New Zealand International Film Festival (2019)

It is that time of year again when the NZ International Film Festival rolls into town, and I have decisions to make!!

Poster artwork: illustration by Ken Samonte, design by Ocean Design.

My sister Matisse and I caught the NZIFF opening night screening of La Belle Époque and it was hilarious and heartfelt. Prior to its screening, New Zealand Film Festival Trust (NZFFT) member Dr Andrew Langridge took to the podium and welcomed everyone to the event, in a long speech about the film festival’s success, the 40 year tenure of festival curator/director Bill Gosden, as well thanking ALL the sponsors (it was a very long speech).

Here are a few entries in the 51st programme (18 July to 4 August 2019) that I am interested to see:

Long Day’s Journey into Night (2018) Di qiu zui hou de ye wan / Directed by Bi Gan

Part film noir, part dreamscape, this oneiric love mystery – acclaimed for its hour-long 3D sequence shot in a mesmerising unbroken take – intoxicatingly captures romantic obsession in southern China.

La Belle Époque (2019) Directed by Nicolas Bedos

A 21st century riff on second chances at first love, La Belle Époque takes a giant conceit – an agency can grant you the chance to play the lead role in any point in history, with full cast and costume on an authentic set – and focuses on a sad, aging cartoonist (Daniel Auteuil, in a late career peak) who’s feuding with his VR-obsessed wife (Fanny Ardant, equally terrific). Instead of drinking with Hemingway or fighting Nazis, he chooses to return to the happiest day of his life: 40 years prior, when a beautiful woman walked into a cafe…

High Life (2018) Directed by Claire Denis

A forbidding spaceship carrying death row inmates hurtles towards oblivion in Claire Denis’s long-awaited, intensely hypnotic sci-fi opus.

Children of the Sea (2019) Kaijou no kodomo / Directed by Watanabe Ayumu

With an enchanting attention to oceanic detail and the mysteries of the deep blue sea, this blissfully moody anime follows the journey of a teenage girl spirited away on a fantastic aquatic adventure.

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock Live Cinema

Celebrate Alfred Hitchcock’s 120th birthday with “the first true Hitchcock movie,” an atmospheric thriller set in the London fog. Accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra performing Neil Brand’s brilliant new score, conducted by Peter Scholes.

Stuffed (2019) Directed by Erin Derham

A fully rounded, elegantly observed documentary on the world of taxidermy, its dedicated practitioners and their empathy for the animals whose lives and beauty they lovingly preserve.

Escher: Journey into Infinity (2018) Escher: Het oneindige zoeken / Directed by Robin Lutz

This vivid portrait explores M.C. Escher’s life and imaginative world through his own words and visions. Narrated by Stephen Fry.

The Art of Self-Defense (2019) Directed by Riley Stearns

After a brutal mugging, a man takes up karate to better defend himself but soon falls under the spell of the dojo’s enigmatic leader.

We Are Little Zombies (2019) Directed by Nagahisa Makoto

Four teenage orphans form a kick-ass band to express their emotions and end up taking the world by storm in this visually dazzling triumph from first time director Nagahisa Makoto.

Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (2019) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Welcome back to the jungle with Brando, Duvall, Fishburne and Hopper for Francis Ford Coppola’s final – and finest – version of the ultimate Vietnam War epic.

Ruben Brandt, Collector (2018) Ruben Brandt, a gyűjtő / Directed by Milorad Krstić

Boasting batshit surreal imagery, fist-pumping action sequences and a wall-to-wall shrine of art and cinema references, Ruben Brandt, Collector is a new milestone for animated invention.

The Wild Goose Lake (2019) Nan fang che zhan de ju hui / Directed by Diao Yinan

Gangland subterfuge tumbles into a dazzling nocturnal manhunt in Chinese director Diao Yinan’s film noir par excellence – a modern genre classic in the making.

Regarding the 2019 poster artwork; the posters (in the poster?) featured on the wall are from past NZIFFs. The one with the elephant is from 1994, a programme which I happened to have held onto like a proud hoarder/stolen from my dad’s belongings when I was little. Incredibly different time for cinema compared to today’s offerings.

~ by Fionnlagh on July 19, 2019.

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