By JENNIFER CHEUK
The 2018 New Zealand International Film Fest is back with another handful of amazing films to delve into! Ranging from poignant, to downright weird, there certainly is something for everyone in this year’s fest. It really is overwhelming to go through the list of movies- there are so many it’s hard to know where to start. So, in the hopes to make things a little easier, I’ve compiled the 12 films, I reckon, you should look out for!
Stray dir. Dustin Fenley
This quiet, contemplative kiwi film is certainly something to see. The film follows two lonely strangers as they both try to reconcile with their own past. Set against the backdrop of the Southern Alps, this film is a really beautiful and introspective look into humanity. Super keen for this NZ film!
ANIMATION NOW! Showcase
I have been to the animation showcases for as long as I can remember and I will always recommend these to everyone. ANIMATION NOW! celebrates the growing community of animators through six one hour programmes. Each programme consists of multiple 2-5 minute short animations that can range from sentimental, to creepy, to completely weird! Take a plunge into the crazy world of animation with ANIMATION NOW!
The Miseducation of Cameron Post dir. Desiree Akhavan
Winner of the Grand Jury Selection at Sundance, this film follows the heartbreaking story of a queer teen who has been forced to a gay conversion camp in the 1990s. With performances from Chloe Grace Moretz, Forrest Goodluck and Sasha Lane, this film has been described as “nuanced” and “haunting”.
We the Animals dir. Jeremy Zagar
An honest exploration of a Puerto Rican family struggling in New York. Told from the perspective of the youngest son, this film captures a child’s experience as he tries to “piece things together on his own”. A beautiful montage of enchanting shots bound together by a child’s imagination. I am really excited for this one!
Woman at War dir. Benedikt Erlingsson
“Is there anything rarer than an intelligent feel-good film that knows how to tackle urgent global issues with humor as well as a satisfying sense of justice?” This absurdist Icelandic film follows the farcical life of Halla, who does everything from Tai Chi to crossbow shooting. But suddenly, she must tackle the struggles of foster motherhood, having adopted a Ukrainian orphan four years earlier.
Wildlife dir. Paul Dano
Little miss Sunshine and Swiss Army Man’s Paul Dano has made a directorial debut with this film. Turning to more a serious and contemplative subject, Wildlife explores ideas of domesticity and sexism in the 1960s. It follows a young wife as she tries shatter the societal constraints of the time. It is regarded as an “unsparing portrait that’s harsh and humane in equal measure”.
She Shears dir. Jack Nicol
Miss Conception Films, a company focusing on female lead stories and getting the female voice out there, has presented the NZIFF with She Shears: A documentary profiling the lives of five female sheep shearers. From competitive shearers to enterprising wool sorters, this film really showcases the strength, skills and determination of our female sheep shearers.
An Elephant Sitting Still dir. Hu Bo
A deeply touching film composed of cinematic vignettes. An Elephant Sitting Still is a montage of interconnected stories that explores larger themes of China’s own political problems. Beautifully atmospheric and unforgettable, this debut film won Best First Feature at the Berlin Film Festival.
Border dir. Ali Abassi
An unnerving and twisted thriller that plays with an odd blend of crime, mythology and love. Customs Officer, Tina, is out-casted due to her unusual appearance: “stout and ruddy with a puffed up face and pronounced overbite”. However, Tina falls into a dark and obsessive search when she glimpses a mysterious man with similar appearances to herself. Beneath this twisted thriller is a story about two people who are disregarded by the rest of the world. Abassi makes a confrontational and sincere commentary on the state of our society.
Orlando dir. Sally Potter
This lavish 90s adaption of Virginia Woolf’s novel has Tilda Swinton “striding through four centuries of history, switching genders as she goes”. Need I say more?
The NZIFF shows from 19th July until August 12th. Click here (https://www.nziff.co.nz/2018/auckland/ ) for more information!
English/Communications and Linguistics major with a passion for graphic novels and sophisticated picture books. She likes eating grated cheese and watching niche films. Can be found cartooning and writing on instagram: @selcouthbird.
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