The extraordinary true story of a Kiwi couple – journalist Helen Smyth and Tim Rose, of Havana Coffee Works – who went to Cuba and accidentally befriended one of Fidel Castro's top spies.
- Te reo Māori
Orphanage worker Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen) returns to Copenhagen to confront his past in this rich, harrowing and transformative family drama directed by Susanne Bier (Open Hearts).
Idiosyncratic doco maker Les Blank journeys to China with a devoted tea drinker and trader for an inside look at tea and the culture that spawned it.
Ric Burns's imposing four-hour portrait tracks the painfully shy, sickly genius through his 1960s New York heyday to substantiate the claim that he is the greatest artist of the 20th century.
Wellington architect Bill Toomath talks about his life and architecture in the context of a new room he has added to his house that's based on a famous Renaissance painting.
Unbelievable true story of Rev Richard Gazowsky, who is convinced God wants him to make a multi-million dollar Christian Star Wars – even though Gazowsky has never watched a single film in his life.
Sarah Polley's brave, mature directorial feature debut ruminates on an elegant Ontario couple (Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent) who face the spectre of Alzheimer's. Adapted from an Alice Munro story.
This splendidly imaginative doco traces a lock of Beethoven's hair from 19th-century Vienna to the present day, when modern forensics uncovers the truth about the composer's hearing and temperament.
A handsome Mexican soccer star whose career was cut short by tragedy finds solace with a pregnant waitress in this sensitive, transcendent film set in New York, that won the People's Choice at Toronto.
Paul Verhoeven's brash, provocative tale of a sexy Jewish singer who seduces the head of the Dutch Gestapo is also a bold, wilfully irreverent and morally complex film about the Holocaust.
When the first blind man to climb Mt Everest, Erik Weihenmayer, challenges six blind Tibetan school children to climb its 23,000-ft neighbour, Lhakpa Ri, failure is not an option.
Direktøren for det hele
An unruly farce set in an office, Lars von Trier's latest provocation skewers ethics, capitalism and his own filming methods (camera and sound are operated randomly by a computer).
In his latest fever-dream, Guy Maddin tunnels deep into the slag heap of 20s and 30s cinema he has made his home. Satanic orphans, a masked lesbian wedding and turpentine baths stand in for plot.
In 2004, Eric Steel captured footage of 23 fatal leaps from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, then uncovered their wrenchingly poignant stories. His doco transcends voyeurism for a dignified examination of death.
Solitary oddball Vincent mopeds through the Scottish highlands with a dream of healing the community's loneliness with a mobile disco. A film about the joy of music and a yearning for the ecstasy of art.
Beautifully restored print of Paul Leni's 1927 silent classic in which a young woman must spend the night alone in a creepy gothic mansion. Accompanied by the exhilarating score (with theremin) composed by Festival guest Neil Brand, conducted by US maestro Timothy Brock.
Alister Barry's new film documents the 11-year war that raged between teachers and the New Right after Tomorrow's Schools shifted education towards a market economy model.
This exposé of the thriving cocaine trade in Florida during the late 70s and early 80s is an unapologetically sensational and furiously entertaining example of doco filmmaking as tabloid crack.
Director Shirley Horrocks explores the highly creative and under-rated New Zealand subculture of comics and graphic novels, revealing its rich local history and international following.
This documentary valentine to the pleasures of cinema looks at four independent theatre owners in very different parts of the world who dedicate their lives to showing films.
Anton Corbijn's visually arresting biopic of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis casts an insightful, poignant and very human light on a British rock legend. As Curtis, relative newcomer Sam Riley is uncanny.
Local doco-maker Jess Feast tells the fascinating, vibrant story of über-cool Berlin burlesque bar White Trash Fast Food and the diehard communist neighbour who tried to shut it down.
Fascinating documentary story of Private James Dresnok, who deserted the US army in 1962 to build a life in communist North Korea, where he raised a family and became a propaganda film star.
Frank Oz (The Stepford Wives) changes direction with a riotous British comedy about a man (Matthew Macfadyen) who returns home for his father's funeral, only to face a madhouse.
Causing a furore in the US, this doco poses important questions about terrorism and the Bush administration, using the fictional scenario of George W. Bush's assassination in October 2007.
Jaw-dropping story of Donald Crowhurst, the "Sunday sailor" who set off in 1968, in an unfinished vessel, on a race to circumnavigate the globe.
