With the New Zealand International Film Festival starting at the end of the month, 29 August, it’s time to grab a brochure and work out your must see list. From action-packed thrillers to exquisitely intimate stories - there’s something to suit every taste.
I’m really looking forward to watching the opening film “La Belle Epoque” which pivots around an unusual way of having a second chance at love. Described as a “crowd-pleaser”, this film looks charming and engrossing in equal measures.
If you love fashion films, and who wouldn’t after last years “Yellow Is Forbidden”, there are two strong fashion based films in this year’s line-up. “Halston” explores the rise and fall of American fashion legend Roy Halston Frowick. The designer responsible for Jackie Kennedy’s famous pill box hat and the toast of the country makes one decision that brings his empire crashing down. While “Celebration: Yves Saint Laurent” gives an insight into the designer behind the famous name.
Continuing on the theme of fabric “Walk on Water” follows artist Christo as he creates a giant fabric walkway across an Italian lake. There are plenty of logistical and bureaucratic challenges to surmount along with many feisty exchanges between the artist and his assistant (his nephew). This is definitely one I won’t miss.
Some more traditional artists are also featured. “Peter Peryer: The Art of Seeing” is a documentary work that explores, critiques and celebrates the work of one of New Zealand’s most important photographic artists. English artist L.S. Lowry’s life, early work and relationship with his mother are explored in a film where Timothy Spall and Vanessa Redgrave give compelling performances.
The only animated film in the line-up “Ruben Brandt, Collector” centres on the story of a man haunted by paintings of famous artists, which he subsequently sets out to steal. This film, described as an “art heist thriller”, looks like it will take viewers on an incredible roller-coaster ride.
There’s plenty of local flavour - “For My Father’s Kingdom” documents Saia Mafile’o and his traditional way of being and unfailing love for his country, Taonga. A trip to Taonga finally allows Saia’s children to truly understand his ways and bridge the generational and cultural gap. Of course “New Zealand’s Best 2019” and “Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2019” are there showcasing a rich variety of short features. “Helen Kelly – Together” looks at the life and legacy of social justice advocate and fighter Helen Kelly. From unions to Pike River, Kelly has stepped in to help others and fight for their rights, leaving behind a huge legacy and generosity of spirit. Something with an element of Hawke’s Bay is “A Seat at the Table” where New Zealand wine makers try to make it on the global stage and rival the ‘big boys’ for a place at the top of the game.
There are many other styles and genre and I’ve yet to even mention some of my absolute top picks so my real problem now is, how am I going to squeeze all the films I want to see into my schedule.
15 August 2019
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