Films by Genre

Women Make Movies

The Arbor

Clio Barnard

Revelatory, complex and moving documentary about the legacy of British playwright Andrea Dunbar (Rita, Sue & Bob Too) whose incisive portrayals of working class life, from the time she was 15, mirrored her own.

Asylum Pieces

Kathy Dudding

Changes in official attitudes to mental illness from the 19th century until now are reflected in the architectural history of New Zealand’s psychiatric institutions, in Kathy Dudding’s poetic, emotionally-loaded essay film.

A Film Unfinished

Yael Hersonski

This horrifying indictment reveals the full hour of much-quoted footage shot and subsequently abandoned by SS cameramen in 1942 in the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw – and encourages us to consider exactly why it was ever made.

The Free China Junk

Robin Greenberg

Robin Greenberg (Huloo) uncovers the remarkable adventure of five inexperienced young fishermen who set off from Taiwan in 1955 to cross the Pacific in an old junk. Frank and funny interviews complement superb colour footage of their voyage.

From Poverty Bay to Broadway

Lydia Monin

Fascinating, lavishly illustrated story of the successful life and career of boxer Tom Heeney, New Zealand’s first international sporting hero, and contender in New York for the World Heavyweight title in 1928.

Gordon Crook: A Life of Art

Clare O'Leary

A charming and illuminating encounter with artist Gordon Crook, who settled in Wellington from the UK in 1972 and has produced a wealth of drawing, collage, photography, painting and tapestry.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Radiant Child

Tamra Davis

Moving, illuminating portrait of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, graffiti artist and party boy who became an art world star at 21. Never-before-seen footage. “Definitive.” — Moving Pictures

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Annie Sundberg, Ricki Stern

“Pioneer comedian. Plastic-surgery freak. Red-carpet maven. Foul-mouthed shock artist. No matter how you think of her, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is likely to expand your idea of who, exactly, Joan Rivers is.” — San Francisco International Film Festival


Jessica Hausner

Lourdes takes viewers deep inside the famous religious shrine while providing a subtle drama about hope, faith and the random nature of miracles. “As magically, richly ambivalent as life itself.” — Financial Times

Love, Lust & Lies

Gillian Armstrong

Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career) has been documenting the lives of three Adelaide women since they were 14. We meet them now at 47. “A moving and challenging insight into the heroism of ordinary lives.” — ABC Radio

Melody for a Street Organ

Melodiya dlya sharmanki

Kira Muratova

This moving, extravagantly realised tale of two children lost on the streets of Kiev is a new masterpiece by the brilliant Kira Muratova (The Aesthenic Syndrome) and a damning vision of the post-Soviet era.

The Oath

Laura Poitras

Absorbing, challenging critique of the ‘War on Terror’ interweaves the stories of two brothers-in-law: one Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard (now driving a cab in Yemen), the other a Guantánamo Bay prisoner charged with war crimes.

Please Give

Nicole Holofcener

Nicole Holofcener’s (Lovely & Amazing) spiky comedy of liberal guilt delivers a pleasingly rounded portrait of a handful of lively Manhattan women, bound together by family ties and real estate envy. With Catherine Keener.

The Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island

Suzanne Raes

Twenty-five years after the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, this Dutch documentary recalls the events and examines activism past and present with six of the original crew members now living on Waiheke.

The Runaways

Floria Sigismondi

Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, front girls of the 70s-era teen proto-punk sensation, The Runaways. “The sheer force of the girl-power energy… will leave you jumpy.” — Vanity Fair

Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields

Kerthy Fix, Gail O’Hara

Fascinating, funny portrait of Stephin Merritt, the notoriously bad-tempered writer of beguiling literate American pop, and his band the Magnetic Fields. “Will intrigue and entertain even those unfamiliar with their music.” — Time Out

There Once Was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho

Briar March

On Takuu, a tiny low-lying atoll in the south-west Pacific, the impact of climate change is real and immediate. NZer Briar March’s intimate, award-winning portrait of island life makes this confrontation with global crisis a vividly personal one.

The Tree

Julie Bertuccelli

French director Julie Bertuccelli brings a startled outsider eye to this poetic Australian/French movie about a young widow (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her little daughter’s solemn obsession with a giant tree.

Waste Land

Lucy Walker

Brazilian art star Vik Muniz recycles garbage to make gigantic portraits of Rio’s amazingly upbeat garbage recyclers in this inspiring Sundance Audience Award-winning doco. Music by Moby. “A joy.” — Hollywood Reporter

White Material

Claire Denis

Isabelle Huppert is mesmerising as a French coffee plantation owner refusing to budge from a West Africa riven with civil war in Claire Denis’ immersive new drama. “Gripped me from start to finish.” — Sight & Sound

Women without Men

Zanan bedoone mardan

Shirin Neshat

In images of arresting purity and composure, expatriate Iranian photographer and video artist Shirin Neshat elaborates a haunting sense of women’s lives and options in Iran in 1953. Best Director, Venice Film Festival.