A highly charged and confrontational doco which talks to Father Oliver O'Grady, the California paedophile who molested children over a 30-year period from within the sanctuary of the Catholic church.
Seven well-known artists, including Matthew Barney (The Cremaster Cycle), Larry Clark and Sam Taylor-Wood, were told to go forth and make pornography: the result is this cerebral, challenging series of short films.
Deeply affecting doco telling the story of the US Marine Captain who became a political activist after witnessing the systematic genocide of black African citizens in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Local Oscar nominee Taika Waititi's debut feature is a deliciously tangy, deadpan love story between two incurable fancy dress and gaming geeks, Lily (Loren Horsley) and Jarrod (Jemaine Clement).
Turkish-German director Fatih Akin's (Head-On) masterful new film tracks the emotional arcs of six people – four Turks and two Germans – as they criss-cross through love, tragedy and borders.
A fitting documentary eulogy to one of New Zealand's most underrated Modernist artists, Edith Collier (1885-1964), whose talent was sadly crushed by unsympathetic Victorian tastes.
Robert Blake stars as "Big John" Wintergreen, the diminutive chopper cop adrift in a flotsam of corrupt lowlifes, in this modern existential Western that oozes 1970s charm.
Vores lykkes fjender
Tense, claustrophobic Danish doco counts down the ten days leading up to the 2005 Afghanistan election, focusing on brave, controversial female candidate Malalai Joya.
Experimental, impressionistic work of sublime poetic vision from musician-turned-filmmaker Pierce, whose exquisitely wrought film fractions explore the emotional complexities of life.
Quelques jours en septembre
In this electrifying espionage thriller set in a paranoid post-Cold War Europe, a French Secret Service agent (Juliette Binoche) tracks her missing father (Nick Nolte), who is a former colleague turned spy.
Bob Rafelson examines the patrician American way of life in his second feature starring Jack Nicholson as a former classical music prodigy turned redneck oil-rigger and drifter.
Heddy Honigmann's (Dame la Mano) mesmerising tour of artists' graves in Paris' Père-Lachaise cemetery eschews morbidity for a moving celebration of art and the human spirit.
Fascinating historical doco weaves a riveting high-stakes narrative around the 1956 Olympic water polo semi-final between Hungary and the Soviet Union, which turned into a bloodbath.
Visually astounding Italian epic following a turn-of-the-century family across the ocean to the New World. "Unveils the dark side of America's immigrant history." — indieWIRE
Adaptation of Dito Montiel's mid-80s memoir of life on the hot, sweat-soaked streets of New York, recalling early Scorsese, as two lives converge on tragedy. Stars Robert Downey Jr and Shia LaBeouf.
Ryan Gosling is phenomenal as the dynamic junkie teacher at a tough inner-city school whose after-hours activities collide with those of one of his young female students, who is also a fledgling drug runner.
Pre-fab four TV phenomenon The Monkees committed career hara-kiri by starring in this psychedelic, mind-bending weird-fest penned by Jack Nicholson and director Bob Rafelson in 1968.
Is the ubiquitous Helvetica typeface a modernist masterpiece or the McDonald's of graphic design? As designers take sides, the philosophy, politics and recent history of design is laid bare.
Poetic Western directed by and starring Peter Fonda as a drifter who attempts to reconcile with his abandoned wife and daughter. This restored version of a neglected 1970s masterpiece will dazzle audiences.
Tony Ayres' poignant autobiographical feature follows the turbulent life of a glamorous Hong Kong nightclub singer (Joan Chen) who emigrates to Melbourne with her two children in 1964.
Inspiring, entertaining doco on Zen priest and holistic chef Edward Espe Brown, who imparts philosophy, along with cooking advice, to an adoring group of devotees.
The Life & Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal
The extraordinary contribution of the world's most dedicated Nazi hunter, who lost his mother, sister and 87 other relatives in the Holocaust, is outlined in this eventful and engaging profile.
David Lynch's latest surreal work disturbs a dysfunctional thriller with erotic anarchy as he hurtles towards a shocking, confronting and utterly uncompromising close. Riveting, hypnotic, dreamlike.
Frank, fly-on-the-wall account of an Evangelical summer camp in North Dakota where children learn the evils of profanity, abortion and witchcraft – and salute a cardboard cut-out of President Bush.
