Festival Programme

Films by Strand

Bill Gosden Tribute

This very special retrospective pays tribute to the late Bill Gosden, ONZM, NZIFF’s director and public face for nearly 40 years. While it can in no way do justice to the breadth and diversity of his vision and personal film taste, we hope this modest collection of past Festival highlights captures a morsel of what he loved about movies, the filmmakers he held in highest esteem and what he looked for – and stood for – as a curator of cinema.

Not every film we wanted to show in Bill’s memory was available to us – such is the nature of programming, which we know Bill of all people would’ve understood. Where possible, we’ve selected films he wrote original programme notes for (and these are included) or was openly passionate about.

Most of these films and their directors also appear in The Gosden Years, a book conceived by Bill during the last months of his life on the Festival’s storied history, its major role in Aotearoa film culture, and the artists and personnel who were a part of his remarkable run at the helm. Our screenings coincide with the book’s release and the one-year anniversary of Bill’s death in November.

If you’d like to leave your own tribute to Bill, visit rememberingbillgosden.nz

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.

Beautiful Thing

Hettie Macdonald

Beautiful Thing telegraphed to its mid-1990s audiences something they hadn’t heard before: Gay people are just people.” —Brandon Tensley, The Atlantic

Brief Encounters

Korotkie vstrechi

Kira Muratova

The 20 years Brief Encounters was banned by Soviet censors could not diminish the originality of this exquisite film, making it an instant classic.

The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

Yuki yukite shingun

Kazuo Hara

“The stories [Hara] extracts... are shocking, as is the film’s underlying premise: that the Japanese government failed to confront its wartime atrocities.” — Richard Brody, The New Yorker


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”.

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.