Festival Programme

Films by Title

A

After Love

Aleem Khan

Deception abounds in this nuanced portrait of lies and loss when a middle-aged woman discovers her recently deceased husband led another life in France, contradictory to the pious Muslim home they built together in England.

Apples

Mila

Christos Nikou

Christos Nikou’s quietly accomplished first feature finds deadpan comedy in a programme designed to forge new identities for the victims of an unexplained amnesia epidemic.

B

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc

Radu Jade

“Radu Jude's tale of a sex tape gone wrong jams two very different movies together for a bold, hilarious take on society's awful state.” — Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Beau Travail

Claire Denis

This digital restoration of Claire Denis’ striking Beau Travail lends new crispness and intensity to not only one of the great films of the 1990s, but one of the greatest endings in all of cinema.

Beginning

Dasatskisi

Dea Kulumbegashvili

A Jehovah’s Witness wrestles with persecution and patriarchal confinement in this powerhouse debut from Georgian filmmaker Dea Kulumbegashvili.

Bergman Island

Mia Hansen-Løve

A filmmaking couple navigate love, recognition and Ingmar Bergman in Mia Hansen-Løve's triple-layered Cannes darling, a serene and self-reflective ode to film and storytelling.

Blue Bayou

Justin Chon

Justin Chon writes, directs and stars in this stylish drama about a Korean-born, Louisiana-raised man who must go up against an unjust US immigration system to keep his family together.

C

Catch the Fair One

Josef Kubota Wladyka

A retired boxer will stop at nothing in the pursuit of her missing sister, launching herself into the belly of the beast to find and punish those responsible for her disappearance.

Compartment No. 6

Hytti nro 6

Juho Kuosmanen

Two strangers connect in the intimate confines of a train compartment in Juho Kuosmanen’s arresting sophomore feature.

Cryptozoo

Dash Shaw

A pop-tastic and wholly demented animated adventure has zookeepers tasked with safeguarding endangered mythical creatures from warmongers intent on exploiting their powers for destruction.

D

Dear Comrades!

Dorogie tovarishchi!

Andrey Konchalovskiy

Andrey Konchalovsky’s tense political drama, a Venice prize-winner beautifully shot and rich with historical detail, tells the story of an infamous 1962 Soviet massacre and its attempted cover-up.

Drive My Car

Doraibu mai kā

Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Adapted from the short story by Haruki Murakami, Japanese filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s profoundly moving, poetic vision of grief and the deep mysteries of the human spirit is the Cannes 2021 winner for Best Screenplay.

E

El Planeta

Amalia Ulman

From Spanish creator Amalia Ulman, the darkly comedic El Planeta explores the relationship between a mother and daughter pair on the edge of financial ruin.

Escape from Mogadishu

Mogadisyu

Ryoo Seung-wan

Operatives from both sides of the Korean divide, working diplomatic jobs in Somalia, must come together to survive as Mogadishu descends into civil war in a political thriller from writer/director Ryoo Seung-wan.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Michael Showalter

Jessica Chastain shines in this biopic centred on the trials, tribulations and televangelical legacy of the larger-than-life Tammy Faye Bakker.

F

Firestarter - The Story of Bangarra

Wayne Blair, Nel Minchin

The unique power of Australia’s Bangarra Dance Theatre, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performing arts organisation, fuels this artful documentary by Wayne Blair and Nel Minchin.

Flee

Jonas Poher Rasmussen

A thrilling tale of resilience, Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner Flee is just as interested in the quiet toll trauma takes on survivors as it is the extraordinary acts that ensured their survival.

The French Dispatch

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson brings his signature style to this delightful comedic anthology, paying homage to French New Wave and The New Yorker’s golden age journalists of the 50s and 60s.

G

Gagarine

Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh

A soon-to-be-demolished social housing estate, named after Yuri Gagarin, in the Parisian banlieue provides the earthly anchor for weightless flights of fancy in this wondrous and moving debut feature.

The Girls

Tabitha Arthur

Awkward and flirty 18 year old Jewelisa is ready for a secret date that might change her family dynamic forever. Confronted by her mother’s beliefs and her own doubts, Jewelisa finds herself confessing her deepest truth in a hilariously chaotic family cringefest.

