NZIFF Booklet

Films by Venue

Embassy Deluxe

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.

Animation NOW! 2019

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.

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.

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.

Children of the Sea

Kaijou no kodomo

Watanabe Ayumu

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.

Dark Suns

Soleils noirs

Julien Elie

This striking black-and-white documentary criss-crosses Mexico, unearthing grassroots tales of grief, resilience and determined resistance in the wake of a decades-long drug war and political corruption.

Deerskin

Le daim

Quentin Dupieux

Georges, 44 years old, and his jacket, 100% deerskin, have grand plans in director Quentin Dupieux’s latest cinematic oddity, destined for cult status.

Fly By Night

Sebelum pagi berakhir

Zahir Omar

This gripping heist-thriller… depicting a dark underbelly of Kuala Lumpur teeming with violent triads and corrupt cops… raises the bar of Malaysian genre cinema.” — New York Asian Film Festival

The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil

Ak-in-jeon

Lee Won-tae

Bruising Korean box office star Ma Dong-seok is in full beast mode in this seriously entertaining action thriller, which pits a burly mob boss and an unhinged detective against a maurading serial killer.

Genesis

Genèse

Philippe Lesage

Beautifully shot and expertly edited, Philippe Lesage’s artfully told chronicle of young love bristles with tension and overflows with compassion.

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

RaMell Ross

This artful and poetic study of ordinary black lives from acclaimed photographer-turned-filmmaker RaMell Ross competed for Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Academy Awards.

The Hole in the Ground

Lee Cronin

Paranoia takes hold of a single mother after her son, feared missing in the woods near an ominous sinkhole, returns unharmed yet with a disturbingly changed demeanour.

Knife+Heart

Un couteau dans le coeur

Yann Gonzalez

A third-rate porn producer’s most ambitious film yet may also be her most costly in this murderously kitschy homage to giallo, Grand Guignol and old school slasher movies.

Koko-di Koko-da

Johannes Nyholm

Visually arresting and very adult, Swedish director Johannes Nyholm’s devilishly devised folktale focuses on a grieving couple’s infinite camping trip from hell.

La Flor: Part I

Mariano Llinás

Spanning international espionage, torch song melodrama, supernatural horror and silent film homage, Mariano Llinás’ eccentric and expansive narrative epic is a Herculean film creation – and at 14 hours, a record-breaking one. Screening in three parts.

La Flor: Part II

Mariano Llinás

Spanning international espionage, torch song melodrama, supernatural horror and silent film homage, Mariano Llinás’ eccentric and expansive narrative epic is a Herculean film creation – and at 14 hours, a record-breaking one. Screening in three parts.

La Flor: Part III

Mariano Llinás

Spanning international espionage, torch song melodrama, supernatural horror and silent film homage, Mariano Llinás’ eccentric and expansive narrative epic is a Herculean film creation – and at 14 hours, a record-breaking one. Screening in three parts.

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.

Manta Ray

Kraben rahu

Phuttiphong Aroonpheng

Winner of the Horizons Prize at the Venice Film Festival, this dreamlike Thai film centres on the friendship that blossoms between a fisherman and the refugee he rescues from the swamp.

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.

Midnight Family

Luke Lorentzen

With visceral immediacy and an unerring sense of compassion, documentarian Luke Lorentzen places us in the passenger seat of a family-run ambulance on the chaotic streets of Mexico City.

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.

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.

Mystify: Michael Hutchence

Richard Lowenstein

Richard Lowenstein, who directed Michael Hutchence in Dogs in Space, combines rare archive footage and intimate insights from the people who were close to the INXS rock icon, in this major documentary.

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.

Nina Wu

Zhuo ren mi mi

Midi Z

This fiery Cannes title challenges the #MeToo movement’s popular discourse with a confronting and complicated tale of consent and abuse, based on its lead actress’ own experiences in the movie industry.

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.

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.

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.

Violence Voyager

Baiorensu boija

Ujicha

Twisted visions of childhood don’t come more unhinged than Ujicha’s delightfully macabre animated misadventure. Inventive genre thrills and spills abound: who knew cardboard viscera could be so disturbing?

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.

You Don’t Nomi

Jeffrey McHale

This shameless celebration of Paul Verhoeven’s much-maligned Showgirls explores the film’s complicated afterlife, from disastrous release to cult adoration and extraordinary redemption.