The New Zealand International Film Festival Launch/ You’re Next

25 Jun

film fest

Last night Auckland’s cinephiles gathered together once again to celebrate the launch of the New Zealand International Film Festival. This year marks something of a double anniversary, this being the 45th NZIFF, and as many of you will remember, it was also around this time last year that The Rag opened it’s digital doors with our coverage of the 44th NZIFF.

In that time there have been some notable changes. Perhaps more so than in previous years, the festival has procured a wealth of films by lesser known directors, and starring lesser known actors as festival director Bill Gosden attested to last night. While this means audiences will be required to take a leap of faith and gamble on movies they may have heard little about, one thing that certainly has not changed  is that each film has been meticulously vetted by the organisers for its artistic merit and entertainment value, making them some of the safest cinematic bets around. Additionally, after last year’s transition to DCP, both the Academy cinemas and the Rialto have equipped themselves in time for the festival, making for a more full scale return to these venues.

Choosing favourites from the truly inspired programme (made available on stands today as it happens) is as difficult as ever, with a wealth of quality homegrown and international films on offer. Stand outs include Anthony Chen’s Camera d’Or winning first feature, Ilo Ilo fresh from Cannes; Geoff Murphy’s highly anticipated Utu Redux, the latest incarnation of his ground breaking 1983 picture; Steven Soderbergh’s larger than life Behind the Candelabra, the moving and much biopic on the life of entertainer Liberace starring Michael Douglas; and festival closer Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch’s achingly hip artist/vampire flick.

Last night though, I had the pleasure of taking in an early screening of Adam Wingard’s debauched horror You’re Next. The film follows the Davidson family as their seemingly innocent family reunion goes horribly, horribly wrong; escalating into a night of terror that is undeniably the stuff of nightmares. Packed to the rafters with belly laughs and gut wrenchingly realistic violence, the film is on par with classics such as Scream and Last House on the Left. Home and Away’s  Sharni Vinson leads a stellar cast in a deliciously deviant take on the teen girly survival film, which is sure to impress even the hardest of horror critics. Certainly a film not to be missed in this years line up.

The New Zealand International Film Festival is, as ever, reliant on ticket sales to continue to bring the finest films from around the globe to our shores. It’s up to you to vote with your feet to ensure that the dedicated team at NZIFF can continue to do the work they do so well, and which is needed more than ever in these trying cinematic times. Go on, get booking!

 

Ed.

 

The festival programme is out now. A full list of films and sessions is available from: http://www.nziff.co.nz/

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