Director Julien Temple's (The Filth and the Fury) visually exciting, high-octane rock 'n' roll history of 1970s punk sensation The Clash and its charismatic frontman and singer Joe Strummer.
The makers of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner focus on the historical moment when Inuit came into contact with European explorers and Christianity. Richer, deeper and more demanding than its predecessor.
Completed in 1977, Charles Burnett's fictional portrait of a working-class black family living in a broken-down home in a bombed-out stretch of Los Angeles is a lost American neorealist masterpiece.
Two friends investigate America's scariest, most planted, processed, subsidised GE crop: corn. "As relevent as Super Size Me and as important as An Inconvenient Truth." — Austin Chronicle
An all-night FM talk jockey (Jack Nicholson) is drawn into the Atlantic City scams of his estranged brother (Bruce Dern) in Bob Rafelson's original, eccentric and affecting 1972 film.
Eight Wellington 20-somethings are locked in an agonising merry-go-round of unexpressed lust and longing in Alexander Greenhough and Elric Kane's winning new feature.
This extraordinary montage film is entirely narrated by Cobain, with evocative images showing where he lived, went to school, worked and played.
Lala Rolls (Children of the Migration) directs this gentle, moving doco-portrait of Maori artist Darcy Nicholas, whose work is held in public collections in New Zealand, Britain and Germany.
Jack Nicholson is one of two Navy men who decide to show a young offender a good time before he gets locked up. Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude) directs a script by Robert Towne (Chinatown).
Peter Bogdanovich's classic debut feature (1971) is an evocative, bittersweet coming-of-age set in small-town Texas in the early 1950s, starring a young Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd.
Constructed around a 2005 tribute performance at Sydney's Opera House, this is a celebratory mix of concert and documentary. Includes appearances by Cohen, Bono, Nick Cave and Beth Orton.
Robert Altman's (The Player, Gosford Park) take on Philip Marlowe relocates the detective to cynical, modern Los Angeles. Purists were incensed, but this is one of the finest movies of the 70s.
Made to honour the 50th anniversary of the World Press Photo of the Year, this doco tells the story behind four iconic images – of the Vietnam War, Salvador Allende, Tiananmen Square and the Gulf War.
This brutal and lurid melodrama about a charismatic small town psycho who falls for a high-class beauty marks the debut of a director who aims to put the "hurt" back into the stagnant thriller genre.
A frank yet celebratory behind-the-music documentary on cult American psychedelic rock group Love.
This stunning shockumentary is a visceral immersion in contemporary Brazilian street life, connecting the unlikely dots between black-market frog farming, plastic surgery and kidnapping in São Paulo.
Staggering, unconventional doco of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky who marries art with environmentalism in monolithic portraits of industrial landscapes such as China's Three Gorges Dam.
Less than flattering portrait of controversial Oscar-winning documentary maker Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine) made by two Canadian filmmakers who started out as admiring fans.
Incomplete documentary about the late, great historian Michael King, who talks candidly in this film about milestones in his professional life.
Angelina Jolie stars as the impassioned heroine at the centre of Michael Winterbottom's urgent docudrama retelling of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's abduction by Islamic militants.
Mr. Vig and the Nun
Award-winning documentary about an eccentric elderly man who dreams of turning his castle into a monastery and the Russian Orthodox nun with ideas of her own about how it should be done.
Enthralling doco gets up close to four-year-old New York painting genius Marla Olmstead and her family. Is Marla the actual artist or does she receive all sorts of "coaching" from her devoted dad?
Melbourne filmmaker Matthew Saville crafts a disturbing account of urban fear and isolation as police investigate a senseless commuter train shooting.
Two long-time friends (Daniel London and singer Will Oldham) reassess their bond on a mountain camping trip. A quiet, shimmering elegy to lost friendship from director Kelly Reichardt.
A sincere, romantic indie musical set in Dublin, the music capital of the world. Two street musicians, a boy and a girl, strike up an intimate friendship that leads to tentative collaboration.
With this intimate character study of an angel-faced skateboarder (and accidental killer), Gus Van Sant returns with one of the most moving and delicately felt films of his fascinating career.
Local director Glenn Standring's second feature is a sci-fi horror set in a retro-futuristic New Zealand where humans coexist with a race of intellectual vampires called The Brotherhood.
Faithful, opulent and visceral adaptation of Patrick Süskind's bestselling tale of an obsessive parfumier on a murderous quest in 18th-century France. Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).
