Film Festival

15 Films you cannot miss at the New Zealand International Film Festival 2016


We present a list of 15 Films worth watching at the New Zealand International Film Festival that is taking place from July 14th – 31th in Auckland.

A War

A War by Tobias Lindholm – Denmark | 2015 – 115 min.

Asbæk (Borgen, Game of Thrones) is company commander Claus M. Pedersen stationed in an Afghan province. Back in Denmark his wife Maria tries to keep things together, caring for their three children who desperately miss their father. During a routine mission, the soldiers are caught in heavy crossfire and in order to save his men, Claus makes a decision that has grave consequences. Casting former Danish soldiers and Afghan refugees, Lindholm has created a realistic, gripping film that looks at the moral dilemmas and personal consequences faced by those in war zones. Equally adept at tension-filled scenes of armed conflict as it is with the emotional repercussions, A War is a meticulous and exceptional film.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.22.2016 – Event Cinemas Queen Street – 2:00 pm
07.26.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 8:45 pm

After the Storm


After the Storm by Kore-eda Hirokazu – Japan | 2016 – 117 min.

Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota wastes his money on gambling and can barely pay child support. Renewing contact with his initially distrusting family, Ryota struggles to take back control of his existence and to find a lasting place in the life of his young son until a stormy summer night offers them a chance to truly bond again.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.16.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 1:00 pm
07.22.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 11:45 am
07.24.2016 – Event Cinemas Westgate – 1:30 pm

Happy Hour

Happy Hour by Hamaguchi Ryusuke – Japan | 2015 – 332 min.

Four women take seasonal trips out of the city. The way the old friends calendar the vacations and the way they enjoy them without words indicate they’ve been doing it for years, and with each trip, it becomes less about camaraderie and more about escape. Sakurako deals with an adolescent son and a controlling husband, Akari is a divorcee barely tolerating an incompetent assistant, Fumi delicately balances work and her husband, and Jun is going through a divorce, the news of which sends ripples through the women’s friendship, threatening their trust in each other – and in their marriages.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.18.2016 – Event Cinemas Queen Street – 12:30 pm
07.23.2016 – Event Cinemas Queen Street – 1:15 pm


High-Rise by Ben Wheatley – UK | 2015 – 119 min.

High Rise Focuses on the inhabitants of a new tower block in the London commuter-belt as residents more primal urges start to emerge and civilization’s veneer begins to fade. As an increasingly primitive world erupts into the corridors and luxurious apartments everything starts to change. The ensemble cast, which includes Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons and Sienna Miller – deliver perfect performances, building on the unsettling material.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.19.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 8:30 pm
07.21.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 3:45 pm

land of mine

Land of Mine by Martin Zandvliet – Denmark, Germany | 2015 – 101 min.

Winner of awards and audience prizes at several festivals, Land of Mine, based on extraordinary true events, is an edgy thriller about young German prisoners of war forced to disarm hidden weapons in the aftermath of World War II. Following the Nazi surrender, a group of teenaged Germans, conscripted at the tail end of the war, are put to work on the coast of Denmark. With minimal training, they are sent to disarm the landmines that lie hidden on Danish beaches. The Danish sergeant, Rasmussen (Roland Møller, A Hijacking, SFF 2013) supervises the young soldiers with an iron fist. Embittered by the brutal German occupation, he initially lacks sympathy for the young men as they go about their dangerous daily task. Gradually empathy develops, and Rasmussen grows to recognise the horror of the situation. Director Martin Zandvliet creates extraordinary tension but his humane concerns are very much the centre of the film, and he draws heartbreaking performances from his talented cast. Land of Mine is a sensitive and unforgettable film about a little-known part of history that has great resonance all these years later.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.21.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 6:30 pm
07.24.2016 – Event Cinemas Westgate – 6:00 pm
07.25.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 1:30 pm

Life After Life2

Life after Life by Zhang Hanyi – China | 2015 – 80 min.

Among the eerily sparse landscapes of a soon-to-be-demolished rural village lives young Leilei (Zhang Li). He becomes possessed by the spirit of his late mother, who tells Leilei’s father Mingchun (Zhang Mingjun) that she’s returned to salvage the tree that stands outside their former home. Together they embark on an epic quest, navigating expansive forests, dilapidated houses and anonymous industrial wastelands in sequences marked by absurd humour and striking imagery. Sharing common themes of socio-economic upheaval and globalisation with producer Jia Zhangke’s own dramas, Life After Life is a bold, formally daring film that marks the emergence of a fresh new talent in Chinese cinema.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.21.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 6:30 pm
07.24.2016 – Event Cinemas Westgame – 6:00 pm
07.25.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 1:30 pm – 1:30 pm


Sand Storm by Elite Zexer – Israel | 2016 – 87 min.

In a Bedouin village in southern Israel, Jalila’s husband is marrying a second and younger wife. During the celebration, Jalila discovers her daughter Layla’s involvement with a boy. Burying the indignity of her husband and his new bride living next door, Jalila also tries to contain Layla’s situation by clamping down on her. But possessed of a boundless spirit, Layla sees a different life for herself…

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.18.2016 – Rialto Cinemas Newmarket – 2:15 pm
07.21.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 2:00 pm
07.23.2016 – Rialto Cinemas Newmarket – 8:30 pm
07.28.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 6:30 pm


Tanna by Martin Butler, Bentley Dean – Australia | 2015 – 104 min.

