New Zealand International Film Festival 2014 (17 Jul–3 Aug 2014)


Some great movies coming to our shores this film festival season. I haven’t thoroughly gone through the schedule and I’m sure there are more films to be announced, but here are a few that have caught my eye so far:

La belle et la bête (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) 1946. Fairy tales are meant to be magical stories of wonder and danger. I was captivated by last year’s BLANCANIEVES, so this is a must see. Directed by Jean Cocteau — A beloved classic of French cinema returns in a stunning digital restoration. Conjuring pure magic from the simplest of effects, this retelling of the great Gothic romance is perhaps the most sensuously elegant of all filmed fairy tales.

BOYHOOD. Watch this movie; there will never be another one quite like it, ever. Directed by Richard Linklater — This enthralling and moving drama of a boy’s progress from childhood to young manhood is truly unprecedented: it was shot over 12 years, capturing its star and his fellow cast as they themselves grew and changed.

UNDER THE SKIN. An imposter human being is picking up men on the streets of Scotland and luring them to an alien demise. A majority of footage was captured via hidden cameras, and most of the men that feature in the film are genuine locals just walking in their neighbourhood and not actors at all. Major kudos to Scarlett Johansson for initiating easy conversations and eventual performances out of the unsuspecting, lucky guys. Directed by Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast), UNDER THE SKIN is a risky but ultimately well executed film and it’s nice to see an alien centric story that is more brains than bravado for a change. Plus, Scarlett is sort of the modern-day equivalent of a silver screen starlet, so seeing her play a modest, albeit, edgy role is welcoming. In case my prose is confusing you, yes, I have already seen this film, and it is good.

PATEMA INVERTED. I’m dubious when it comes to anime, unless of course it gets the OK from film festival organisers. Directed by Yoshiura Yasuhiro — This charming and ingeniously elaborate anime world, one tribe’s gravity is another tribe’s anti-gravity. A plucky upside-down girl and a gallant right-way-up boy switch perspectives.

WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL? I can always count on the Incredibly Strange section to bring the ridiculousness. Directed by Sono Sion (Suicide Club, Love Exposure ) — Basically, this film is about two bloodthirsty Yakuza clans against a band of chaotic wannabe filmmakers. And that’s all I need to know.

KUNG FU ELLIOT. This doco is a maybe. But judging by the trailer, I think I do want to care about Elliot and his life goals. “A window into the magnificent world of self delusion.” ~ Fresh Roasted Films. I wonder if Elliot is a fan of Don “The Dragon” Wilson?

SNOWPIERCER. Directed by Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho (The Host), adapted from a French graphic novel and starring an international cast; movies like this are made to appease film festival audiences.

~ by Fionnlagh on July 17, 2014.

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