Festival Programme

Films by Venue

The Civic

Alien Weaponry: Kua Tupu Te Ara

Kent Belcher

Even if you’re not a fan of heavy metal, you can’t help but admire Alien Weaponry. If not for their rise to fame on an international scale, then for being the first band of the genre to sing in te reo Māori.

All We Imagine As Light

Payal Kapadia

Direct from Competition in Cannes where it scored the Grand Prix, this radiant Indian drama follows two nurses looking for love but finding sisterhood in the vibrant, heaving 20 million plus populace of Mumbai.

The Beast

La bête

Bertrand Bonello

Léa Seydoux and George MacKay’s fatal attraction endures across space and time in Bertrand Bonello’s audacious Lynchian reflection on love and obsession, mixing sci-fi, melodrama, and horror across three different time frames.

Black Dog

Gou zhen

Guan Hu

An ex-convict finds redemption in the bond he forms with an unwanted mutt in Guan Hu’s dynamically shot and darkly comic Un Certain Regard Prize winner.

Crossing

Levan Akin

An aging aunt must voyage from her rugged Georgian home to cosmopolitan Istanbul in search of an estranged trans niece in this graceful cross-cultural panorama from Levan Akin.

Cuckoo

Tilman Singer

Equal parts picturesque, creepy and batshit crazy, with a stunning performance from Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer in her first feature lead role, this riotous horror flick proves to be raucously entertaining and refreshingly unpredictable.

Dahomey

Mati Diop

In 2021, 26 plundered artefacts from the Kingdom of Dahomey are returned to the modern day nation of Benin. Mati Diop’s dreamlike documentary skilfully examines the debate surrounding the repatriation of stolen cultural treasures.

Days of Heaven

Terrence Malick

Reclusive auteur Terrence Malick’s sophomore effort, beautifully restored in 4K, is a bewitching, visually ravishing pre-World War I fable of passion and betrayal on the sun-drenched Texas prairie.

Dìdi

Dìdi (弟弟)

Sean Wang

Sensitive and funny, this semi-autobiographical film follows 13-year-old Chris Wang as he grows up in diaspora, flirting through AOL emojis and navigating family life, with beautiful small details that feel painfully realistic and true to life. 

A Different Man

Aaron Schimberg

Aaron Schimberg’s darkly comic feature from indie powerhouse A24 sees a man with facial tumours make a Faustian pact to change his appearance, only to discover good looks can’t buy happiness.

Dying

Sterben

Matthias Glasner

This triptych tale of a family in turmoil is equal parts incredibly moving and scabrously funny, Matthias Glasner’s award-winning drama may be called Dying, but it’s really a celebration of the messiness of life.

Eno

Gary Hustwit

This groundbreaking documentary on musician, artist and superstar producer Brian Eno changes every time it screens. The two New Zealand premiere screenings at the Festival will both be completely different and will never be seen again.

Evil Does Not Exist

Aku wa sonzai shinai

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi follows up his Oscar-winning film Drive My Car with a modern eco-fable that provides a gorgeous meditation on humanity’s relation to nature and an unnerving commentary on the price of progress.

Explanation for Everything

Magyarázat mindenre

Gábor Reisz

A lovesick young student accidentally becomes a right-wing cause célèbre when he fails his exam in this sharp Hungarian satire which recalls the incisive social critiques of the Romanian New Wave.

Flow

Gints Zilbalodis

Direct from wowing audiences at Cannes, this immersive animated wonder from Lativian director Gints Zilbalodis tells the surreal tale of an unlikely group of animals who must overcome their differences to survive a great flood.

Gloria!

Margherita Vicario

An energetic re-envisioning of Baroque music through the lens of the fiery female composers whose revolutionary work was concealed throughout history.

Grafted

Sasha Rainbow

Mean Girls  meets  Face/Off   to absolutely wild results in Sasha Rainbow’s gory and uniquely Kiwi black comedy about a Chinese student who finds a new way of achieving popularity one body at a time.

Grand Tour

Miguel Gomes

A runaway groom with his bride-to-be in hot pursuit takes us on an epic tour through colonial-era Asia in Miguel Gomes’s playful Cannes prize-winner which mingles the artificiality of classic cinema with a documentary sense of place.

Green Border

Zielona granica

Agnieszka Holland

Brutal, enraging and heartrending, Polish writer-director Agnieszka Holland’s controversial take on the Polish-Belarusian border crisis serves as a startling call to arms in the face of a little-seen humanitarian crisis.

Head South

Jonathan Ogilvie

Christchurch-born filmmaker Jonathan Ogilvie returns home for this evocative coming-of-age story that brilliantly captures the feeling of growing up weird in the Garden City. Starring Ed Oxenbould, Márton Csókás and featuring Stella Bennett aka Benee in her acting debut, Head South will be our Opening Night film for the Christchurch leg of the festival.

Heavenly Creatures

Peter Jackson

Returning to the Festival is Peter Jackson’s sublime 1994 film about the notorious Parker-Hulme murder drew rapturous acclaim and brought the former splatter king a newfound mainstream respectability.