Great Freedom

Die Grosse Freiheit

Sebastian Meise

In post-war Germany, Hans is repeatedly convicted for being gay. Over his many stints in prison, he develops a tumultuous friendship with Viktor. A moving film about the forces that conspire to destroy one man’s freedom.

H

The Hand of God

È stata la mano di Dio

Paolo Sorrentino

Iconic Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino delivers a majestical memoir with this beautifully shot, ribald bout of nostalgia for growing up amongst the anarchy of 1980s Naples.

Happening

L’événement

Audrey Diwan

Winner of the Golden Lion for Best Film at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival, Happening is a powerful and timely abortion drama, executed precisely by director Audrey Diwan.

A Hero

Ghahreman

Asghar Farhadi

Set against the vibrant backdrop of urban Shiraz, an affable but desperate prisoner is almost undone by a ‘selfless’ gesture that goes viral.

Hit the Road

Jadde khaki

Panah Panahi

Debut director Panah Panahi’s stunning Iranian road movie wowed critics at Cannes with its rich emotional nuance and sly political critique.

Hive

Zgjoi

Blerta Basholli

An indomitable Kosovar woman defies entrenched patriarchal societal norms to ensure her family’s welfare in this subdued but spirited debut feature, inspired by a true story that scooped three top awards at Sundance 2021.

I

I'm Your Man

Ich bin dein Mensch

Maria Schrader

An archaeologist reluctantly agrees to test-run a humanoid love robot programmed to fulfil her desires in this poignant comedy starring Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens.

I Carry You With Me

Te llevo conmigo

Heidi Ewing

Documentarian Heidi Ewing turns to narrative feature filmmaking in this lilting, graceful love story about two Mexican men whose bond is tested by distance, homophobia and hostile immigration systems.

The Innocents

De uskyldige

Eskil Vogt

Eskil Vogt’s chilling, supernatural Scando-spin on arthouse horror explores what it means to be a gifted child through disturbing, uncanny and heedlessly violent means.

K

The Killing of Two Lovers

Robert Machoian

Powerful performances and surgical craft anchor Robert Machoian’s slow-burning thriller, acutely observing the collapse of a family and the breakdown of its patriarch with mounting dread and carefully ratcheted suspense.

L

Language Lessons

Natalie Morales

Two strangers explore the pleasures and pitfalls of platonic friendship while bonding over online Spanish lessons in this intimate, expressive drama shot during lockdown over video-chat calls.

Limbo

Ben Sharrock

Melancholic, atmospheric and heartfelt, Ben Sharrock’s feature exploring immigrants awaiting asylum eschews conventional approaches to stories of the modern refugee crisis to create something profound and surprising.

Lingui, the Sacred Bonds

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

A pregnant teen and her mother look to the women of their community for help in Cannes-selected abortion drama Lingui, the Sacred Bonds, set amidst the natural beauty and religious strictures of Chad.

The Lost Daughter

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Sensual, subversive and sun-drenched, “even mothers make mistakes” (Peter Debruge, Variety) in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s glittering directorial debut, the 2021 Venice Film Festival winner for Best Screenplay.

M

Mandibles

Mandibules

Quentin Dupieux

Two amateur criminals discover a monstrous fly in the trunk of a stolen car. Their plan? Train the fly and make a fortune in this joyously absurd buddy-fly bromance.

Mark Hunt - The Fight of His Life

Peter Brook Bell

Helming this compelling documentary following one of New Zealand's sporting superstars, Kiwi director Peter Brook Bell charts how Mark Hunt overcame a challenging childhood to rise to global success – despite his best efforts to throw it all away.

Mass

Fran Kranz

Fran Kranz’s highly accomplished debut feature takes an unflinching look at the endemic horror of school shootings in America and their lingering scars, through the eyes of the parents of the perpetrator and his victim.

Memoria

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Follow Tilda Swinton on a strange supernatural journey into the Colombian jungle, in this hypnotic new film from the director of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and Cemetery of Splendour.

