What to see at the NZ International Film Festival

by Paperboy / 19 July, 2017

There's an excellent line-up of films on at the NZ International Film Festival - but where do you start? Paperboy talks to a couple of film geeks to help you narrow it down.

Film fan Caroline Montague shares her picks.


Set to be the most spine-tingling?
The Killing of a Sacred Deer – sometimes the best horror is subtle, internal and a situation with which we can identify. Undertones of Greek classical tragedy and absurdist humour add to the fun.

Which award-winning films would you like to see?
Palme d’Or winner The Square (below)– biting satire! The Swedish art world! A film that snidely critiques the cultural elite who would actually watch this film.

Your pick for the best New Zealand-made film?
The idea of some sort of sub-Antarctic Rashomon [a narrative effect of contradictory viewpoints of the same event], as a contemporary psychological thriller is appealing, so I’d choose Human Traces.

Your fave director whose work will show at the festival?
Michael Haneke – Happy End – he has a creepy Austrian sensibility that I identify with as he delves into a side of humanity that we would rather not acknowledge.

If you could only see two films at the festival, what would you see?
Stalker. Grim stuff but one of Tarkovsky’s best. It’s a rare opportunity to see it on the big screen and to truly appreciate the art direction, sound and cinematography. On Body and Soul: ever since Jan Svankmajer’s Little Otik, the outré quality of rare Eastern European, seriously weirdo comedies has always appealed to me.

A documentary you want to see?
Joe Berlinger’s Intent to Destroy: Death, Denial and Depiction is a multi-layered confrontation of the Armenian genocide, an atrocity that is rarely mentioned anywhere.

New acting faces you can’t wait to see?
Danielle Macdonald in Patti Cake$. She just may be the next Rebel Wilson. And Kyle Mooney in Brigsby Bear seems to be moving on to more challenging comedy.

A drama and a comedy?
Drama: Wind River (below)– Taylor Sheridan’s Sicario and Come Hell or High Water are great introductory credentials. Comedy: definitely Multiple Maniacs. Drag queen icon Divine and John Waters are deliciously subversive.

Writer and film buff Alexander Bisley’s top picks

 

What will be the most spine-tingling film this year?
I Am Not Your Negro (below). Decades after the mighty intellectual James Baldwin’s passing, his questions about race, justice and social cohesion remain urgent and rousing.

Your pick for the most important New Zealand-made film?
Waru tackles child abuse in New Zealand. Tough, but important.

Up-and-coming director to watch?
New Zealand’s Best 2017 showcases six talented short film directors, including Amberley Aumua, and Catherine Bisley (my sister).

If you could only see three films at the festival, what would you see? Loveless, from the Russian master Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan and Elena); We Don’t Need a Map by indigenous director Warwick Thornton (of the extraordinary Samson and Delilah), who understands Australia like few do; and The Square – Swedish cinema fresh from Cannes Film Festival acclaim. 

A documentary you want to see?
There’s too many for just one. Quest is about hip-hop and hope during the Obama years in a big, broken American city. Also, The War Show, about the Syrian Civil War.

New faces you can’t wait to check out?
Ildikó Enyedi’s On Body and Soul, set in an abattoir, introduces us to Hungarian actors Alexandra Borbely and Geza Morcsanyi. Bangkok Nite’s unfamiliar stars come recommended by the reliable critic Tim Wong.

A drama you want to see? A horror? A comedy?
Wind River, the writer of the incendiary Hell or High Water’s directorial debut; A Gentle Creature – no one approaches horror like Russians; The Other Side of Hope – Aki Kaurismaki marries distinctive Scandinavian humour with heart. 

Do you see any overall themes in the content of this year’s festival?
Immigration stories are a 2017 highlight.

 

The NZIFF runs Fri 14 Jul–Sun 6 Aug, see nziff.co.nz for the full programme

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