It’s a case of desire and denial in this atmospheric coming-of-age tale of a teen struggling with his sexuality in Brooklyn. Continue reading
Category Archives: NZIFF
A Kiwi take on one of Britain’s most iconic events of the 20th century, this action-thriller starring Jamie Bell is a gripping account of the real-life siege. Continue reading
Retired BBC Journalist Kate Adie is in Auckland for this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival. Kate is portrayed by actress Abbie Cornish in Toa Fraser’s thriller 6 Days, a film that recreates the harrowing events in London in 1980 when 6 gunmen invaded the Iranian Embassy taking 26 hostages for 6 days. The 13th Floor’s Liz Gunn talks to Kate Adie about the film and her own personal recollections of those 6 days.
Here’s a well-intentioned, ambitious music documentary determined to shine a light on the influence of Native Americans in the history of rock & roll. Its scatter-shot approach hits as many targets as it misses. Continue reading
Electric New York filmmakers the Safdie brothers rob us blind with this heist movie gone wrong, thanks to an illicitly good performance from Robert Pattinson. Continue reading
The NZ International Film Festival continues with its run of cinematic riches around Auckland. One of those films comes with this evocative description in the Festival Programme: “…awash with gentle, natural light, the film has the faded glow of a treasured valentine, while absorbing us in the contradictions of family bonds, the habits of loneliness and the animating power of Pia’s professed faith in romance”.
The director of Loving Pia is Daniel Borgman, New Zealand-born but based in Denmark since 2008 . Continue reading
It’s been two long years since Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster, and If you’ve been hungry for another serving of his signature style settle in for a wicked edge-of-your-seat delight, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a feast for the senses. Continue reading
Mountain junkies, classical music lovers and Willem Dafoe fans are all in for a treat, with this enthralling look at what makes mountains move us. Continue reading
Tonight, Tuesday 1 August at 6.30 at the Civic, Auckland’s Film Festival pays its respects to the glory and challenge and majesty and mystery of mountains. Continue reading
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-louis Trintignant, Toby Jones
Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke serves up a French-language black comedy featuring a dysfunctional family, observations on social media, euthanasia, European class structure and immigration and video surveillance in the age of the smart phone. Unfortunately, the end result of all this is less than the sum of its parts. Continue reading
My Year with Helen takes an in-depth look at former Prime Minister Helen Clark’s bid for Secretary General, the top job at UN, where she has headed up the Development Programme for six years. For those who have followed Aunty Helen’s impressive career trajectory, it’s a warm and personal step into both her personal and professional life.
There’s the politician at work – arriving prepared for every meeting, gracefully tending to her constituency whether it’s a New York board room or a thatched hut in Botswana, handling her own social media or rewriting a speech. She is on top of it all, with no sign of nerves or stress. Then there’s the personal side – she rings her 94-year-old Dad every night and when she’s home in NZ, she cooks and freezes hundreds of meals for him to enjoy while she’s away.
But director Gaylene Preston also takes a step back and analyses the whole process of how the Secretary General is elected, the world-wide movement to elect a woman for the first time, the straw vote balloting and the duplicitous politics going on behind the scenes. Here is the real eye-opener of the film – and the irony of Helen Clark running as not only a woman (there were several other women contenders), but as the most qualified candidate, when the reality is that it’s a political position that has always gone to the candidate least likely to rock the boat, much less implement change. A serious woman candidate would need to meet the same mild-mannered, congenial politician-who-does-nothing criteria that previous male Secretaries General have met.
The other striking issue that emerges is the ongoing cry for equality and true representation from women around the world. Women are not just victims of war and victims of rape, which is the UN’s primary concern. Women need to be part of the process, part of the machine and have a voice in decisions affecting both sexes. It’s a heartfelt plea, but one that, as a feminist of a certain age, I found disheartening as this same battle cry has fallen on my ears for nearly half a century. And as Helen Clark’s bid failed to a congenial male politician from Portugal, with a total of three vetoes from the permanent members of the Security Council (just one is required for a candidate to fail), it’s seems the battle is all but hopeless.
While some might find this documentary a bit dry, especially compared to the more common emotionally-driven doco, I found its direct, fact-based approach refreshing. And if I walked away disappointed in the real life outcome, I also learned a thing or two.
“A dead poet does not write”. Iggy Pop reads the words of Michel Houellecq in this film that addresses the issue of struggling artists and their mental health. Continue reading
You may be aware of Tony Conrad’s contribution to music and his association with The Velvet Underground, but this lively, entertaining look at the late experimental artist reveals that there was much more to Conrad besides the drone. Continue reading