03 July 2018

Film Festival 2018 lineup

Another year, another 20 films to savour in this highly promising 2018 Film Festival programme, which begins screening in Wellington on 27 July. Of this brief selection I'm most excited about the two Kore-eda dramas from Japan and the three films set in Iceland. It will also be a real treat to see 4K restorations of Monterey Pop and Wings of Desire on the big screen. Now the only thing to do is avoid all spoilers and trailers until the end of July, and gird myself for the inevitable wrangles with the opening-day ticket booking system!

In the Aisles (dir. Thomas Stuber, Germany, 2018)
In den Gängen
Night-stackers in a German supermarket find their own place and even a little love in an uncaring world.

Monterey Pop (dir. D.A. Pennebaker, USA, 1968)
4K restored pop gorgeousness, including astonishing performances from The Who, Jimi Hendrix and the soul colossus Otis Redding.

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable (dir. Sasha Waters Freyer, USA, 2018)
Biography of the self-destructive genius photographer who died in 1984 and helped to define the photographic style of a generation.

Leave No Trace (dir. Debra Granik, USA, 2018)
Compelling drama depicting a father and daughter whose off-grid life is disrupted by authorities, and how they face the challenges of conventional society; featuring a breakthrough performance by young NZ actor Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (dir. Alexandra Dean, USA, 2017)
The multiple lives of cinema sex symbol and brilliant mechanical inventor Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000).

And Breathe Normally (dir. Isold Uggadottir, Iceland, 2018)
Andið eðlilega
A single mum retrains as a border guard and crosses paths with a refugee from Guinea-Bissau.

Three Identical Strangers (dir. Tim Wardle, USA, 2018)
Identical triplets separated and raised by different families discover more than they bargained about their heritage. (This is one I'm definitely not watching the trailer for or reading anything about in advance!)

Beirut (dir. Brad Anderson, USA, 2018)
Jon Hamm stars as a jaded ex-diplomat who returns to Beirut in 1982 to negotiate the release of a friend taken hostage.

The King (dir. Eugene Jarecki, USA, 2017)
Driving the backroads of America in Elvis' old '63 Rolls-Royce Phantom V, listening to musicians describe in words and song what Elvis and America means to them.

Shoplifters (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2018)
Manbiki kazoku
Always a thrill to see another of Kore-eda's lovingly crafted, profoundly humanist family Japanese dramas. This one's about the struggling Shibata family, who adopt and care for an abused child. Won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

Stray (dir. Dustin Feneley, NZ, 2018)
A loner in self-imposed exile in Central Otago encounters a mysterious woman in a dramatic, sumptuously-shot landscape.

Arctic (dir. Joe Penna, Iceland, 2018)
Mads Mikkelsen's plane crashes in Iceland. 'Nuff said.

First Reformed (dir. Paul Schrader, USA, 2017)
Ethan Hawke as a small-town minister whose ebbing faith is tested by his circumstances and the spiralling decline of America (I think).

Woman at War (dir. Benedikt Erlingsson, Iceland, 2018)
Kona fer í stríð
Middle-aged environmental activist Halla makes her own rules in this Icelandic drama.

The Third Murder (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2017)
Sandome no satsujin
Another Kore-eda film! This one's a steely courtroom drama uses a murder trial as a vehicle for examining Japanese society.

Filmworker (dir. Tony Zierra, USA, 2017)
Biopic of English actor and Stanley Kubrick's personal assistant, Leon Vitali (b.1948).

Wings of Desire (dir. Wim Wenders, West Germany, 1987)
Der Himmel über Berlin
For many years my favourite film ever made. Here's what I wrote about it back in 2012.

Juliet, Naked (dir. Jesse Peretz, USA, 2018)
A woman's frustration with her partner's musical obsession, the lost rocker Tucker Crowe, comes to a head in this adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel.

Burning (dir. Lee Chang-dong, South Korea, 2018)
Beoning
A mysterious love triangle based on a Haruki Murakami short story, which wowed the critics at Cannes. 

Cold War (dir. Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland, 2018)
Zimna wojna
A doomed Eastern Bloc Cold War romance tells the musical and political story of the times.
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