NZIFF Booklet

Films by Genre

Women Make Movies

Adam

Maryam Touzani

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.

Aniara

Pella Kågerman, Hugo Lilja

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.

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.

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.

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché

Pamela B. Green

Blending archival footage with interviews from A-listers Ava DuVernay, Geena Davis and Agnès Varda, among others, Green’s fizzy doco dives into the birth of motion pictures, and the pioneering woman who was there from the start.

Births, Deaths & Marriages

Bea Joblin

Director Bea Joblin’s spirited debut feature boasts snappy dialogue and spot-on performances from a cast including Geraldine Brophy, Sophie Hambleton and Jamie McCaskill. A pungent kiwi slant on classic domestic farce.

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.

Chris the Swiss

Anja Kofmel

Recalling the work of Marjane Satrapi and Ari Folman, Anja Kofmel recreates the strange life and death of her war reporter cousin in a bold, moody hybrid of docu-portrait and animation.

Crystal Swan

Khrustal

Darya Zhuk

Determined to follow the siren’s call of house music and escape the confines of her 90s Eastern Bloc existence, a young DJ’s aspirations are dented when she’s forced to prove the reality of a bogus job on her visa form.

Daguerréotypes

Agnès Varda

Bakers, grocers, butchers and other local characters pose for this lovely documentary portrait of the residents of a humble street in Paris which Agnès Varda called home for over 25 years.

The Farewell

Lulu Wang

Deft and deeply felt, with a star-making turn from Awkwafina, Lulu Wang’s widely praised drama tells the story of a Chinese American family paying their last respects to a mother and grandmother who doesn’t know she’s dying.

Florianópolis Dream

Sueño Florianópolis

Ana Katz

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.

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.

God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya

Gospod postoi, imeto i’ e Petrunija

Teona Strugar Mitevska

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.

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.

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 My Blood It Runs

Maya Newell

Told from the perspective of an insightful 10-year-old Aboriginal boy, this sensitive documentary considers the value of an education that balances the integrity of indigenous lifeways against persistent colonisation.

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.

Jacquot de Nantes

Agnès Varda

An affecting, gorgeously rendered cinematic love letter from Agnès Varda to her husband, the great The Umbrellas of Cherbourg director Jacques Demy.

Jawline

Liza Mandelup

Charting the rise of aspiring star Austyn Tester, Liza Mandelup’s dreamy feature-length debut is a stranger-than-fiction portrait of wannabe online influencers. US Documentary Special Jury Award, Sundance 2019.

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.

Le Bonheur

Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda’s beautiful, quietly unsettling depiction of a young marriage strained by an affair examines the complexities of love and happiness.

Leftover Women

Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia

Following three successful, determined and single women deemed sheng nu (leftover), directors Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia paint an affecting profile of finding and defining love in modern day China.

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound

Midge Costin

An ear-opening and revelatory history lesson on the unsung power of sound in cinema, Making Waves interposes fascinating interviews with dissected scenes to educate and exhilarate even the seasoned cinephile.

Martha: A Picture Story

Selina Miles

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.

The Miracle of The Little Prince

Het Wonder van Le Petit Prince

Marjoleine Boonstra

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.

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.

Mr Jones

Agnieszka Holland

Soaring across Poland, Scotland and the Ukraine, Agnieszka Holland’s absorbing biopic illuminates the exploits of unsung Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who bravely investigated the Soviet famine of 1932–33.

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.

The Orphanage

Parwareshgah

Shahrbanoo Sadat

A touch of Bollywood fantasy enlivens this moving story of a savvy Afghan teen living in a Soviet-run orphanage in the late 1980s while a destructive war rages through the country.

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.

Port Authority

Danielle Lessovitz

Debuting writer-director Danielle Lessovitz weaves a boy-meets-trans girl romance about identity and belonging around the New York underground ballroom scene.” — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu

Céline Sciamma

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.

Shooting the Mafia

Kim Longinotto

Veteran documentarian Kim Longinotto turns her lens on legendary photographer Letizia Battaglia, who reflects on a life lived to the fullest amidst violence in mob-controlled Sicily.

Sibyl

Justine Triet

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.

Song Without a Name

Canción sin nombre

Melina León

Replete with starkly beautiful black and white photography, this affecting arthouse thriller from first time Peruvian director Melina León is based on a real-life case of child trafficking.

Stuffed

Erin Derham

A fully rounded, elegantly observed documentary on the world of taxidermy, its dedicated practitioners and their empathy for the animals whose lives and beauty they lovingly preserve.

Take Me Somewhere Nice

Ena Sendijarevic

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Rotterdam, this delightfully absurdist road movie channels Jarmusch and Kaurismäki in telling the story of a young woman visiting Bosnia to find her estranged father.

The Third Wife

Ash Mayfair

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.

Vagabond

Sans toit ni loi

Agnès Varda

An unforgettable Sandrine Bonnaire won the Best Actress César, and Agnès Varda Venice Film Festival’s top prize, in this defiantly feminist masterpiece.

Varda by Agnès

Agnès Varda

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.

Working Woman

Isha Ovedet

Michal Aviad

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.

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.