I Saw the TV Glow

Jane Schoenbrun

Gunge, goons, and girls with unbreakable psychic bonds are your new late-night obsession in this unsettling fable about what happens when you get offered a chance at a fantasy, but choose to settle for reality.

In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon

Alex Gibney

Paul Simon is that rare popular artist who has produced vital music across seven decades. Drawing on archives and intimate new footage, this comprehensive documentary examines the creative career of a lifelong seeker.

Janet Planet

Annie Baker

Acclaimed playwright Annie Baker ruminates on the evolving relationship between an 11-year-old misfit and her single mother during the summer holidays in this intimately observed debut feature.

Kneecap

Rich Peppiatt

Belfast’s own Beastie Boys become unlikely figureheads of the Irish Language Act in this madcap biopic of sex, drugs, and Gaelic rap.

Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line

Paul Clarke

Defying the traditional rock ’n’ roll narrative, this is the story of how a young Australian hard rock band developed a political conscience and brought their audience along with them.

The Monk and the Gun

Pawo Choyning Dorji

Is “political freedom” worth the cost of familial or social discord? When Bhutan’s king abdicates in favour of democratic reform, a strange series of events unfolds, where the old and the new collide in wondrous fashion.

My Favourite Cake

Keyke mahboobe man

Maryam Moghaddam, Behtash Sanaeeha

A lonely but fiercely determined 70-year-old widow takes second chance on love in this charming and funny yet politically subversive romance from Iran.

No Other Land

Basel Adra, Hamdan Ballal, Yuval Abraham, Rachel Szor

Filmed in Palestine between 2019 and 2023, No Other Land is documentary film performing its calling. An urgent and irresistible reminder as to why we choose to understand the world, and others, through cinema.

The Outrun

Nora Fingscheidt

Saoirse Ronan brings Amy Liptrot’s award-winning memoir to the screen in this ardently moving portrait of addiction recovery set in the majestic Orkney Islands of Scotland.

Paris, Texas

Wim Wenders

Starring the late great Harry Dean Stanton in his most iconic role, Wim Wenders’ newly restored modern classic delivers one of the definitive outsider views of America.

Peeping Tom

Michael Powell

Critically and commercially loathed and dismissed upon its release, championed and revived by Martin Scorsese, and now restored in a majestic 4K transfer, master filmmaker Michael Powell’s twisted, voyeuristic psychological thriller about a serial killer whose chosen weapon is a camera is even more alarming – and alarmingly prescient – than ever.

Problemista

Julio Torres

Julio Torres makes a bold directorial debut with a bright, colourful and unique take on the American dream featuring a delightfully manic performance from Tilda Swinton.

The Remarkable Life of Ibelin

Benjamin Ree

Winner of multiple awards at Sundance this powerful and heartwarming documentary reveals an outwardly introverted gamer’s vibrant secret cyberlife following his death from a degenerative muscular disease.

The Seed of the Sacred Fig

Mohammad Rasoulof

A conflicted family implodes as protests spread throughout Iran, Mohammad Rasoulof’s courageous and urgent film delivers a bold middle finger to the totalitarian regime of his homeland.

Shambhala

Min Bahadur Bham

How far would you go to prove yourself? Pema, accused of infidelity, embarks on a journey through the beautiful yet unforgiving Himalayan landscape to confirm her virtue.

Sleep

Jam

Jason Yu

A young wife faces a nightmarish scenario when her husband suddenly starts behaving strangely in his sleep. Does he have a sleeping disorder or is something more sinister afoot? Jason Yu’s whip-smart debut will keep you guessing.

Sons

Vogter

Gustav Möller

A corrections officer sees her placid work life thrown into disarray upon the arrival of a new inmate, a mysterious figure from her past, in this sophomore feature from Gustav Möller.

The Substance

Coralie Fargeat

Direct from wowing audiences at Cannes, Coralie Fargeat’s magnificent shocker closes out this year’s Festival in style and lays down her marker to take the crown as the new queen of carnage with this wildly entertaining feminist body-horror feast.

Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story

Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui

An intimate look at the man behind the cape, Super/Man charts actor Christopher Reeve’s journey from super-stardom to near-death injury and the difficult road to embracing a different kind of heroics.

Tatami

Guy Nattiv, Zar Amir Ebrahimi

An Iranian judo champ weighs her principles and ambitions against the safety of her family and herself as government forces threaten violence unless she tows the party line, in this riveting political-sports-thriller.

The Teachers' Lounge

Das Lehrerzimmer

İlker Çatak

Driven by a captivating central performance, this unsettling Oscar-nominated classroom thriller thoughtfully probes the grey area of student care versus culpability, and to what degree our systems promote or constrain our humanity.

We Were Dangerous

Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu

Earning director Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu the Special Jury Prize for Filmmaking at SXSW this year, this electric debut launches our festival with a fiery trio of delinquent schoolgirls railing against the colonial system in 1950s New Zealand.