The first inkling that this isn’t just a music documentary is the glassy, drunken eyes of the 60-something Shane MacGowan. The contrast with the young MacGowan at the prime of his life, growling out the lyrics to “Fairytale of New York” at the start of this understated documentary, is stark. Director Julien Temple, himself considered punk rock royalty for his music documentaries including Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (NZIFF 2006) and Oil City Confidential (NZIFF 2009), frames MacGowan's story as a quiet triumph, the triumph being that he is somehow still alive after a life of addiction. The portrait-like shots of MacGowan taken for the film echo out a warning about dependency. This cautionary tale is also a one of Irish patriotism, the country’s recent history at the fore. It’s the tale of an incredible literary tradition in Ireland being continued by an unlikely punk rock musician. As the singer recounts his upbringing in rural Tipperary, his meteoric rise to fame in London and his descent into heroin addiction, he also charts Ireland’s journey from The Great Hunger of the 1840s through to the Troubles in the latter half of the 20th century. Shane MacGowan’s folkloric story is swiftly layered with animated sequences of MacGowan’s early life, archival footage of punk gigs, and casual, boozy interviews with the wheezing, hissing MacGowan of today. Six decades of substance abuse have taken their toll on the frontman, but the poet who wrote such aching ballads as “A Rainy Night in Soho” and “The Broad Majestic Shannon” shines through his slurred words and vacant stare. “I’m just following the Irish way of life,” he says. “Cram as much pleasure as you can into life and rail against the pain that you have to suffer as a result.” — Steph Walker, Caitlin Abley
Andrei Konchalovsky (Runaway Train, The Postman’s White Nights NZIFF 2015) is one of the last remaining Russian filmmakers of the extraordinary 60s generation that brought us Andrei Tarkovsky (with whom he collaborated on Ivan’s Childhood and Andrei Rublev NZIFF 2019), Sergei Paradzhanov and Kira Muratova. His latest feature returns to this era with its grand scope, superb style – exquisite black and white cinematography in the tall Academy ratio – and historical subject matter. In June 1962, a combination of rising prices and falling wages led the workers of the Novocherkassk Locomotive Works to strike. The strike, an unthinkable disruption in the supposed socialist utopia of the USSR, is violently quashed by the army and KGB, and the massacre is immediately followed by a cover-up that’s just as brutal and unforgiving. We see the story from the perspective of Lyuda (a powerful performance by Yulia Vysotskaya), a member of the City Committee and hardcore true believer insulated by party privilege, whose life of cosy ideological certainty begins to unravel when her daughter Svetka disappears during the massacre. As she searches for her, Lyuda gradually learns more about what really happened in her hometown, and comes to rely on a friendly – perhaps too friendly – KGB officer who wants to help her. Konchalovsky’s richly detailed film, which won the Special Jury Prize at Venice last year, tells a powerful and complex story fuelled by irreconcilable visions of Soviet society that no amount of rhetorical bluster could paper over. — Andrew Langridge
Writer/director Éric Besnard’s mouth-watering new historical comedy indelibly pairs Grégory Gadebois and Isabelle Carré as a gifted chef and his unlikely protégé, who must find the resolve to free themselves from servitude. In 1789 France, just prior to the Revolution, gastronomy is strictly the domain of the aristocrats; indeed, the prestige of a noble house is entirely dependent on the quality and reputation of its table. So, when the talented but prideful cook Manceron (Gadebois) serves an unapproved dish of his own creation at a dinner hosted by the self-entitled Duke of Chamfort (C’est La Vie’s Benjamin Lavernhe), the repercussions are brutal, and he is promptly dismissed. The wounded Manceron swears off his passion and retreats with his son to a regional inn visited only infrequently by travellers, and where vegetable soup is the common meal. But when a mysterious woman (Carré) arrives and offers to pay to become his apprentice, the stage is set for a wildly enjoyable tale of reignited passion, mentorship and revenge... and of the creation of France’s very first restaurant. Joining the ranks of films such as Big Night, Chocolat and Babette’s Feast in its joyous depiction of the preparation and love of fine cuisine, DELICIOUS is just that.
Bringing Jamie Hewlett’s visuals to a thrilling live performance, the set features songs from the Song Machine project, along with some revered classics from the group’s back catalogue. Guitarist Noodle, bassist Murdoc Niccals, drummer Russel and frontman 2D are joined by Damon Albarn and the full Gorillaz live band, plus a choice selection of featured artists, showcasing their first live performance since 2018. This special presentation also features a pre-show programme and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.