A Mild Touch of Cancer

Annie Goldson

Following the success of David Downs’ book of the same name, NZ director Annie Goldson (Brother Number One NZIFF 2011, Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web NZIFF 2017) brings his story to the big screen.

MILKED

Amy Taylor

The biggest player in the New Zealand economy is put on notice in this spirited documentary that sees a young activist from rural Northland go up against the powerful dairy industry.

Millie Lies Low

Michelle Savill

After missing her flight to a prestigious internship, an anxiety-ridden architecture grad fakes being in New York while lying low in her home town scrounging for another ticket.

Miss Marx

Susanna Nicchiarelli

Socialist pioneer Eleanor Marx is fully brought to life – with all her complexities and contradictions – in this stylised, lavish biopic featuring a deeply affecting performance by Romola Garai.

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

Världens vackraste pojke

Kristian Petri, Kristina Lindström

As Tadzio in Death in Venice, Björn Andrésen electrified audiences worldwide with his fragile beauty. Fifty years later, his life is still haunted by the fallout from the role that made him recognised, and coveted, across the globe.

Mothers of the Revolution

Briar March

Mothers of the Revolution tells the story of one of the longest protests in history, when between 1981 and 2000, thousands of women from around the world came together at Greenham Common to take a committed stand against nuclear proliferation.

Murina

Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović

Railing against an oppressive, overbearing father, a teenage girl embraces independence and flirts with desire over the course of a formative weekend in this sunny, sinister Croatian drama.

My Father and Me

Nick Broomfield

The life of British post-war photographer Maurice Broomfield is examined by his son, documentary veteran Nick Broomfield, whose own confrontational style lies at odds with his father’s steadfast pacifism.

My Name Is Gulpilil

Molly Reynolds

The great Aboriginal actor David Dalaithngu looks back on his amazing life and career in this personal film memoir, given added pathos as the ageing icon fearlessly faces his impending death.

My Salinger Year

Philippe Falardeau

Based on the 2014 memoir, My Salinger Year is The Devil Wears Prada for the literary world, a young woman’s coming of age as she balances her writing ambitions with her new job at a major New York City literary agency.

N

Never Gonna Snow Again

Śniegu już nigdy nie będzie

Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert

A mysterious, unclassifiable semi-satire of its disconnected upper-classes, Poland’s selection for this year’s Oscar race follows an angelic masseuse trying to draw meaning out of his patients’ lives.

New Order

Nuevo orden

Michel Franco

Mexico City is in the throes of revolt. Hospitals are overrun and streets are unsafe. But for one wealthy family, their only concern is that the wedding of their daughter must go ahead. And so the festivities continue — at least until the resistance arrives at their doorstep...

New Zealand’s Best 2021

Check out the year’s best New Zealand short films as chosen by this year’s guest selector, Kerry Fox, from a total of 117 submitted entries.

Night of the Kings

La nuit des rois

Philippe Lacôte

If a young man cannot command an inmate-run prison with his storytelling, his first night behind bars promises to be his last in this lush, striking and unexpected tale that blends magical realism with current affairs.

Night Raiders

Danis Goulet

A nail-biting rescue thriller wrapped up in a chilling vision of near-dystopia, this Kiwi-Canadian co-production tackles Canada’s dark colonial roots through strong genre craft.

Nine Days

Edson Oda

What if you had to audition for your own life before being born? “A film of dizzying conceptual ambition – No Exit meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” — Variety

Nitram

Justin Kurzel

The first Australian film featured in Cannes’ Official Selection in a decade, Justin Kurzel’s disturbing dive into the tormented mind and soul of a mass-shooter is bolstered by four remarkable lead performances.

Notturno

Gianfranco Rosi

Gianfranco Rosi’s visually stunning portrait of ordinary people living in the warzones of the Middle East is the kind of sensory experience that demands the immersion of a darkened movie theatre.

Nowhere Special

Uberto Pasolini

After learning he only has months to live, a working-class father reckons with guilt and grief as he searches for a replacement family for his young son.

