This time of year in New Zealand is the dark heart of winter. But nothing warms the heart and stirs the blood like the New Zealand International Film Festival. Every year the Festival is dedicated to showcasing films the world over, as well as celebrating the work of New Zealand films and film-makers.
This year is no different. Tremendous films abound to temp cinephiles into the cinema. Here are some of my picks so far.
FRANK: Director Lenny Abrahamson's cheeky satire hit Sundance, SXSW and San Francisco's film festival this year and now it's the New Zealand audience's chance to see it. Who could resist this tale of an ambitious keyboard player who joins an avant-garde rock band and aims to obliterate their obscurity? And then there's the papier mache head...
Frank has been delighting audiences the world over, and it will no doubt win over the Antipodean audience as well.
WHEN ANIMALS DREAM: There is something undeniably lush and beautiful about Scandinavian cinema. Jonas Alexander Arnby's When Animals Dream was screened as part of Cannes 2014's Critics' Week and now comes to NZIFF.
It is the tale of outsider Marie, an outcast in a small coastal community. Marie lives with a mother who is afflicted by a mysterious illness. Marie is prompted to delve into her family's history when she begins to grow hair on her chest and back and what she discovers will have an impact. When Animals Dream is an art-house horror and has a fantastic cast.
PULP: A FILM ABOUT LIFE, DEATH AND SUPERMARKETS: If you grew up in the 1990s, chances are you listened to Pulp. Jarvis Cocker's velvety vocals and undeniable coollness permeated radios everywhere. New Zealander Florian Habicht's collaboration with Cocker on Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets is an exhultant one. The documentary weaves together the story of Pulp's last ever concert in 2012 with a loving portrait of the place where Pulp began: Sheffield, England.
THE CANNES SELECTION: the selection fresh from Cannes 2014 is an absolute treat as always. This year NZIFF has the pleasure of screening David Cronenberg’s Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars, which gained actress Julianne Moore the Cannes Best Actress award. Other films that screened at Cannes include Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall, David Michôd's The Rover, Jean-Luc Godard’s Jury Prize winner Goodbye to Language, and Alice Rohrwacher's Grand Prix winner The Wonders. But this is only a sliver of the films coming from Cannes to Kiwi shores as part of NZIFF.
As with every year of NZIFF, there is something for everyone; from chilling horror to quirky comedy, and everything in between. For more details regarding the films on offer and venues, check out the official website.
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