Films by Genre

Documentary

Richard Riddiford

“I’d never share a rope with him” is about as damning a comment as anyone can make about a fellow mountaineer. Sir Edmund Hillary’s words about Earle Riddiford in his last autobiography set the uneasy tone of this nuanced documentary by Earle’s son Richard Riddiford.

Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross

Turner Ross and Bill Ross IV (Western, NZIFF15) turn their instinctive, unblinking documentary lens on the patrons of a grimy Las Vegas bar enjoying one last round – a glorious snapshot of Americana that’s at once dark, moving and flat-out funny.

Shalini Kantayya

“Algorithmic justice” is one of the most important civil rights issues today, says computer scientist and digital activist Joy Buolamwini, in this accessible and compelling documentary about artificial intelligence and the biased algorithms that power it.

TT the Artist

The untold story of Baltimore club music is brought to ecstatic life against the backdrop of the city’s depression, and through the black and LGBTQI+ communities galvanised by musical expression, in TT the Artist’s bristling documentary.

Vincent Boy Kars

Playing outside the boundaries of drama and documentary, this adventurous self-portrait of a 20-something artist and dancer asks the question, “if you could star in the film of your life, how would you rewrite the script?”

Demain est à nous

Gilles de Maistre

These bright young activists are the voices of their generation, fighting against extreme poverty, social inequalities and climate change. They are the children who will change the world.

Leanne Pooley

In the increasing public discourse on mental health, Leanne Pooley’s inspiring and fearless documentary tracks an extraordinary young woman’s journey from suicide survivor to advocate for those struggling. The fact it leaves you hopeful and with tangible advice makes it vital viewing.

Zhou Bing

Vivid and strikingly objective, Zhou Bing’s in-the-field documentary covering both sides of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement examines the personal and political identities at odds in this ongoing conflict.

Lauren Greenfield

Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles, NZIFF12) harnesses extraordinary access and the boastful, unrepentant nature of her subject, Imelda Marcos, in this unsettling chronicle of ill-gotten wealth and political corruption.

Sophie Dros

Intrigued by cruise ships and the people who frequent them, Sophie Dros’ fascinating documentary focuses on an extravagant Scottish Baron whose love of luxury liners masks a very human need for affection and validation.

Gregory Monro

In this fresh cinephilic appreciation, French film critic Michel Ciment’s taped interviews with Stanley Kubrick breathe new life into the legacy of one of the most celebrated and studied directors of all time.

Alexandre O. Philippe

Unpacking one of the landmark films of the 1970s, William Friedkin talks big on the secrets and success of The Exorcist in this stellar cinematic essay, framed around an epic six-day interview with the maverick director.

Małgorzata Goliszewska, Kasia Mateja

This surprisingly touching romantic odyssey documents charismatic Jola, a stylish sexagenarian embracing newly won love and liberation after an abusive, decades-long marriage.

Anna Marbrook

Director Anna Marbrook honours the last voyage of the great waka maker, sailor and mentor Ema Siope, whose journeys between Aotearoa and Sāmoa in search of healing, and her family’s reckoning with systemic abuse, are powerfully documented.

Martin Margiela: In His Own Words

Reiner Holzemer

A belated and buoyant documentary portrait of Martin Margiela, celebrated for his trailblazing designs and humble, enigmatic persona within the flamboyant fashion world.

David Osit

By turns comedic and Kafkaesque, this fly-on-the-wall doco observes the fortunes of Ramallah, an epicentre of Palestinian commerce and culture, and its tireless mayor, whose work to better the city is met with danger and frustration.

Seishin

Soda Kazuhiro

In this genuinely powerful and illuminating documentary, we step inside an outpatient mental health clinic run by a sympathetic elderly doctor to pull back “the invisible curtain” obscuring the world of Japan’s mentally ill.

Daniel Roher

The saga of The Band, whose iconic farewell concert was immortalised in The Last Waltz, continues to captivate in this new documentary shaped from the perspective of guitarist-songwriter Robbie Robertson, only one of two surviving members.

Lance Oppenheim

A peek behind the curtain of the self-proclaimed “Disneyland for Retirees”, first-time director Lance Oppenheim’s humorous and bittersweet documentary follows four recent arrivals as they search for the American Dream.

Sergei Loznitsa

Compiling rare found-footage into an unnerving visual essay on Stalin’s cult of personality, this disquieting film observes the notorious Soviet leader’s 1953 funeral procession – and with it, the end spectacle of a tyrannical regime.

Ze Noemen me Baboe

Sandra Beerends

Indonesia’s shifting colonial landscape is examined through startling archival footage and the remarkable story of one nanny who, while caring for a Dutch family, braved occupation and social upheaval to find her own independence.

Lala Rolls

Lala Rolls’ fascinating quest to examine what happens to a Tahitian high priest and navigator when he travels across the pacific – and further on towards England as a translator and guest (or is it as a living trophy?) – aboard Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour.

Ai Weiwei

The great Ai Weiwei, giant of contemporary Chinese, activist and human rights art, directs with breathtaking outrage this soul-searching documentary on the devastation of a Mexican community gutted by a mass abduction of students.

Aasta täis draamat

Marta Pulk

Nourishing and unexpectedly moving, director Marta Pulk’s documentary takes us to theatre-mad Estonia, where a young, inexperienced woman wins a job to watch and critique every theatre production in a calendar year.

Seishin 0

Soda Kazuhiro

This essential follow-up to Soda Kazuhiro’s taboo-breaking documentary on mental illness in Japanese society revisits the pillar of that film, Dr Yamamoto Masatomo, as he prepares to bid his patients farewell and enter into retirement.