathan Documentary

Ben Berman

In the world of magic, nothing is what it seems as a terminally ill magician prepares for his swansong – and the ultimate trick on the maker of this bizarre documentary.

American Woman

Jake Scott

A sweeping character study centred on a teenager’s disappearance – and a mother’s determination to live through the tragedy – in blue collar Pennsylvania. With Sienna Miller, Aaron Paul and Christina Hendricks.

Animals

Sophie Hyde

Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) are thirty-something best friends in Dublin, where partying hard is still their way to have fun, but the reality of getting older is getting harder to ignore.

Apocalypse Now: Final Cut

Francis Ford Coppola

Welcome back to the jungle with Brando, Duvall, Fishburne and Hopper for Francis Ford Coppola’s final – and finest – version of the ultimate Vietnam War epic.

Aquarela

Victor Kossakovsky

The elemental power and glory of water is captured with high frame rate, ultra-definition cameras in film artist Victor Kossakovsky’s spectacular visual documentary.

The Art of Self-Defense

Riley Stearns

One of the most buzzed titles from this year’s SXSW fest, this jet-black deadpan comedy deploys a killer ensemble of Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola and Imogen Poots to deadly effect.

Ask Dr. Ruth

Ryan White

As her 90th birthday approaches, irrepressible Dr Ruth, the famed American sex therapist, reflects on her life and career in a film as spirited as she is.

Backtrack Boys

Catherine Scott

A love for wild dogs and a love for wild kids inspire Australian Bernie Shakeshaft’s remarkable programme to transform the lives of both, intimately observed over two years in Catherine Scott’s acclaimed documentary.

Beats

Brian Welsh

As EDM and ecstasy-fuelled raves are targeted by 90s lawmakers, two downtrodden Glasgow teenagers are determined to taste the action. Director Brian Welsh (The Entire History of You) makes it a night to remember.

Bellbird

Hamish Bennett

Marshall Napier, Cohen Holloway and Rachel House shine in Hamish Bennett’s beautifully judged, poignantly funny drama of life and community on a struggling Northland family dairy farm.

The Biggest Little Farm

John Chester

A city slicker couple turned progressive eco-farmers transform a barren orchard into a thriving landscape in this inspirational sustainability documentary.

Brittany Runs a Marathon

Paul Downs Colaizzo

Jillian Bell (Workaholics, Rough Night) stars in this Audience Award-winning Sundance comedy about a New York slacker who takes up running in the hopes of getting her life back on track.

By the Balls

Charlotte Purdy, Simon Coldrick

Sport and politics most definitely do mix in this gripping look back at a brutal and turbulent time for New Zealand rugby, told from the point of view of the players themselves including David Kirk and Buck Shelford.

Capital in the 21st Century

Justin Pemberton

A sweeping – and sobering – account of the way that concentrated wealth has both shaped our past and is creating a deeply unequal future. Based on economist Thomas Piketty’s bestselling book.

Carmine Street Guitars

Ron Mann

Ron Mann’s absorbing documentary portrays a week in the life of old-school guitar maker Rick Kelly and his Greenwich Village workshop with its devoted clientele of rock royalty.

Come to Daddy

Ant Timpson

Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie and Madeleine Sami lead Kiwi director (and NZIFF/Incredibly Strange programmer) Ant Timpson’s deranged comic thriller about a father-son reunion that goes very, very south.

Escher: Journey into Infinity

Escher: Het oneindige zoeken

Robin Lutz

This vivid portrait explores M.C. Escher’s life and imaginative world through his own words and visions. Narrated by Stephen Fry.

For My Father’s Kingdom

Vea Mafile’o, Jeremiah Tauamiti

Pasifika filmmakers Vea Mafile’o and Jeremiah Tauamiti direct this intimate, clear-eyed documentary centred on the faith, love and fatherhood of Saia Mafile’o, and his four children.

Hail Satan?

Penny Lane

From America’s satanic panic to the battle of the Baphomet monument, Hail Satan? is an eye-opening comedic romp exploring the good – and sometimes not so good – work of The Satanic Temple.

Halston

Frédéric Tcheng

The astounding career and chequered business history of the American design genius who revolutionised fashion in the 1970s are recalled in this fittingly epic new documentary from the director of Dior and I.

High Life

Claire Denis

A forbidding spaceship carrying death row inmates hurtles towards oblivion in Claire Denis’s long-awaited, intensely hypnotic sci-fi opus.

In Fabric

Peter Strickland

A cross between Suspiria and an old Farmers catalogue, the latest from retro genre stylist Peter Strickland, centring on a demonic dress at a posh department store, gleefully satirises fashion and consumerism.

Inna de Yard

Peter Webber

Beyond Bob Marley, Inna de Yard dives deep into the soul of reggae music, the die-hard singers and songwriters who were there from the beginning, and the Jamaican sound and spirit.

Inventing Tomorrow

Laura Nix

An empowering celebration of young thinkers channelling their energy, passion, creativity and super smarts towards serious environmental change, while navigating the inevitable doubts and insecurities of teenhood.

Judy & Punch

Mirrah Foulkes

Punch & Judy’s traditional puppet theatre receives an offbeat and subversive twist in this deliciously dark tale of revenge starring Mia Wasikowska.

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Robert Hamer

The classic, quintessentially British comedy of bad manners returns in a superb digital restoration. With Dennis Price as the most elegantly murderous of social climbers and Alec Guinness as all eight of his victims.

