What to watch at the New Zealand International Film Festival

Our top eight picks for when the New Zealand International Film Festival comes to your town.
What to watch at the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) 2017

As well as the season of snug boots and mulled-wine, winter is the perfect time to sit down and enjoy a good movie.

Fortuitously, the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has just released it’s full line-up of films coming to a cinema near you.

From fashion feasts for the eyes, drop-dead gorgeous design and enchanting tales from around the world – these are our top eight picks on what to watch this year.

Bring on the popcorn.

1. The Beguiled

We have been waiting for Sofia Coppola’s mesmerising take on The Beguiled novel ever since she took out the top prize of Best Director for her work on the film at the renowned Cannes Film Festival this year.

With a bevy of brilliant women behind her, including stars Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, Civil-War era costumes, an enchanting set, and Coppola’s signature, dreamy style it’s our pick of the festival.

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2. The Paris Opera

This film pulls back the curtain on one of the world’s great performing arts venues, the Opéra National de Paris, and the artistic collaborations at its heart.

Can the production designer safely get an over 500kg live bull onstage during a performance, will a new bass-baritone hold himself together and how far can ticket prices be lowered to combat the perceived elitism of the opera?

A sense of barely contained chaos descends as question after question is answered throughout one season.

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3. Dries

Belgian designer Dries Van Noten gets the full fashion documentary treatment in this intimate portrait, with all the requisite fashion film fixtures on show; gorgeous clothes, stunning models and plenty of sartorial drama.

Dries provides a peek at the celebrated designer’s creative process as he and his team prepare four new collections.

Although the new collections are the film’s focus, the documentary is also a chance to revisit Van Noten’s past through archival footage.

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4. Big Time

Bjarke Ingels is a big thinker.

He’s been profiled by Vogue as the most in-demand architect in the world, but his firm Big takes on only the most interesting, and challenging projects, including a ski-slope on an apartment building’s roof and transport stations for some of Elon Musk’s space travel designs.

This film follows Ingels on-and-off over several years to tell the story of one of the most influential designers of our time and the pressure he faces.

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5. 20th Century Women

Annette Bening charms as a single mother in this sun-drenched Santa Barabara memoir set in 1979.

The film is full of colour and music but the real beauty is in it’s nuanced look at family life.

It’s enjoyably nostalgic but doesn’t shy from the issues 20th century women face.

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6. Kobi

Widely regarded as the grandfather of contemporary New Zealand jewellery, Kobi Bosshard, opens up about his life and work in Central Otago, New Zealand.

The heart-warming tale is made even more intimate for the fact that Bosshard’s daughter Andrea is the filmmaker.

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7. Lady Macbeth

With the state of American politics, 2017 has become the year of women’s protest.

Lady Macbeth is the latest in a slew of beautiful if not marginally disturbing, evocative stories that show a woman’s power to overcome her confines.

Although there is murder and revenge involved as in Shakespeare’s classic Macbeth, this film actually takes from a Russian novella of the same name, where a woman kept hostage in her own home struggles to break free.

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8. My Year With Helen

Last year was a big one for Helen Clark. Her highly publicised bid for the top job at the UN Nations fell short but we only saw half the picture from the newspapers.

Moving between Clark, official UN briefings and clued-up commentators we see many more angles to this story, including potential corruption in the hiring processes.

But what will Helen do next?

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