O

One Second

Yi miao zhong

Zhang Yimou

One of China’s premier filmmakers delivers his love letter to cinema, set during the Cultural Revolution of his youth. Warm, funny and (despite rumoured political censorship) surprisingly sharp-edged.

P

The Painted Bird

Václav Marhoul

By equal turns horrifying and beautiful, The Painted Bird sees Czech filmmaker Václav Marhoul put a young boy through every manner of evil that 1940s Eastern Europe can conjure in this war-torn vision of hell.

Paris, 13th District

Les Olympiades

Jacques Audiard

Jacques Audiard’s charming exploration of the tangled work and love lives of three young Parisians is a beautifully-crafted love letter to the classics of French New Wave.

Patu!

Merata Mita

Patu! is the definitive film of the 1981 Springbok tour protests, a technically complex piece of guerrilla filmmaking that explicitly connects apartheid abroad and racism at home. Newly preserved by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion

Dame Jane Campion returns with her Venice Silver Lion-Best Director winner; a rich, menacing neo-Western tackling cowboy brothers and the mother and son who come between them.

President

Camilla Nielsson

Moving with the breathless intensity of a political thriller, this disturbing document of potential voter fraud in the 2018 Zimbabwe election is elevated by astonishing access to key players behind-the-scenes.

Q

Quo Vadis, Aida?

Jasmila Žbanić

This pressure-cooker Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film puts viewers on the frontlines of an impending massacre in the Bosnian genocide – with harrowing power.

R

The Reason I Jump

Jerry Rothwell

Taking as its inspiration the groundbreaking book of the same name by autistic thirteen-year-old Naoki Higashida, this documentary attempts to present the world as it might be experienced by neuro-divergent individuals.

Riders of Justice

Retfærdighedens ryttere

Anders Thomas Jensen

Recently widowed and grieving, army officer Markus (Mads Mikkelsen) proves vengeance is a dish best served bold in this dark — and comic — take on the revenge thriller from Oscar-winning Dane, Anders Thomas Jensen.

River

Jennifer Peedom

Let this exultant ode to the life-sustaining waterways that criss-cross our planet wash over you, captured in jaw-dropping imagery by Mountain director Jennifer Peedom.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Morgan Neville

The life of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was about so much more than just food, as affectionate documentary Roadrunner illustrates in interviews with those whose lives were touched by the curious, convivial rover.

Rosa's Wedding

La boda de Rosa

Icíar Bollaín

A tonic for the nerves, Rosa’s Wedding is an uplifting and spirited ode to loving thyself, drenched in the dreamy seaside sunshine of the Costa del Azahar.

S

Shiva Baby

Emma Seligman

Dizzying and captivating, Emma Seligman’s feature-length debut stars Rachel Sennott as a young woman who cannot escape her sugar daddy, her ex-girlfriend or her own lies at a family wake.

Signed, Theo Schoon

Luit Bieringa

Tracing the story of one of our more complex characters, this layered portrait re-examines the exploits of influential outsider, Dutch immigrant artist Theo Schoon, told in his own words and through first-hand accounts.

Sing a Bit of Harmony

Ai no utagoe o kikasete

Yasuhiro Yoshiura

Schoolyard romance, musical numbers and lifelike robotics collide in this animated glimpse at what teenage life might look like in a world increasingly run by artificial intelligence.

Snakeskin

Gillian Ashurst

Bill Gosden championed countless New Zealand films during his tenure as Festival Director, and not all the obvious ones, either. Maybe it was its lust for Americana, the protagonist’s escape from southern parochialism (Bill grew up in Dunedin), or Gillian Ashurst’s darkly cartoonish take on Goodbye Pork Pie’s road movie legacy, that made him regard Snakeskin with such fondness.

Fascinated, he wrote, “I wouldn’t be surprised if, played backwards, it turns out to contain the solutions to every unsolved murder in the South Island”.

Stray

Elizabeth Lo

Get close to the stray dogs of Turkey as Elizabeth Lo’s camera becomes a canine companion, guiding us through a cross-section of Istanbul society as lived by our four-legged friends.

