NZIFF: Ten Films I Eagerly Anticipate

The New Zealand International Film Festival is consistently one of my annual highlights (except when I’m broke). Coming soon this July!

Here is a list of the ten films I look forward to the most (in some particular order):

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1. Boyhood
Dir. Richard Linklater
This film is the one I’ve been anticipating long before it had even finished shooting. This 164-minute film shot over the course of 12 years has the makings of what may be Linklater’s opus. It has a lot of expectations to live up to, but my fingers are optimistically crossed.

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2. Winter Sleep
Dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Described as Bergman meets Chekhov, and winner of the Palme d’Or this year at Cannes. I don’t even care what the plot details are.


3. Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
Dir. Sion Sono
The film about filmmaking is a rite of passage for nearly all great directors. And Sion Sono is certainly a great filmmaker, albeit rough as guts.

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4. Beauty and the Beast
Dir. Jean Cocteau
This has been on my to-watch list since forever. Now’s the perfect opportunity for me to see it on the big screen, baby!

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5. Under the Skin
Dir. Jonathan Glazer
Birth is one of my favorite films by one of the least prolific directors I can think of. This third feature has been a long time coming but I am definitely excited for it. Scarlett Johansenn playing a sexy alien. What more do you need to know?

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6. Jodorowsky’s Dune
Dir. Frank Pavich
I’ve never read Dune, but I’ve always been interested in the legacy surrounding it and the legacy surrounding the films of it – or, more specifically, the film that never came to be. Oh, and Jodorowsky is one awesome dude too.

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7. It Follows
Dir. Robert Mitchell
Sex and death are two of my favourite topics. So, a horror film that explores sexual anxiety through a metaphysical STI seems like the perfect treat for me.

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8. Two Days, One Night
Dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
The Dardenne brothers are always welcome.

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9. Love Is Strange
Dir. Ira Sachs
What romantic pairing could be more peculiar than Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor? Why John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, of course!
I actually wasn’t the biggest fan of Ira Sachs previous film, Keep the Lights On, but it had its virtues and I think the  casting is too good to pass up.

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10. At Berkeley
Dir. Frederick Wiseman
When I first heard about this film I was intrigued. When I found out its running time (244-minutes) I was ambivalent. But, as a young person who never had a formal university education, the basic idea of capturing a year at UC Berkeley fills me with too much curiousity. Maybe I hope to live vicariously through these students – to find out what I missed.

Honourable Mentions:
52 Tuesdays, Housebound, Map to the Stars, Lilting, The Reunion, Pulp, Everything We Love, Our Sunhi, Hard to be a God, We Are the Best!

Lydia Davis Project: Visit to Her Husband

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘Visit to Her Husband’)

Speech so sudden and
Sullen from the mouths of
Both him and her.

They once shared love.
Now they share unfulfilled
Discussion after discussion,
Incomplete and insincere.

This final conversations finds
Itself interrupted by overlapping
Indecisions and reversed by
Faltering revisions.

Now with this marriage
Finally over, maybe
They can start all
Over again.

Lydia Davis Project: In a House Besieged

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘In a House Besieged’)

Man and woman
Live amidst terrors
Such as war and weather.
They are certain
Of these few things.

Long ago
Both decided
The only safety
Was between
Four walls.

Their lives – so
Boxed up and
Closed off to
The world. Afraid
Of it all.