Czech choreographer Jiří Bubeníček and his twin brother and designer, Otto are stars in the European dance world, creators of vital, innovative contemporary ballets. Director Rebecca Tansley (Crossing Rachmaninoff) follows them from Prague to Aotearoa as they take up an invitation from the Royal New Zealand Ballet to expand their adaptation, made in Germany in 2015, of Jane Campion’s film. Tansley’s documentary feasts on the sheer beauty of the Bubeníčeks’ work – the music, the theatricality, the costumes, the suite of achingly expressive pas de deux at the heart of the piece.
It also presents a delicately traced picture of the Old World at sea in the New, and vice versa. The Bubeníčeks arrive apparently unaware that the work they have been invited to stage poses significant problems for Moss Patterson, the Māori cultural adviser contracted by the RNZB. (The original ballet gave prominent place to ‘Ka Mate’.) Only someone who’s never worked in the New Zealand cultural sector could be surprised as the ensuing struggle, signally embedded in the 2015 work, unfolds over the four weeks before opening night.
Tansley sees Bubeníček’s dismay, but above all she celebrates his vigour and enthusiasm for communication. She observes the enormous reserves of skill and discipline required of classical performers, all the more to savour the thrill when everything takes flight. Intercutting rehearsal and performance, The Heart Dances weaves a seductive, elegant celebration of a vital, centuries-old art that still has a squillion tiny dancers line up to audition for the Anna Paquin role.
We are thrilled to be hosting the 2019 NZIFF in Christchurch. We present the first films for the 2019 programme:
A forbidding spaceship carrying death row inmates hurtles towards oblivion in Claire Denis’s long-awaited, intensely hypnotic sci-fi opus. “Denis reorients the sci-fi genre around bodies, babies, and black holes in her masterfully mystifying event-horizon nightmare.” — Jessica Kiang, Variety
Like Lord of the Flies by way of Yorgos Lanthimos, this bold, bizarro Sundance sensation takes the feral power struggles of youth gone wild to the misty mountains and lush jungles of Colombia. “Nothing short of an aesthete’s dream; a film crammed with visual bravado that… echoes Kubrick, Malick, and Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.” — Rory O’Connor, Cinevue
Savour 100 minutes of eye-popping camera work, picturesque vineyards and gratuitous grape-fondling shots in this glorious toast to the talent and the stories behind New Zealand’s world-famous wine industry. “If there’s one thing I’d love audiences to come away with, it’s a feeling that they have seen the definitive New Zealand wine story benchmarked against some of the greatest producers in the world.” — David Nash
Deadbeat slacker Andrew Garfield delves into the labyrinthine mysteries of La La Land on the hunt for a missing girl in David Robert Mitchell’s oddball neo-noir thriller. “A tasty neo-noir that wilfully melds tones and sensibilities with a playful seductiveness… Mitchell’s movie is a surreal, stoned portrait of LA that doubles as an oddball mystery.” — Tim Grierson, Screendaily
Check out the latest news on NZIFF screenings.
Fools & Dreamers is a 30-minute documentary telling the story of Hinewai Nature Reserve, on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula, and its kaitiaki/manager of 30 years, botanist Hugh Wilson. We learn about the commitment of Hugh and the Maurice White Native Forest Trust to regenerate marginal, hilly farmland into native forest, using a minimal interference method that allows nature to do the work, giving life to over 1500 hectares of native forest, waterways, and the creatures that live within them.
Customs officer Tina is known for her extraordinary sense of smell. It’s almost as if she can sniff out the guilt on anyone hiding something. But when Vore, a suspicious-looking man, walks past her, her abilities are challenged for the first
time ever. Tina can sense Vore is hiding something she can’t identify. Even worse, she feels a strange attraction to him. As Tina develops a special bond with Vore and discovers his true identity, she also realizes the truth about herself. Tina, like Vore, does not belong to this world. Her entire existence has been one big lie and now she has to choose: keep living the lie or embrace Vore’s terrifying revelations.
2 academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram 4 years of fun into 1 night.
In the dystopian future of 1997, New York City is a walled maximum security prison. Breaking out is impossible. Breaking in is insane. But when Air Force One is hijacked by terrorists and crashes into Manhattan, wise-cracking federal prisoner Snake Plissken is given 24 hours to rescue the President of the United States.
Kurt Russell stars in this special 4K restoration of John Carpenter’s 1981 cult classic.