Set in the South Pacific where Wawa, a young girl from a traditional tribe, falls in love with her chief’s grandson, Dain. When an inter-tribal war escalates, Wawa is betrothed as part of a peace deal. The young lovers must choose between their hearts and the future of the tribe. Tanna is based on a true story and performed by the people of Yakel in Vanuatu.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.27.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 6:15 pm
07.28.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 1:15 pm

Ten Years

Ten Years by Ng Ka-Leung, Kwok Zune, Kwun-wai Chow, Jevons Au, Wong Fei-Pang
Hong Kong | 2015 – 103 min.

Five shorts, which imagine what Hong Kong will be like in ten years. Five young Hong Kong directors raise questions about the most central issues concerning the city, and the audience is invited to ponder. All the stories are independent, yet at the same time, intricately related to one another, attempting to portray decisions and struggles of humanity in a dark age.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.21.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 8:30 pm
07.29.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 1:30 pm

The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden by Park Chan-wook – South Korea | 2016 – 145 min.

The 1930s, Korea under Japanese rule. A young pickpocket is hired as a handmaiden to a rich woman and given the task of convincing her to marry an ambitious fraudster, thereby fleecing her of her ample inheritance. Things go according to plan until the two women begin to discover mutual feelings of passion. The latest effort from the visionary director of Old Boy competed for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes fest.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.15.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 9:15 pm
07.18.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 3:15 pm

The Idealist

The Idealist by Christina Rosendahl – Denmark | 2015 – 114 min.

A plane crash, government corruption and nuclear warheads are just some of the ingredients for this taut Danish docu-drama, set in the aftermath of the Cold War. Based on a book by the award-winning journalist Poul Brink.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.20.2016 – Academy Cinema – 12:00 pm
07.23.2016 – Academy Cinema – 8:30 pm

The Innocents

The Innocents by Anne Fontaine – France, Poland | 2016 – 116 min.

Based on a true story from post-World War II Poland, this satisfying drama follows a young female French doctor who finds herself caught up in the lives of nuns, traumatized and shamed by their wartime suffering.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.15.2016 – Rialto Cinemas Newmarket – 11:30 am
07.18.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 12:45 pm
07.27.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 6:15 pm

The Red Turtle

The Red Turtle by Michael Dudok de Witt – Belgium, France, Japan | 2016 – 80 min.

Studio Ghibli’s first international co-production is a ravishing castaway fable that combines beauty, mystery, drama and heartbreak – with not a word spoken. It’s a triumph for animator Michael Dudok de Wit.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.20.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 10:30 am
07.23.2016 – Event Cinemas Manukau – 6:30 pm
07.31.2016 – The Civic Theatre – 1:15 pm
07.31.2016 – Event Cinemas Westgate – 6:00 pm


Theeb by Naji Abu Nowar – Jordan, Qatar, UAE, UK | 2014 – 100 min.

Set in 1916, this suspenseful, historically freighted Jordanian film concerns a watchful young Bedouin obliged to guide a British officer through the spectacular desert of Wadi Rum. Best Foreign Language Oscar Nominee 2016.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.19.2016 – Rialto Cinemas Newmarket – 4:00 pm
07.20.2016 – Rialto Cinemas Newmarket – 8:15 pm
07.30.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 3:15 pm


Thithi by Raam Reddy – India | 2015 – 123 min.

When Century Gowda – having earned the name for passing the 100-year mark – dies, respectful plans are made for his funeral and 11-day memorial, or ‘thithi’. But other plans are underway too. Century’s grandson Thamanna plots to sell off the family land to make a quick buck, but discovers that the land now belongs to his father Gadappa, whose sole interests are booze and cigarettes. Meanwhile Abhi, the youngest of the clan, tries to seduce an attractive shepherdess. Quite unlike the Indian cinema we’re accustomed to, Thithi is a cleverly written and comical look at desire, materialism and freedom, featuring fantastic performances from a mostly non-professional cast.

Trailer (Will open in another window)

07.17.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 3:00 pm
07.20.2016 – SKYCITY Theatre – 3:30 pm
07.24.2016 – Event Cinemas Manukau – 8:00 pm

The Civic Theatre – Corner Queen Street & Wellesley Street
The Wintergarden at The Civic – Corner Queen Street & Wellesley Street
SKIPCITY Theatre – Level 3, corner Hobson & Wellesley Street
Academy Cinema – Central Library Building, 44 Lorne Street
Event Cinemas Queen Street – 291-297 Queen Street, corner Queen Street & Aotea Square
Rialto Cinemas Newmarket – 167-169 Broadway, Newmarket
Rialto Cinemas Newmarket (Cinema 4) – 167-169 Broadway, Newmarket
Event Cinemas Manukau – Level 1, Westfield Manukau City
Events Cinemas Westgate – Level 8, Westgate Shopping Centre

IMPORTANT: We would like to remind readers that the festival starts its activities in Auckland and then tour around the country. Films and schedules presented in this post are for Auckland venues ONLY. For more information please visit the FESTIVAL PROFILE or visit their OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

You may also find interesting to know which are the 7 Short Films and 12 Documentaries you cannot miss this year at the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.