New Zealand International Film Festival - our top six picks of the 'flicks'.
It's wet, cold and winter. So what better time to enjoy the NZ International Film Festival screening at Auckland's Civic, Rialto or ASB Waterfront theatres. Transport yourself to balmy climates, exotic cities and the languages of the world over a fortnight of film. Enjoy a slice of New Zealand-made too with the cream of local documentaries featuring our real-life stories.
We've poured over the programme and selected our top six flicks keeping in mind the interests of both Aucklanders and visitors.
Anyone who's raised boys in New Zealand over the last decade will recall Celia Lashlie's book 'He'll be ok", full of no-nonsense advice to 'back off the bridge' particularly mothers of teens. This documentary follows Celia, a passionate advocate for equal opportunity, in the final year of her life after a terminal cancer diagnosis in 2014. Her death came much sooner than anticipated while she was still busy leading a domestic violence camp. We imagine the audience will be full of grateful Auckland parents paying tribute to this incredible New Zealander.
2. The Heart Dances - the journey of The Piano - the ballet
This follows the adaptation of Jane Campion's award-winning movie The Piano into a Royal New Zealand Ballet performance designed by Czech choreographers. It was not all smooth sailing for these stars of the European dance-world who encountered cultural difficulties four weeks out from the opening night in NZ. Looking forward to fly-on-the-wall tension, creative frustration and flying tutus here.
Hollywood stars Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz feature in this forbidden love triangle set in London's Jewish Orthodox community. Expect this highly nuanced and well-acted drama to pop up in mainstream cinema after the festival concludes (if the trailer is anything to go by).
4. Juliet Naked
For anyone who loves the sound of a rock star obsessed romcom, look no further (that's us). Juliet Naked's talented ensemble includes Rose Byrne (the long-suffering girlfriend), Chris O'Dowd (the obsessed fan) and the brilliant Ethan Hawke as the faded rock star. Includes an awesome toe-tapping soundtrack to boot.
We just can't believe the star power in some of these sleeper films. Carey Mulligan, the reviewer states, has never been more excellent than in this movie about a disintegrating marriage set in small-town 1950's Montana. Add to this, the wattage of Jake Gyllenhal alongside and this baby is sure to burn up the big screen. Wowzer!
6. Three Identical Strangers
Two university students meet by co-incidence in America. That's not strange but their similar appearance is. Separated at birth and then randomly reunited 19 years later, the brothers' reunion makes headline news. Only to attract the attention of another 19 year old. Their third sibling. Apparently what unfolds later is even more bizarre so that's a good enough hook for us. What family story could get weirder than triplets who find each other? This is one of the Festival reviewer's top picks.
If we were to sneak in a seventh film over the fortnight it would be the Chelsea Winstanley-produced 'Merata: How Mum decolonised the Screen', a son's tribute to Maori filmmaker and activist Merata Mita who died suddenly in 2010.
Check out the full Auckland Film Festival programme here.
As Auckland storytellers on foot, we love revealing the legends (and top movies) which have shaped our Kiwi culture. Check out our city walking tours here as every day on tour is a theatre of the streets!