This visually stunning Swedish eco-documentary visits 25 countries to offer irrefutable evidence of global warming in the wider context of catastrophic changes to the natural environment.
Director Shirley Horrocks tracked landscape painter, photographer and Arts Foundation Laureate John Reynolds from the Sydney Biennale to Otago and the Kaipara for this intimate portrait.
A young girl's 15th birthday bash is derailed by an immaculate conception in this saucy, heartfelt exploration of love, family and neighbourhood gentrification set in a Latino suburb of Los Angeles.
Entertaining, humorous and original documentary by Gary Burns and Jim Brown exploring the legacy of suburbia, from the rise of the motorcar to the arrival of the "new urbanists".
Set in a notorious Glasgow housing estate monitored by surveillance cameras, this bristling, darkly erotic thriller about a woman hell-bent on retribution won the Jury Prize at Cannes.
Maverick director Werner Herzog treads close to the mainstream with this tale of a German-American fighter pilot (Christian Bale) who escapes a Viet Cong POW camp in Laos in 1965.
Eric Bana stars as a troubled Eastern European immigrant in this heartbreaking family drama of displacement and emotional dependency set in the backblocks of 1960s rural Victoria.
Stirring true story of 94-year-old Doris "Granny D" Haddock who walked across America to rally against the influence of big money in elections. Four years later, she runs for the US Senate.
Situated somewhere between home movie, doco and experimental film, this three-part narrative deals with murder, nature and children in Paris' colourful and multi-ethnic 18th arrondissement.
The definitive portrait of Scott Walker, rock's most fascinating and elusive outsider.
Sarah Polley stars as an emotionally scarred young woman who embarks on a tentative romance with an oil-rig worker in this delicate piece of artistry from Isabel Coixet (My Life Without Me).
Brit director Christopher Smith follows Creep with this horror-comedy about a group of office workers on a team building exercise in Hungary who are hunted by unidentified backwoods maniacs.
Your heart will open up and bleed for Maggie Gyllenhaal as the recovering junkie (and desperate cherry-bomb hellion) who is determined to win back her daughter after three years in jail.
This ingenious triptych of terror starts off as a love story before descending into one huge ball of bloody chaos with the arrival of a malignant signal that causes viewers to turn totally homicidal.
A gentle satire which pokes fun at the Southern California Young American Miss pageant and the hollow post-Vietnam values of America. Condenses all that was groovy about the 70s into two hours.
Tilda Swinton is the pregnant forensic psychologist sent to interview a teenage Christian girl accused of killing her newborn baby. A lacerating drama which exposes the hidden terrors of women.
György Pálfi (Hukkle) clocks in with a ghastly, audacious assault on the senses, involving a male genetic disorder that results in more body dysfunction than Cronenberg's entire oeuvre.
Indulge your nostalgia with a stunning restoration of the three-screen film made for Expo 70, along with a lighthearted doco on the event and a swinging pop tourist film from 1970.
Riveting chronicle of a 20-year struggle to free an innocent black man of the 1984 rape and murder of a white woman in North Carolina – a racially charged crime which divided the community.
Harrowing, heartbreaking doco edited down from 3,000 hours (yes... 3,000!) of home video footage, telling the story of a former primetime newscaster whose addiction to crack destroyed his life.
Director/auteur Monte Hellman's breakout feature is a minimalist existential road movie starring singer James Taylor and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson as a duo on a cross-country race (1971).
The perils of growing up bohemian are wryly explored in this German feature about a 14-year-old girl who rebels against her parents' chaotic lifestyle of free love and destructive excess.
The spirited 15-year-old daughter of a poor South Indian fisherman determines to master the high-caste Brahmin art of kuchipudi dance. Powerful, luscious and saturated with colour.
"Spellbinding" is the consensus on 74-year-old Peter O'Toole's performance as an actor who traverses the landscape of love with a teenage beauty. Funny, randy script by Hanif Kureishi (The Mother).
Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory
Superb, impressionistic doco retracing the footsteps of Factory hanger-on Danny Williams, a Harvard student, gifted filmmaker and Andy Warhol's lover, who disappeared in Massachusetts in 1966.
Remarkable, moving documentary following a choir of mostly AIDS orphans from the Agape Orphanage in South Africa on their determined quest to sing in London. Spirited and uplifting.