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Whanau Marama / New Zealand International Film Festival Wrap-up

I only managed 4 films at this years NZ International Film Fest, as opposed to some of those who watched 40+ films (I salute your madness) & sadly missed my screening of TITANE due to a band practice that ran long. Thoughts below:

ZOLA: if you’ve read the original twitter thread or Rolling Stone article about an exotic dancer & her trip to Florida with her new friend Stefani, her boyfriend & pimp, then there is nothing new here apart from an enjoyably wild ride, told well with great performances. Fun but not a lot more.

3.5 stars.

WOODENHEAD: this retro screening of @florianhabicht ’s 2003 film had been restored to colour (the original is in B&W) & was a first time watch for me. A very NZ take on Grimm Brothers fairytale, set in the lush landscapes of Northland & filled with hobos, carnies & junkyard owners, its a wild, magical experience with a suitably varied & evocative score by @marc.chestmusicI really enjoyed seeing this original vision on the big screen.

5 stars.

CATCH THE FAIR ONE: this sleek, brutal thriller follows Native American boxer Kaylee (a stunningly naturalistic performance from boxer Kali Reis who also co-wrote) searching for her missing younger sister. The film digs into the dark underbelly of missing indigenous women in North America. Feels like an antidote to the white saviour aspect of the similarly themed Wind River. Dark & unflinching.

4 stars.

THE SADNESS: gnarly slice of ultra violence & depravity from Taiwan based Canadian filmmaker Rob Jabbaz. Really should of been called The Madness as a viral infection turns Taipei’s residents into flesh shredding, taboo shattering maniacs. Really well made but ultimately feels like shock for shocks sake rather than trying to say something.

3.5 stars


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