What to Watch at NZIFF 2015

By Jacob Powell / Brannavan Gnanalingam / Doug Dillaman

First week highlights including Western, Tehran Taxi, The Lobster, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Tangerine; Asif Kapadia’s devastating Amy; Christian Petzold’s marvellous Phoenix; plus the dramatic and documentary revelations you may have overlooked at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival.

In Conversation

By Brannavan Gnanalingam

At the New Zealand International Film Festival, new interviews with producer Zhao Qi (The Chinese Mayor), Jason Lei Howden (Deathgasm), and Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa).

A Melbourne International Film Festival sampler

By Jihee Junn

Four key documentaries at the MIFF 2015: Fassbinder: To Love Without DemandsThose Who Feel the Fire BurningMy Love, Don’t Cross That River, and She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.

Out of the Mist

A new essay film by Tim Wong

Screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival in July and August: Tim Wong’s elegantly assembled and illustrated alternate history of New Zealand Cinema, narrated by Eleanor Catton.

Land of the Long White Stain

A new essay film by Claire Duncan

Claire Duncan (i.e. crazy, Dear Time’s Waste) follows her musical comrades on a tour of New Zealand in this contemplative ode to a brood of genre-bending Auckland musicians, among them Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing, Seth Frightening, and Shab Orkestra.

Features & Reviews—Recent and Popular

Against Efficiency and other texts
How does one look at an artwork efficiently? In this special publication, Blue Oyster Summer Writing Resident MATILDA FRASER expands, rethinks, and inverts the question “is criticism still relevant?
Boyhood as a form of haiku
SARAH PENWARDEN embarks on a closer reading of the passage—and pausing—of time in Richard Linklater’s epic 12 year odyssey of growing up.
John Stewart Directs
ALEXANDER BISLEY interviews The Daily Show host, discussing condescending to young people, leather, absurd comedy, and directing Rosewater.
I, Clodia and Other Portraits
Anna Jackson on poetry, portraiture, and mourning a Dorking.
The long, friendly shadow of My Neighbor Totoro
On the lineage and legacy of Hayao Miyazaki’s most enduring film.
The Best of Film in 2014
Thoughts on how (and how not) to be a cinephile in New Zealand, plus the cinematic year as remembered by our editors and contributors.
Ida and Interstellar
MOHAMED ATIF SLIM on the pictorial beauty of Pawel Pawlikowski’s formally brilliant film; plus, Christopher Nolan’s introspection on fatherhood.
A Birthday Lecture
LANA DOYLE’s account of the fifth annual Birthday Lecture of the Katherine Mansfield Society at the Keynes Library, 46 Gordon Square, London.
BOT OR NOT: An interview with Oscar Schwartz
A conversation with the Melbourne-based poet and researcher on robot poetry and what humans can learn from computers.
Facing the Music
Ian Jorgensen (Blink), trailblazing founder of A Low Hum and Puppies, on music as a commodity, the death of live music, mainstream media, and the problem with APRA.
Bogart and beyond
ALEXANDER BISLEY interviews film culture tsar Adrian Wootton on Humphrey Bogart, Patricia Highsmith, John le Carré, and Katharine Hepburn.
Championing The Stranger and The Lady from Shanghai
Two Orson Welles films still vital and almost joyful in their imposed messiness.
Contemplating National Gallery and PRISMISM
The parallel spaces of Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery documentary and Auckland artist Emil McAvoy’s first exhibition of paintings.
The Fiddler and the Arborist
JOAN FLEMING interviews American expat poets Steven Toussaint and Lee Posna.
Frederick Wiseman, Florian Habicht + others
BRANNAVAN GNANALINGAM leads a series of conversations with local and international filmmakers at the New Zealand International Film Festival.
Conversations: The Tone of Things
Talking Jake the movie, scriptwriting as a means to an end, collaboration vs. authorship, and finding the right tone with DOUG DILLAMAN.
FEMEN and Me
Ukraine is Not a Brothel director Kitty Green tells LAURA SUZUKI about befriending the founders of the radical Feminist protest group.
Conversations: Newer Testaments with Amy Brown
Lumière’s former creative writing editor talks to JOAN FLEMING about The Odour of Sanctity, sainthood, creativity through faith, and the line between poetry and prose.
Simon Starling: In Speculum
The Turner Prize-winning conceptual artist discusses his practice with THOMASIN SLEIGH on the occasion of a major survey of his work.
What Exactly is The Wolf of Wall Street Selling?
LAURA SUZUKI checks the fine print on Martin Scorsese’s razzle-dazzle new film.
A Correspondence with Eleanor Catton
JOAN FLEMING gathers exquisite thoughts on writing and reading from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries.


