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Christchurch gets the rare chance to kick off the annual New Zealand International Film Festival when the 2021 edition gets underway at the Isaac Theatre Royal and Lumiere Cinemas from this Friday.
Amongst the impressive line-up of 95 features from 37 countries are some truly wacky conceits.
Stuff to Watch has had the opportunity to preview a number of titles and come up with this list of five of the craziest, that just have to be seen to be believed.
* The Swamp, The Sacred Place: A celebration of Aotearoa’s wetland kaitiaki
* Elegant science fiction: Cancer advocate David Downs calls himself a ‘genetically modified optimist’
* Bill’s Legacy: Eight great NZ Film Festival movies (and where you can watch them)
* Bill Gosden: The film fan who found his sweet spot
* Dame Jane Campion’s newest film to open 2021 New Zealand International Film Festival
Featuring the voices of Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Zoe Kazan and Peter Stormare, this hippy, trippy, very adult animation opens with nudity and violence and, at times, seems like a fever dream-cross between South Park, Scooby Doo and Heavy Metal.
It’s the story of one woman’s quest to track down the creature that soothed her childhood nightmares, but it’s also a fascinating meditation on the efficacy and nature of zoos and our sometimes tempestuous relationship with the environment and Earth’s other inhabitants.
French director Quentin Dupieux’s follow-up to his killer jacket black comedy Deerskin is equally oddball and crowd pleasing.
Two hapless losers get sidetracked from their important courier job when they discover a giant fly in the boot of their car. Sensing an opportunity to make money, they set out to train it to fetch things. However, car trouble and mistaken identity threaten to derail their plans.
Features a magnificent scene-stealing cameo form Blue is the Warmest Colour’s Adèle Exarchopoulos.
The Most Beautiful Boy in the World
Björn Andrésen was the Swedish teen thrust into the trapping of fame by being personally selected by Italian director Luchino Visconti to play Tadzio in his 1971 adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice.
As Kristina Lindstrom and Kristian Petri’s hauntingly sad portrait reveals, Andrésen’s ensuing five decades have been blighted by his experiences during and after the shoot. As he recounts the highs and lows of intense, but brief fame, we also see him return to work for a cameo in Ari Aster’s folk horror Midsommer.
A kind of Parasite-meets-Hotel Mumbai, Mexican director Michel Franco’s unnerving and increasingly dark drama looks at the effect a revolution has on the lives of one well-to-do family.
What is supposed to be the happiest day of Marianne and Alan’s lives turns into a nightmare, after armed guerillas storm the family compound and their supposedly loyal servants start stealing the silverware. Filled with searing imagery and heart-pounding action, it is a tale not easily forgotten.
Executive produced by Taika Waititi and New Zealand’s Miss Conception films and featuring 800 Words’ Kiwi actor Alex Tarrant amongst the main cast, it’s easy to see why Canadian film-maker Danis Goulet’s debut has generated plenty of buzz since it made its debut in Berlin earlier this year.
While set in a dystopian future where the military has seized control of North America, it is actually a confronting allegory about Canada’s past treatment of its indigenous peoples. A haunting, vibrant, thought-provoking tale.
The Christchurch leg of Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2021 will run from October 29 to November 14. For more information, see nziff.co.nz