Summer of 85

Été 85

François Ozon

This queer coming-of-age romance combines all the sensuality of François Ozon’s best with the infectious energy of a CW drama and how meeting one person can open you up and change the trajectory of your life.

Sun Children

Khorshid

Majid Majidi

Tehran’s byways teem with life in this Iranian crime-caper that blends gritty, Buñuelesque social realism, strong character drama, and spirited storybook style adventure.

Swan Song

Todd Stephens

“The Liberace of Sandusky” emerges from retirement for one last day in the sun – and one final night on stage – in a knock-out turn by Udo Kier. 

Sweat

Magnus von Horn

This portrait of a woman on the verge follows fitness influencer Sylwia Zając, a social media celebrity with 600,000 followers, whose glossy, energetic brand begins to crack as she grows more and more isolated by her fame.  

T

'Til Kingdom Come

Ad Sof HaOlam

Maya Zinshtein

An incisive investigation into the strange, contradictory drivers behind the political and philanthropic relationship of the religious American right and pro-occupation Israel.

Ted K

Tony Stone

Filmed on the same land where the Unabomber once lived, Ted K draws viewers into the psyche of a haunting figure in America’s history.

There Is No Evil

Sheytan vojud nadarad

Mohammad Rasoulof

Mohammad Rasoulof fuses the gripping dramatic style of compatriot Asghar Farhadi with the contemplative aesthetic of Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan in this incisive internal critique of Iran’s punitive processes.

There Is No I in Threesome

Jan Oliver Lucks

In love, newly engaged and maintaining a long-distance relationship, director Jan Oliver Lucks and his fiancée decide to throw traditional rules out the window by opening up their relationship before they tie the knot.

Tigers

Tigrar

Ronnie Sandahl

Based on a true story, Tigers is a riveting look at the price of success in the cut-throat world of professional football.

Titane

Julia Ducournau

Titane is coming, and it’s coming to fuck you up." — Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

To Chiara

A Chiara

Jonas Carpignano

Offering an intimate look into organised crime in the Calabria region of Italy, To Chiara forgoes the shock-value of violence and drug addiction to consider the heartbreaking impact on family and culture.

Topping Out

Kerry Fox

High above London, two scaffolders unwittingly expose their secret selves.

The Truffle Hunters

Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw

A love letter to a rapidly vanishing world: this gentle documentary follows a handful of elderly men who, with their beloved dogs, comb the forests of Northern Italy on the hunt for a rare culinary delicacy.

U

Undine

Christian Petzold

This captivating tale of fated lovers, drawing on myth and fantasy, is also a love song to Berlin.

W

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Guzen to sozo

Ryusuke Hamaguchi

A gentle exploration of the complexities of the human heart, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is a balm for the soul.

Whetū Mārama – Bright Star

Toby Mills, Aileen O'Sullivan

What Sir Edmund Hillary did in conquering Everest, Sir Hekenukumai Busby has done in reclaiming the lost art of traditional Māori voyaging, sailing the vast Pacific navigating by the stars – restoring the past to carve our way into the future.

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler

Equipped with keen intelligence and a big heart, lawyer Jeffery Robinson educates and challenges in equal measure, giving voice to the silenced and seeking acceptance of racist realities in pursuit of lasting change.

Writing With Fire

Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh

This Sundance favourite follows the unflinching team of journalists behind India’s only women-run newspaper traversing personal, political and professional discrimination as the newspaper pivots to digital.

Written on the Wind

Douglas Sirk

Our Bill Gosden tribute wouldn’t be complete without a wall-to-wall Technicolor classic. Bill’s love of early cinema, vibrant studio-era musicals, and frankly anything starring Elvis could be felt throughout his retrospective programming, not least in the carefully curated Live Cinema events he looked forward to most. Douglas Sirk, Hollywood’s unrivalled melodramatist, influenced some of Bill’s absolute favourites — Fassbinder and Almodóvar, most famously — and this presentation of one of the director’s late masterpieces is a fitting occasion to luxuriate in larger-than-life filmmaking on the biggest screen available, as only Bill would have it.

Z

Zola

Janicza Bravo

“Y'all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out???????? It's kind of long but full of suspense.” — @_zolarmoon