Alexander Bisley: Kiera Knightley, Jemaine Clement, Denis O’Hare, Tyler Perry, Joe Swanberg, Steve James, All Is Lost, The Coens, Naomie Harris, Nebraska, Quotes from the 51st NYFF, Tom Hanks, Vincent Ward, Paul Greengrass, John Clarke.
Alice May Connolly: Scenes in My Head, Performance as spectacle in The Master.
Brannavan Gnanalingam: Erich Maria Remarque on film, Douglas Sirk, Eden, Harun Farocki, Beatriz’s War, Concerning Violence, Timbuktu, The Wonders, The Reunion, Force Majeure, Home from Home, Winter Sleep, Our Sunhi, Holy Motors, Outtakes 2014, Reel Brazil 2014, The Connection, Toomelah, Vanya on 42nd Street, Eureka.
Doug Dillaman: Sydney Film Festival, Documentary Edge Festival, That Sugar Film, 2001: A Signifying Odyssey, The Point of It, National Gallery, Borgman, Enemy, Unnatural History, Housebound, Making REALITi, Snowpiercer.
Jacob Powell: Leviathan, Winter Sleep, It Follows, Boyhood, Land Ho!, Maps to the Stars, The Rover, The Double, Kung Fu Elliot, E-Team, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?.
Laura Suzuki: The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Patema Inverted, 52 Tuesdays, Hard to Be a God, Big Men, The beautiful emptiness of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity.
Melinda Jackson: Screen Edge Forum 2014, Big Screen Symposium 2013.
Nathan Joe: Documentary Edge Festival, German Film Festival 2014, Wild Tales, The Reunion, Two Days, One Night, Venus in Fur, Under the Skin, Love Is Strange, Lilting.
Steve Garden: Crime and no punishment, The Tree of Life.
Thomas Phillips: Turning Points in Mr. Turner and Selma.
Tom Webb: Satyajit Ray.
Tim Wong: Cold in July, Show People, Under the Skin, Manakamana, Hard to Be a God, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, The Congress, Snowpiercer, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Exhibition, Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, Story of My Death, Fish & Cat, Reconsidering Funny Face, The World in Miniature, Breaking Bad’s bad habits.


Alexander Bisley: Gary Shteyngart, Reza Aslan, Masha Gessen, Pico Iyer, Sylvie Simmons.
Alice May Connolly: Alison Bechdel.
Brannavan Gnanalingam: Marcus Chown, Pip Adam, Eleanor Catton.
Doug Dillaman: Global Letters, An Hour with Marcus Chown.
Joan Fleming: Craig Cliff on The Mannequin Makers.
Emma Adams: Terry Castle, Rebecca Macfie.
Kimaya Mcintosh: Scarlett Thomas, Junot Díaz’s This is How You Lose Her.
Laura Suzuki: Insight and Inspiration, Eimear McBride, Sandor Katz.
Saradha Koirala: Rising to the Surface, Stuff I’ve Been Reading, A History of Silence, Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley, How to Speak New Zenglish.


Alexander Bisley: Jon Toogood, Seven NYC cultural highlights, Chali 2na, Patrice Tipoki, Liam Finn, Kris Kristofferson & Steve Earle, Charles Bradley, Neko Case, Jessica Rivera, Kody Nielson, Leonard Cohen, Jerry Zigmont, Lord of the Echo, Lil B.
Barney Chunn: Estère Rising, Nesian Mystik, The Bads.
Doug Dillaman: Wellington Jazz Festival, Yo La Tengo, Frente Cumbiero.
James Manning: Live in Sydney, George Clinton, Jurassic 5, Charles Bradley, Lake Street Dive, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Nihilist, Homegrown.
P.R. Harris: Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas, Hopkinson Smith, Leonard Cohen.
Robert Metcalfe: Don McGlashan’s Lucky Stars Album Release Tour.
Tim Glasgow: E/N/T’s Central Complex, Timothy Blackman on This Country.

Theatre & Performing Arts

Alexander Bisley: Marc Labreche, Dave Armstrong, Jim Moriarty.
Alice May Connolly: Riddiford Street: Season 3, The Road That Wasn’t There.
Charles Bisley: A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay.
Deborah Eve Rea: Wellington Theatre, Summer 2015.
Ksenia Khor: Auckland Arts Festival, Away From Home, Suri vs. Shiloh, War Horse, Coriolanus.
Maggie White: Bus Ticket, Moving On, Revelations, Wild Man.
Michael Boyes: The Pianist, Black Faggot, The Flying Dutchman, Madame Butterfly.
Mohamad Atif Slim: Adelaide Fringe, Wicked, Reimagining La Belle et la Bête.
Nathan Joe: Rupert, The Mourning After, Eight Gigabytes of..., Krishnan’s Dairy, I’ll Be Fine, Dust Pilgrim, Hamlet, Enlightenment, Peter/Wendy, Little Shop of Horrors, A Doll’s House, Nautilus, Dreams, The Kiss InsideThis Is Our Youth, The Pianist, The Book of Everything, Ushers, Bbeals, Auckland Fringe Festival.
Sam Brooks: The Blind Date Project, Hauraki Horror, At the Wake, HeLa.
Samuel Phillips: Isaac’s Eye, The Pitman Painters, Tut, God-belly.
Steve Wakeem: Equivocation, An Iliad, My Stories, Your Emails.

Visual Arts

Andy Palmer: Peter McLeavey, Condemned, the grass is awfully green, Old New World, River-Road: Journeys Through Ecology.
Jihee Junn: Late Turner, Gerhard Richter, Steve McQueen’s Ashes; Horst P. Horst and the Russian avant-garde theatre.
Renee Gerlich: Site + Story + Object: A Theory of Engagement.
Thomasin Sleigh: 5th Auckland Triennial, The Stuttering Conversation: Art New Zealand in 2013, Watermarking at the Liverpool Biennial.
Tim Wong: Minutes from ‘The Clock’.

Gallery—Photography and Illustration

Illustration: “Haruki Murakami” by Hikalu Clarke, “John Clarke” by Elina Nykänen, “Noam Chomsky” by Matt Kambic, “Tilda Swinton” by Anna Tokareva.