Jun 282014


So you’re in the Wellington region and you’ve bought yourself a couple of 10 Trip Passes for the New Zealand International Film Festival. The sheer number of incredible films on offer can be a little daunting and that’s where I hope to help. I’ve put together a 17 Film Programme (without clashes) which I think offers a little bit of everything good at the festival. That’s a film per day of the fest with 3 spare tickets from your two passes to play with. I’ve also provided a list of everything that I have seen and can recommend. Films I have reviewed are underlined and linked to. I hope it helps! Check out my recommendations and your curated 17 film programme after the jump.

So here it is Wellington – my film festival programme just for you. I’m assuming that you either have a car or can navigate public transport and can maybe sneak away from work early one day – surely no one will notice?

Wellington NZIFF Schedule

This schedule is comprised of films I’ve enjoyed, films I want to see and films which were rather unique viewing experiences. For example – I can’t say I loved Under the Skin, but I have never seen anything quite like it.  The creepy music and weird story gave me the chills. It’s really one of those “you have to experience it for yourself” films. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is an absolutely incredible documentary and one of the best films I saw at Sydney Film Festival. As a life-long Studio Ghibli fan I found it so moving. It will also appeal to everyone with even a passing interest in animation and how an animated film is put together. Enemy is a film I am absolutely dying to see but haven’t had the chance. Director Denis Villeneuve and actor Jake Gyllenhaal worked together on Prisoners which was one of the best films of 2013. Enemy sees them re-team for a creepy doppelganger thriller. It’s not getting a cinema release in Australia, so I’m utterly jealous that you Wellington lovelies get the chance to see it on the big screen. Speaking about doppelgangers, I had to put Richard Ayode’s The Double on the schedule. This film is one of the most beautifully crafted, expertly produced films I have seen in some time. The set is absolutely gorgeous and the story is thrilling and bizarre.

The Skeleton Twins is a perfect way to start off a festival. It’s kooky and fun with a whole lot of heart. It also contains one of my favourite scenes this year. I won’t spoil and say what it is, but I guarantee it will have you grinning. I’ve thrown in a couple of local horrors,  Housebound from New Zealand and The Babadook from Australia. I’m not a huge horror fan myself (I’m a giant chicken) but I have heard nothing but great things about both of these films. Get a scare and support local cinema – it’s a win, win! Boyhood is one of those films that defies belief. I just can’t comprehend the logistics of making a film over 12 years and keeping the same core cast involved. Watching a set of people pass 12 years of their lives in the span of 2 and a half hours is an incredibly humbling experience. Finally I want to mention Jodorowsky’s Dune, a documentary about experimental filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed project to adapt the science-fiction novel Dune to the big screen. I haven’t read Dune and I knew little about the project, but that didn’t stop this from being one of the most interesting and hilarious documentaries I’ve seen in some time.  Jodowosky is a natural story-teller and this is one hell of a story. A must see for film and sciene-fiction nerds alike.

Below I have listed all the films from the programme and  I have seen and can recommend. Films which are reviewed (a mix of full and short reviews , some on Letterboxd) are underlined and linked to. I’ll update the links as I catch up with my reviews, so check back or let me know if there’s anything on the list I haven’t reviewed that you’d like me to.

 Recommended viewing

At Berkeley
The Double
Fish & Cat
The Great Museum
Human Capital
In Order of Disappearance
Jodorowsky’s Dune
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Love is Strange
The Lunchbox
National Gallery
Night Moves
The Skeleton Twins
Starred Up
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Two Days, One Night
Winter Sleep

Enjoy the fest Wellington!

By Sam McCosh