Set in Casablanca’s Old Medina, this nuanced tale of female solidarity transcending temperamental difference captivates through the richly detailed performances of two superb actresses.
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.
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.
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.
Once censored, now revered, Stalker and Solaris director Andrei Tarkovsky’s medieval Russian epic demands – and commands – the big screen in this unmissable restoration.
Darkly poetic and visually arresting, Swedish duo Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja’s sci-fi film follows the fate of a marooned colony vessel and its doomed passengers.
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.
Animation is such an engaging art form – perfect for inspiring the wide-open imaginations of our youngest NZIFF audience members. Not that the inspiration stops there – these eclectic and entertaining films are sure to appeal to both the young and young at heart. — NM
We again alternate big themes and existential musings with essential hilarity, showcasing 12 terrific short films from all corners of our big wide world. Certain to stimulate and charm both sharp young minds and indie animation-loving grown-ups. — NM
Our longstanding animation programmer Malcolm Turner, also head honcho at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, offers a selection of the best and brightest from this year’s Animation NOW! Festival.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A city slicker couple turned progressive eco-farmers transform a barren orchard into a thriving landscape in this inspirational sustainability documentary.
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.
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.
Grâce à Dieu
Shining his spotlight on a recent French paedophile-priest case, François Ozon’s poignant, award-winning drama illuminates the brave struggle of victims in the face of institutional complicity, eschewing salacious exposé.
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.
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.
A poignant, intimate portrait of Yves Saint Laurent in his twilight years takes us behind the scenes of the fabled fashion house and of the couturier’s complex relationship with business partner Pierre Bergé.
Kaijou no kodomo
With an enchanting attention to oceanic detail and the mysteries of the deep blue sea, this blissfully moody anime follows the journey of a teenage girl spirited away on a fantastic aquatic adventure.
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.
In this powerful war film, Vietnam, the forgotten conflict in ANZAC history, is remembered through the heroic deeds of Australian and New Zealand troops engaged in the brutal fight for Long Tan.
Georges, 44 years old, and his jacket, 100% deerskin, have grand plans in director Quentin Dupieux’s latest cinematic oddity, destined for cult status.
Dilili à Paris
The great master of French animation, Michel Ocelot (Kirikou and the Sorceress, Kirikou and the Wild Beasts), returns with this enchanting new tale of brave young heroes, set in Paris during the Belle Epoque.
Escher: Het oneindige zoeken
This vivid portrait explores M.C. Escher’s life and imaginative world through his own words and visions. Narrated by Stephen Fry.
Argentinian actor-turned-director Ana Katz helms this Brazilian family holiday comedy that strikes deeper chords in its exploration of independence, marriage and aging, at a beach paradise.
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.
Gospod postoi, imeto i’ e Petrunija
Teona Strugar Mitevska’s Macedonia-set satire charts the empowering, thought-provoking journey of a woman who challenges patriarchy and gender equality while finding herself in the process.
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.
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.
An intimate, inspirational portrait of Helen Kelly in the last year of her life, Together tells the story of a woman whose advocacy and generosity changed the lives of countless New Zealanders.
A forbidding spaceship carrying death row inmates hurtles towards oblivion in Claire Denis’s long-awaited, intensely hypnotic sci-fi opus.
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.
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.
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.
Punch & Judy’s traditional puppet theatre receives an offbeat and subversive twist in this deliciously dark tale of revenge starring Mia Wasikowska.
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.
A striking conceit and stellar cast mix winningly in this compulsively watchable, superbly executed French romantic comedy, where it’s never too late to relive the best day of your life again. And again. And again...
In the crime-ridden suburbs of impoverished Paris, the line between corrupt cop and upstanding criminal is not so clearly defined, in this explosive, Cannes Jury Prize-winning French thriller.
Set in Bogotá, Colombia, Franco Lolli’s excellent character study focuses on a lawyer struggling to care for her young son and ailing mother amidst a developing scandal at work.
Toni Servillo as Silvio Berlusconi plays the role of his life in Paolo Sorrentino’s satirical account of the former prime minister of Italy, famous for his fortunes and scandals as well as his ad personam policies.
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.
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.
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.
Meet New York’s legendary-yet-unlikely street art photographer who influenced a whole generation of graffiti artists – and at the age of 75, is still capturing beauty on the fringes, with verve.
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
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.
Ari Aster’s buzzworthy follow-up to the terrifying Hereditary centres on an American couple whose festive encounter with Swedish pagan cultists slowly but surely descends into madness. Late confirmation.
Stanley Nelson’s rich and multifaceted biography of legendary jazz musician Miles Davis delivers a clear-eyed portrait of the man behind the music.
Het Wonder van Le Petit Prince
The Miracle of the Little Prince profiles dedicated translators who use Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s timeless and overwhelmingly emotional novella to help keep dying, frequently less spoken and documented languages alive.
Chisana eiyu: Kani to tamago to tomei ningen
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.
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.
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.
Check out the year’s best New Zealand short films as chosen by this year’s guest selector Jane Campion, from a shortlist drawn up by NZIFF programmers from a total of 91 entries.
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.
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.
The murky line between reality and fiction goes under the microscope – and the sheets – in Olivier Assayas’s chatty, up-to-the minute treatment of the French literary world, with Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu
Winner of Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at Cannes, Céline Sciamma’s striking 18th-century tale of romantic obsession burns bright with female desire and the craft of a masterful filmmaker.
With a crisp, kinetic visual style and a surplus of tension, Spanish helmer Rodrigo Sorogoyen skewers the corrupt politicos of his home country with this razor-sharp suspense thriller.
Ruben Brandt, a gyűjtő
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.
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.
Exploring psychotherapy, boundaries and obsession, Justine Triet’s film deliciously portrays the creative crisis of a shrink-wannabe-author, who steals her actress patient’s story for a novel.
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’.
Inspired by her family history, Ash Mayfield’s directorial debut is a delicate and sensuous journey of a young Vietnamese girl torn between duty to her much older husband and her blossoming sexuality.
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.
The late, great French filmmaking icon’s swansong is a magical self-reflection on art, movies, invention and Varda’s own lust for life inside and outside of the cinematic frame.
Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots’ goal of becoming homeowners veers into strange and sinister territory in this smart and unexpected sci-fi horror.
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.
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.
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.
Hvítur, Hvítur Dagur
Evidence of a deceased wife’s affair tips a grieving ex-cop in remote Iceland over the edge, leading to a shocking spiral of events in search of the truth.
Celle que vous croyez
Juliette Binoche is terrific in director Safy Nebbou’s intriguing cautionary tale about a divorced university professor who reinvents herself as a younger, more desirable woman online.
Nan fang che zhan de ju hui
Gangland subterfuge tumbles into a dazzling nocturnal manhunt in Chinese director Diao Yinan’s film noir par excellence – a modern genre classic in the making.
Tense and full of real complexities, this Israeli workplace harassment drama follows Orna – a soldier, wife, mother and working woman pressured by her boss’ unorthodox demands.
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.