Festival Programme

Films by Strand

Widescreen

A panorama of the best and brightest films that drew our attention on the world stage – and demanded a captive audience back home – during our intense engagement with international cinema on the festival circuit this past year.

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.

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.

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.

Drifting

Zuk seoi piu lau

Jun Li

Rising talent Jun Li directs a story of dispossession and failure of social infrastructure, as unhoused residents in Hong Kong bond together in search of support, dignity and solace from a world that has forgotten them.

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.

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.

Fabian - Going to the Dogs

Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde

Dominik Graf

Love blooms amidst the frenzied hedonist cityscape of post-WWI Berlin – but can anything, let alone a relationship, survive a society bent on self-destruction and the looming fascist threat?

Hand Rolled Cigarette

Sau gyun yin

Kin Long Chan

A retired colonial-era soldier tied up with the triad risks crossing his violent bosses to help a young South Asian drug runner in this confident Hong Kong crime noir from debut director Kin Long Chan.

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.

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.

In Front of Your Face

Dangsin-eolgul-apeseo

Hong Sang-soo

Meandering through a day in the life of a middle-aged actress who has returned home to Korea after years in the US, In Front of Your Face is a luminous gem that imbues everyday subtleties with revelatory meaning.

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.

La Civil

Teodora Ana Mihai

Caught between the inaction of local authorities and the senseless cruelty of the cartels, a Mexican mother takes matters into her own hands when her daughter is kidnapped in Teodora Ana Mihai’s fierce first feature.

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.

Los Lobos

Samuel Kishi Leopo

Offering an intimate window into the migrant experience, director Samuel Kishi Leopo has shaped a tender and honest drama about displacement, family and hope, recalling aspects of his own childhood in an immigrant community.

Luzzu

Alex Camilleri

This Maltese maritime drama combines fascinating cultural specifics, a captivating colour palette, and an affecting central performance with a perceptive examination of societal and economic change.

Marinheiro das montanhas

Karim Aïnouz

Brazilian-Algerian filmmaker, and NZIFF veteran, Karim Aïnouz invites us on his first ever journey to Algeria, the homeland of his estranged father, in this evocative diary film bending space and time.

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.

Midnight

Mideunaiteu

Kwon Oh-seung

A relentless serial killer. A young deaf woman. A cat-and-mouse chase. A society that cannot hear her cries for help. An edge-of-your-seat thriller from debut writer and director Kwon Oh-seung in the great tradition of Korean thrillers.

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.

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.

Natural Light

Természetes fény

Dénes Nagy

Natural Light confronts Hungary’s complicity in war crimes against pro-Soviet ‘partisans’ during World War II.

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...

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.

Ninjababy

Yngvild Sve Flikke

A young cartoonist is forced to grow up faster than she’d like when an unplanned pregnancy threatens to upset her party-heavy lifestyle in this subversive Norwegian comedy.

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.

Nr. 10

Alex van Warmerdam

When a stranger on a bridge utters a single word in his ear, Günter finds himself falling deep into the rabbit hole of his mysterious childhood in Alex van Warmerdam’s new, paranoia-fuelled thriller.

OK Computer

Pooja Shetty, Neil Pagedar

A refreshingly original, genre-hopping exploration of where our developing technologies might take us, that fuses offbeat humour anda lo-fi meets hi-tech vision of the world with moments of wry Herzogian philosophy.

OK Computer (Part One)

Pooja Shetty, Neil Pagedar

A refreshingly original, genre-hopping exploration of where our developing technologies might take us, that fuses offbeat humour anda lo-fi meets hi-tech vision of the world with moments of wry Herzogian philosophy

OK Computer (Part Two)

Pooja Shetty, Neil Pagedar

A refreshingly original, genre-hopping exploration of where our developing technologies might take us, that fuses offbeat humour anda lo-fi meets hi-tech vision of the world with moments of wry Herzogian philosophy

Petrov's Flu

Petrovy v grippe

Kirill Serebrennikov

Timelier than perhaps intended, Kirill Serebrennikov’s hazy fever dream set in a flu-stricken, semi-dystopian post-Soviet Russia is a confronting, elusive vision of life in an eternally wintry hellscape.

Playground

Un monde

Laura Wandel

A seven-year-old child becomes caught in a conflict of loyalty after her beloved brother falls victim to brutal schoolyard bullying.

Pleasure

Ninja Thyberg

Bella Cherry arrives in LA from Sweden ready to take the adult film world by storm, but the often-abusive, male-dominated industry presents its own unique pitfalls in Ninja Thyberg's feature debut.

Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

Felkészülés meghatározatlan ideig tartó együttlétre

Lili Horvát

When neurosurgeon Márta abandons a brilliant career to follow her lover to Budapest, she instead finds a man who claims they’ve never met. “A treat – sinewy, seductive and beautifully strange.” —The Guardian

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Small Body

Piccolo corpo

Laura Samani

A breathtaking fable that follows a young woman’s quest to save her daughter’s soul from Limbo. One of the most impressive debut features of recent years, and a must-watch for fans of Portrait of a Lady on Fire (NZIFF 2019).

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

Wildland

Kød & blod

Jeanette Nordahl

Borgen and Duke of Burgundy star Sidse Babett Knudsen is the imperious matriarch of a criminal empire in this fleet, brutal crime drama about bad luck and bad families from debut director Jeanette Nordahl.

Yellow Cat

Sary mysyq

Adilkhan Yerzhanov

An absurdist chase across rural Kazakhstan, this offbeat gangster comedy follows a movie-obsessed ex-con with mobsters on his tail and a girl on his arm as he strives to realise his dream: building a cinema in the mountains.