Maiden

Alex Holmes

Utilising a treasure trove of archival footage, director Alex Holmes celebrates the history of Maiden Great Britain, the first all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Maria by Callas

Tom Volf

This adoring documentary captures the life, art – and, above all, spine-tingling talents – of a diva extraordinaire revered by opera devotees and ripe for discovery by everyone who’s not.

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

Nick Broomfield

A deep dive into the myth of Leonard Cohen, the singer’s defining relationship with Marianne Ihlen, and prolific documentarian Nick Broomfield’s own personal connection to Cohen’s famous lover and muse.

Meeting Gorbachev

Werner Herzog, André Singer

Former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev gets his due in [Werner Herzog’s] engaging and touching valedictory to one of the most pivotal figures of the 20th century.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

mid90s

Jonah Hill

Actor Jonah Hill directs with dead-on authenticity and unruly spirit this throwback to ’90s skate culture, based on his teenage years as a troublemaking skater in downtown LA.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

Stanley Nelson

Stanley Nelson’s rich and multifaceted biography of legendary jazz musician Miles Davis delivers a clear-eyed portrait of the man behind the music.

Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1

Chisana eiyu: Kani to tamago to tomei ningen

Yonebayashi Hiromasa, Momose Yoshiyuki, Yamashita Akihiko

Good things come in small packages in this impressive three film anthology from Studio Ponoc, highlighting the creative power of short-form animation – and showcasing Japan’s finest animators at work.

Monos

Alejandro Landes

Like Lord of the Flies by way of Yorgos Lanthimos, this bold, bizarro Sundance sensation takes the feral power struggles of youth gone wild to the misty mountains and lush jungles of Colombia.

MO TE IWI – Carving for the People

Robin Greenberg

An intimate journey through the life and work of master carver Rangi Hetet and a celebration of his lifelong devotion to the traditions of Māori carving and Māori art.

Mrs Lowry & Son

Adrian Noble

Timothy Spall plays English painter L.S. Lowry – here a frustrated artist in 1930s Lancashire – and Vanessa Redgrave his bed-ridden, domineering mother, in this popular play-turned-biopic.

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2019

A collection of Māori and Pasifika short films curated by Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka), director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, with guest co-curator Craig Fasi (Niue), director of the Pollywood Film Festival. Curators’ comments on each film appear in italics.

The Nightingale

Jennifer Kent

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, Jennifer Kent’s brutal revenge saga is an unrelenting reckoning with white male oppression – and not for the faint of heart.

One Child Nation

Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang

A frank documentary about the wide-reaching impact of China’s one-child policy, Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang unearth the frightening reality of the regime they were raised under. Winner Grand Jury Prize, Sundance 2019.

Peterloo

Mike Leigh

Four years after Waterloo a different kind of battle was fought on British soil, Mike Leigh delivers a passionate and forceful historical drama about the time when the working class began to fight for their rights.

Peter Peryer: The Art of Seeing

Shirley Horrocks

Shirley Horrocks’ richly illustrated portrait of the life and career of one of New Zealand’s most important photographers, who dedicated his life to seeing and making works of art out of the everyday.

Photograph

Ritesh Batra

A street photographer convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancée in this sweet and tender romance that unfolds amongst the chaotic streets of Mumbai. From the director of The Lunchbox.

PJ Harvey: A Dog Called Money

Seamus Murphy

PJ Harvey gathers lyrical and musical inspiration in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Washington DC, an unorthodox collection of raw material fused together in a London studio for her 2016 album, The Hope Six Demolition Project.

Ruben Brandt, Collector

Ruben Brandt, a gyűjtő

Milorad Krstić

Boasting batshit surreal imagery, fist-pumping action sequences and a wall-to-wall shrine of art and cinema references, Ruben Brandt, Collector is a new milestone for animated invention.

A Seat at the Table

David Nash, Simon Mark-Brown

Savour 100 minutes of eye-popping camera work, picturesque vineyards and gratuitous grape-fondling shots in this glorious toast to the talent and the stories behind New Zealand’s world-famous wine industry.

Sorry We Missed You

Ken Loach

A most worthy follow-up to I, Daniel Blake, Ken Loach’s new social-realist drama zeroes in on life as an average British family at the mercy of the modern day ‘gig economy’.

Under the Silver Lake

David Robert Mitchell

Deadbeat slacker Andrew Garfield delves into the labyrinthine mysteries of La La Land on the hunt for a missing girl in David Robert Mitchell’s oddball neo-noir thriller.

Vivarium

Lorcan Finnegan

Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots’ goal of becoming homeowners veers into strange and sinister territory in this smart and unexpected sci-fi horror.

Walking on Water

Andrey Paounov

Octogenarian Christo wraps up a miraculous career with a spectacular network of fabric walkways over an Italian lake, in an oft-humorous closeup look at the process of creation, clashes of egos and perils of nature.

Where’s My Roy Cohn?

Matt Tyrnauer

A searing portrait of notoriously malicious lawyer Roy ‘don’t tell me about the law, just tell me who the judge is’ Cohn delves into the dark arts of American politics.

The Whistlers

La Gomera

Corneliu Porumboiu

Breathing new life into the Romanian New Wave, Corneliu Porumboiu crafts a rollicking genre movie set in sun-soaked Spain, where the best laid plans of a bent cop hinge on learning a secret local whistling dialect.

Yuli

Icíar Bollaín

Moving between fiction and reality, and harnessing the power of both drama and dance, Cuban ballet dancer and choreographer Carlos Acosta shares his life story, from a barely interested kid to one of the greats.