Critical Roundup #5: NZIFF Endnotes

A roundup of film favourites from our most prolific Auckland and Wellington correspondents at the New Zealand International Film Festival 2013.

Jacob Powell (Auckland)

A strong and incredibly rich programme (which seems a redundant statement to make as they’re always full of treasures), NZIFF 2013 held for me a surfeit of cinematic luxuries in every section. At the less enjoyable end of the scale, only one film really irked with another one, or perhaps two, coming off as a mite pedestrian. I’m looking forward to various films I loved, or missed, appearing in local cinemas over the coming year and lamenting a few that will never make it. This has been an excellent festival with a string of highs making it an enjoyably energising experience.

Exceptional:

  1. Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski, USA) Read More
  2. Harmony Lessons (Emir Baigazin, Kazakhstan)
  3. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Norway)
  4. Starlet (Sean Baker, USA, 2012)
  5. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor/Véréna Paravel, France, 2012) Read More

The rest of the best: Cheap ThrillsA Field in EnglandA HijackingLa jaula de oroMuch Ado About NothingMuseum HoursOnly Lovers Left AliveThe Past, The Selfish Giant, Stories We Tell, Goblin play Suspiria.

The Dud: Magic Magic.

Steve Garden (Auckland)

This year’s NZIFF programme boasted a staggering assembly of the good and the great, best of all being a rare chance to see a film by Filipino maverick, Lav Diaz. Bill Gosden and his programming team can’t be thanked enough for scheduling it.

Outstanding:

  • Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, Philippines)

Exceptional (in alphabetical order):

  • The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Norway)
  • Camille Claudel, 1915 (Bruno Dumont, France)
  • Gebo and the Shadow (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/France, 2012)
  • Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor/Véréna Paravel, France, 2012)
  • Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, France/Japan, 2012)
  • The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, Cambodia)
  • Paradise: Love/Faith/Hope (Ulrich Seidl, Austria)
  • Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, 2012)
  • Three Sisters (Wang Bing, Hong Kong/France, 2012)

Damn fine (in no particular order): Harmony Lessons, The Strange Little Cat, Everyday Objects, Child’s Pose, Charulata, The Past, Cops / The Cameraman, Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, Stories We Tell, A Touch of Sin, Museum Hours, Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, The Gatekeepers.

Clunk!: To the Wonder, Upstream Color, Only Lovers Left Alive, Dormant Beauty.

Continue reading Steve’s full post-festival report here

Tim Wong (Wellington)

Although there were no genuine left-of-field discoveries, NZIFF 2013 delivered on the promise of its hugely impressive programme, the strongest of any year I can remember. Bookending the festivities were two fantastic one-off events: Goblin’s spine-tingling performance of their Suspiria score at the Civic, and a rare screening of King Vidor’s magnificent The Crowd with stirring live accompaniment. A special edition in anyone’s language; a collector’s edition with the inclusion of Lav Diaz’s masterful Norte, the End of History, an exclamation mark on a festival still committed to all kinds of cinema—a godsend in such risk-adverse times.

  1. Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, Philippines)
  2. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, Austria/USA, 2012) Read More
  3. A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhang-ke, China/Japan)
  4. Gebo and the Shadow (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/France, 2012)
  5. Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, France/Japan, 2012) Read More
  6. Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, France)
  7. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Norway) Read More
  8. Paradise: Love/Faith/Hope (Ulrich Seidl, Austria) Read More
  9. Camille Claudel, 1915 (Bruno Dumont, France) Read More
  10. Ilo Ilo (Anthony Chen, Singapore) Read More

Also excellent: Computer Chess, La jaula de oro, Leviathan, Lines of Wellington, Mud, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, Post Tenebras Lux, Three Sisters; plus, live cinema glories The Crowd and Goblin play Suspiria.

Not entirely convincing, but still worthwhile: Heli, Nobody’s Daughter Haewon.

Off the boil: Frances Ha, To the Wonder, Upstream Color.

Continue reading Tim’s full post-festival report here

Brannavan Gnanalingam (Wellington)

I’ve purposefully excluded any films that I didn’t see for the first time at NZIFF 2013. What is evident, though, is that the festival this year has nabbed the best films from the European circuit: The Act of Killing, Gloria, Norte, the End of History, Gebo and the ShadowThe Great Beauty, A Touch of Sin, the Paradise Trilogy, Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, at the very least. It shows how incredibly lucky we are with what we’ve got here.

  1. Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, France) Read More
  2. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, Austria/USA, 2012)
  3. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor/Véréna Paravel, France, 2012)
  4. Starlet (Sean Baker, USA, 2012) Read More
  5. The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, Cambodia) Read More

The New Zealand International Film Festival 2013 tours the remainder of the country through until November. For regional dates, programme details, and screening times, visit nzff.co.nz.
The Lumière Reader reports from the New Zealand International Film Festival every winter. For additional commentary and opinion, follow us on Twitter.


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