Jun 252015


To help you with your selections, or possibly make it harder, we’ve listed our picks for your 10 trip pass. These are films we haven’t seen but would be seeing if we were lucky enough to be going. We’ll live vicariously through all of you I guess….*cries*. Seeing more than 10? We’ve also listed every film in the programme we have seen and can recommend. We’ve even linked to our reviews.

We’re going to assume that Opening Night is a given and take that straight out of your 10 pass. Direct from Cannes, THE LOBSTER is Greek New Wave director Yorgos Lanthimos’ English language début. Soak up the opening night buzz and be one of the first to see this film.

Our picks and recommendations for the rest of your fest are after the jump.

Fill your 10 Pass – 10 films we would see at NZIFF 


45 YEARS (Andrew Haigh) – UK

Haigh’s début feature WEEKEND was a devastatingly beautiful portrait of lust and surprisingly deep look at a 2 day relationship. With 45 YEARS Haigh has gone to the other end of the relationship scale, this time examining the relationship of a couple about to celebrate 45 years together. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay were both awarded top acting honours at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival.

DEATHGASM (Jason Lei Howden) – New Zealand

This played at the recent Sydney Film Festival, and everyone we spoke to about it told us how much fun it was.
When two metalheads find an unreleased song from their death metal idol, they literally open the gates of hell. Turns out playing the song turns everyone who hears it into crazy demonic zombies…
New Zealand is becoming quite the producer of comedy-horror films, and by all accounts this is up there with the best of them. DEATHGASM the type of film you want to see with an enthusiastic festival crowd.

THE END OF THE TOUR (James Ponsoldt) – USA

James Ponsoldt’s SMASHED (which he both wrote and directed)is one of the best films about the experience of middle class alcoholism. His writing and directing demonstrate his strength in both character development, and in portraying the depths and complexities of complicated relationships. With THE END OF THE TOUR we have an obsessed journalist, an author, and a book tour that brings them together. Jason Segal and Jesse Eisenberg star alongside a star-packed ensemble. The always wonderful Danny Elfman is behind the score. This is a film we have been looking forward to for some time.


LANDFILL HARMONIC (Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley) – USA

LANDFILL HARMONIC won the audience award (24 Beats Per Second) at the 2015 SXSW film Festival. Set in an extremely poor community in Paraguay, the film is about an ingenious music teacher who salvages scraps from the rubbish dumps to help bring music to the children. Filmed over 5 years the film follows the children as they grow in confidence and begin to perform, first on a locally and then internationally. This document sounds like a straight to the gut, heart-swelling sorta of film. What’s a film festival without a least one or two of those?

LOVE 3D (Gaspar Noé) – France/Belgium

So 50% of you will go to this because it’s a Noé film; 30% will go based on the title; and the rest of you will go for the money shot in 3D. Don’t pretend you don’t want to see that. LOVE  is a poem about sex. An exploration, an odyssey, a blunt examination of sexual experiences. This quote from Robbie Collins sums up why we’re interested in the film.

Gaspar Noé may be the only director in history who could make a two-and-a-quarter-hours-long pornographic film in 3D and then have it legitimately described as his least offensive picture to date

MIA MADRE (Nanni Moretti) – France/Italy

MIA MADRE competed in the official competition at Cannes this year. The director, Nanni Moretti won the top prize at Cannes 14 years earlier, with the rather devastating, THE SON’S ROOM. While this is another story which deals with complex family relationships and illness, MIA MADRE is said to have more of a comedic, playful tone. American actor John Turturro has received much praise for his witty and nuanced performance.


PERVERT PARK (Frida Barkfors, Lasse Barkfors) – Denmark/Sweden/USA

Sex Offenders are hardly the type of people we want to think about or spend anytime with whatsoever, but this film forces us to do exactly that. PERVERT PARK has been on our radar since it played at the Toronto-based Hot Docs film festival, and was favourable reviewed by Toronto-based writer, Ryan McNeil. From his review:

The film’s very existence achieves something profound: it puts us in the room with a convicted sex offender. It ties us to the chair and makes us listen to them. People who we wouldn’t give the time of day to if they asked- people we’d cross the street to avoid – are staring us in the eye and telling us their stories. It might be a story about how their day has been, or it might be a story about what they’ve been through in their lives. No matter what the story is, the film makes us listen, and in that the film gives these people something so few of us are willing to give them: a voice.

RAMS (Grímur Hákonarson) – Denmark/Iceland

Reading the synopsis for RAMS, we couldn’t help but be reminded by the wonderful Icelandic comedy, OF HORSES AND MEN. While this film focuses on the relationship between two men (rather than between men and horses), it contains very distinctive Icelandic comedic sensibilities and the use of wonderful visual humour. The cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen was also the cinematographer of the incredible single-take film VICTORIA, which is also playing at the festival. RAMS was the winner of the Un Certain Regard Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED (Gillian Armstrong) – Australia

It’s not a film festival without seeing at least one film about film/the film industry, and WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED looks to be an excellent documentary to tick that box. The film is about Orry George Kelly (1897–1964), Hollywood costume designer from a small town in costal New South Wales. He arrived in LA in 1932, where he soon established himself as someone the big names wanted to work with. Bogart, Monroe, Davis, and Bergman – he dressed them all. This documentary was very well received at the recent Sydney Film Festival.

The 10th film is the aforementioned, THE LOBSTER. Looking forward to hearing what you all think of it!


Below is a list of all of the films playing at NZIFF that we have seen and can recommend. The starred titles are films that we highly recommend. Click on the film title to go to our review

99 Holmes
Arabian Nights Vol 1, 2 & 3
Banksy Does New York
*Beats of the Antonov*
Black Souls
*Cartel Land*
Cemetery of Splendor
*Clouds of Sils Maria*
The Club
*Coming Home*
Diary of a Teenage Girl
The Duke of Burgundy
Ex Machina
*A Girl Walks At Home Alone at Night*
*Going Clear: The Prison of Belief*
*Inherent Vice*
*The Look of Silence*
*A Most Violent Year*
Only the Dead
Our Little Sister
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
*The Russian Woodpecker*
Seymour: An Introduction
*Song of the Sea*
*Tehran Taxi*
*Welcome to Leith*
When Marnie was There
*While We’re Young*

For reviews of even more festival titles, just search for the film in our search bar. There’s a good chance we’ve written about it at some time.

Have an amazing festival New Zealand!