NZIFF Booklet

Films by Must See

Staff Picks: Lauren Day

This is my second year working for NZIFF, my third attending, and each festival has offered something totally different and unexpected for me. As a reasonably uneducated (but enthusiastic) film fan, the following is a selection of films that I’m hoping to see for different reasons: some for their ability to take me into different people’s lives and experiences, others because I’m a bit of a music nerd, and The Farewell just because I really loved it. — Lauren Day, Guest Coordinator

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão

A vida invisível de Eurídice Gusmão

Karim Aïnouz

A saga of sisterhood for the ages, Madame Sata director Karim Aïnouz’s sensual ‘tropical melodrama’ won top prize at this year’s Cannes Un Certain Regard section.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mope

Lucas Heyne

Boogie Nights meets Pain & Gain in this tragic, oddly compelling story of two low-end porn actors who sought fame but gained infamy, all based on real events.

For Sama

Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts

Shot over five years, Waad al-Kateab’s intimate, Cannes award-winning film addresses her baby daughter and delivers a harrowing account of the war in Aleppo, the devastation wrought on the city, its people and children.

The Day Shall Come

Chris Morris

Anna Kendrick plays a dysfunctional FBI agent tricking an idealistic preacher into plotting terror in The Day Shall Come, Chris Morris’ ballsy, very funny follow-up to festival hit Four Lions.