The Must-See Films at Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival
The Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival has landed on our shores again, and, as per usual, there’s a massive range in the goodies you can see. Craccum, with recommendations from Thomas Giblin, highlights some of the best flicks coming up for students in Auckland.
Warning: These films will stir up all sorts of feelings, so please proceed with the understanding you may need to cry, laugh, or stare off into the distance for a little while.
Dir. Saim Sadiq
Joyland was the winner of both the Queer Palme and the Jury Prize at Cannes. The Pakistani drama film follows a middle-class family, in which a strict patriarch encourages his children to make him a grandfather. Simultaneously, his youngest son, Haider, falls for a transgender starlet. This is writer/director Saim Sadiq’s debut feature, and explores desire, family, and love (receiving an eight minute standing ovation at Cannes).
Dir. Julie Zhu, Asuka Sylvie, Michelle Ang, Nahyeon Lee, Yamin Tun, Ghazaleh Golbakhsh, HASH, Angeline Loo
This anthology film explores the immigrant experience in Aotearoa New Zealand, from the perspective of eight Pan-Asian female filmmakers. Each part sees a new filmmaker follow a new character, and the collection captures the diversity of experience in each of their lives, while also highlighting aspects that may be similar between the stories. This project follows on from the success of Waru (2017) and Vai (2019), closing the trilogy with more illuminating, vital storytelling from our country.
Sick of Myself
Dir. Kristoffer Borgli
In this dark Norwegian satire, an entirely unhealthy, competitive relationship is worsened when Signe’s artist boyfriend Thomas suddenly makes an unexpected career breakthrough. In an attempt to one-up him, Signe purposefully sabotages her health. Sick of Myself is sure to draw out some chuckles, along with cringe, and might tell a bizarre story that’s a little too relatable.
We Are Still Here
Dir. Beck Cole, Danielle MacLean, Dena Curtis, Tim Worrall, Richard Curtis, Miki Magasiva, Mario Gaoa, Chantelle Burgoyne, Tracey Rigney, Renae Maihi
This film is pioneered by ten Indigenous filmmakers from both Aoteroa and Australia, and is set at different points across a sprawling time period, including our pasts and potential futures. We Are Still Here is an intensely collaborative project, and blends various genres and styles throughout eight connected stories. It’s sure to be both a difficult and hopeful watch, with the recently released NZ trailer being an exciting look into all it has in store.
See all these films at NZIFF! To check some more recommendations, we’ve also collated a Best Dressed List in our upcoming fashion issue—keep an eye out for that!