NZIFF Christchurch 2015 shapes up as the biggest ever
The Christchurch programme of the New Zealand International Film Festival has been launched, and as usual the 17-day schedule (7 – 23 August) is packed with almost distressingly high levels of intriguing and flat-out entertaining cinema – this year is the biggest Christchurch programme ever. Many of this year's films will be shown in the glam surroundings of the Isaac Theatre Royal, too, which is now packing shiny new digital projection equipment for the specific purpose of becoming the festival's new home. If you’re a cinemaphile you’ve probably already got major FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) already, so reduce those anxieties by getting hold of a festival programme or hit the web and getting organised – many films show in just one session, and you need to be onto those tickets. These go on sale on Friday the 17th of July, so be ready!
Cityscape has sized up the programme and there’s plenty of stuff we’re keen on – it’s tough to narrow it down! – but here’s our top 12 picks for 2015:
The Lobster Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in this bizarre comedy with a left-field premise; in an alternative world, single people have 45 days to pair off or face being transformed into the animal of their choice.
The Assassin Earning Taiwanese director Hou Hsaio-hsien a gong at Cannes, this gorgeous martial arts / historical epic, inspired by 9th century Chinese fiction, recreates Imperial China in extravagant fashion.
The Art of Recovery A lively documentary that celebrates the explosion of murals, street art and invention that has sprung up via community spirit in Central Christchurch since the quakes.
The Kid The Charlie Chaplin classic is accompanied live by the CSO, playing the score for the 1921 film that Chaplin himself composed 50 years later.
Inherent Vice Thomas Pynchon’s rambling “beach noir” novel is adapted to the screen, featuring a pitch-perfect performance by Joaquin Phoenix as shaggy, woozy P.I. Doc Sportello.
Deathgasm The latest in the long, proud line of Kiwi horror-comedies tearing it up overseas sees a metal fan in small town New Zealand having to deal with an apocalypse he unwittingly unleashes.
Ex Machina An intelligent and thought-provoking directorial debut from screenwriter Alex Garland, this sci-fi film looks at what it means to be human.
The Tribe Critics are tripping over themselves to heap praise on this Ukrainian film set amidst a gang of teenagers at a school for the deaf – the only dialogue is sign language (no subtitles!).
The Wolfpack The Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance is an examination of the bizarrely sheltered lives of six brothers raised by their father inside a small Lower East Side apartment and interacting with the outside world only through movies.
Iris A documentary following the history and life of unlikely style icon Iris Apfel, who still boasts her own inimitable style and hilariously headstrong attitude to life at the age of 93.
Our Little Sister A lovingly crafted, small-scale family drama following three Japanese sisters in their 20s who meet their half-sister for the first time at their estranged father’s funeral.
Saint Laurent The second biopic of the fashion icon in the same year, this “unauthorised” version delves more into the excesses, influences and demons for an insider’s look at the world of fashion.
Many of these will sell out fast, so get in quick! Ticketing and full programme details are available at www.nziff.co.nz/2015/christchurch/.