Patu! is the definitive film of the 1981 Springbok tour protests, a technically complex piece of guerrilla filmmaking that explicitly connects apartheid abroad and racism at home. Newly preserved by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. In 1981, South Africa’s rugby team, the Springboks, were invited to tour New Zealand. The decision was extremely controversial; some people saw it as a tacit endorsement of apartheid while others insisted that politics had nothing to do with New Zealand’s favourite sport. Patu! captured what followed. As thousands of New Zealanders took to the streets to demonstrate their solidarity with the victims of apartheid, battalions of filmmakers and photographers recorded the confrontations with police and rugby diehards. The credit list on this film is a who’s who of the renaissance of New Zealand cinema. Their contributions, which totalled many hours, were edited into an incredibly persuasive feature by Merata Mita. “You may even be in it” ran the tagline on the posters, but the tone of the film is far from self-congratulatory, instead showing the disgust at apartheid and dissatisfaction with New Zealand race relations felt by its subjects. The original 16mm theatrical release version of Patu!, which premiered at the Festival in 1983, ran 113 minutes. Merata subsequently recut the film for international release to 84 minutes. To mark the 40th anniversary of the Springbok tour, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision have produced a newly preserved version of the 1983 theatrical release of Patu!, for screening in 2021. “Yes, Patu! has a Māori perspective, but it does not override the mass mobilisation of New Zealand's white middle class, neither does it take credit from those who rightly deserve it, everyone who put themselves on the line. My perspective encourages people to look at themselves and examine the ground they stand on.” — Merata Mita 40th anniversary restoration film provided by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.
8-year-old Nelly has just lost her beloved grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother’s childhood home. She explores the house and the surrounding woods where her mom, Marion, used to play and built the treehouse she’s heard so much about. One day her mother abruptly leaves. That’s when Nelly meets a girl her own age in the woods building a treehouse. Her name is Marion.
A power vacuum emerged in Zimbabwe following the ousting of long-term president-cum-dictator Robert Mugabe. With the promise of the first genuinely democratic election in the country in decades, two primary challengers emerged – former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa and the young, idealistic outsider Nelson Chamisa. In the early stages of Camilla Nielsson’s documentary, a spiritual follow-up to her Zimbabwe-set feature Democrats (NZIFF 2014), Chamisa, an incredibly magnetic presence, drums up enormous grassroots support across the country, captured in vivid campaign rallies of enormous scale. Victory seems secure – until election night, when the forces of the established power begin to stir in the background. Featuring remarkable on-the-ground access to Chamisa’s dogged team and their campaign first for victory, then for justice, President moves to the tune of a classic political thriller, with the highest possible stakes. The film finds disturbing echoes of more highly publicised political crises unfolding around the world, but also profound hope in its portrait of unshakeable determination in the face of decades-long oppression. — Tom Augustine “...it’s the testimony of ordinary folk – the election monitor beaten over the head with an iron bar, for example – that makes Nielsson’s film so chilling. The casual violence, the stony, brazen-faced manipulation of truth in this African nation shows how difficult it is to get a foot on the ladder of democracy, and how tenuous that hold is – there and everywhere.” — Fionnuala Halligan, Screendaily
In the context of New Zealand’s culture in the second half of the 20th century, Schoon rocked our world with his outsider's gaze. For all the debate that has surrounded his legacy, in this film portrait, the complex artist is allowed to speak for himself through archive radio, tv and national film unit sources.
For many years no-one was interested in the art of the Impressionists. Artists like Monet, Degas and Renoir were vilified, attacked, and left penniless as a result. Then, something remarkable happened. A new breed of collectors emerged and, before long, they were battling to acquire any work by these new, radical artists that they could find. Amongst them was the visionary Danish businessman Wilhelm Hansen. It was an extraordinary moment in art history; full of drama, intrigue and subterfuge. Some collectors we may recognise and some we may not, but Hansen amassed a remarkable collection housed at his summer home, Ordrupgaard, on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Exhibition on Screen tells his fascinating story and, with exclusive access to a sell-out exhibition at London’s Royal Academy, brings the extraordinary collection to the big-screen in glorious high-definition. From Hansen’s beautiful house and gardens at Ordrupgaard to the streets of bohemian Paris, this film takes you on a journey to discover some of the best examples of 19th-century French art ever collected. 2021 | Documentary | 90 min | Dir. David Bickerstaff
MOffensive language, nudity, drug use & sexual references
A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in "The French Dispatch" magazine.
MViolence, offensive language, sexual references & nudity
Writer-director Wes Anderson's follow-up to his Oscar-nominated Moonrise Kingdom, starring Ralph Fiennes as Mr. Gustave, the unflappable and perfectly composed concierge of the eponymous 1930s hotel. Shot in Germany, the all-star cast also includes Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum and Owen Wilson.
“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” — George Orwell, 1984 Based on former ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffery Robinson’s illuminating lecture on the history of US anti-Black racism, Emily and Sarah Kunstler’s Who We Are builds upon the framework of his talk with a compelling blend of archival imagery, personal anecdotes (Memphian Robinson was 11 years old when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and was one of the first Black students at an integrated school), plus interviews with key figures from recent watershed US race relations moments. Robinson delivers a damning account of slavery and racism in the US, aiming to help break the country’s repeating cycle of ‘two steps forward, three steps back’. The quote from George Orwell’s 1984 above speaks to false narratives that Robinson, and the film, seek to redress: the country was not founded on principles of freedom for all, rather white supremacy is enshrined in the very laws of the land. Who We Are intentionally platformsvoices who’ve known direct loss due to racism (on a personal or community scale), such as Eric Garner’s mother and a 106-year-old survivor of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. Robinson’s open and well-reasoned approach belies a simmering anger and deep sadness within, which can’t help but seep out, lending a moving urgency to the film and its theses. — Jacob Powell