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July 15, 2013 | by  | in Arts Film |
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A Practical Guide to the Film Festival

The New Zealand International Film Festival guide can be utterly overwhelming. It’s a tough ride – but never fear! Here at Salient we have condensed the guide into seven new categories. Super-relevant and absolutely life-affirming.

To question life choices – Critics have raved about this year’s centerpiece, The Great Beauty directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Hailed as a stylish masterpiece, to the tune of Fellini. Closing night showcases Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. Supposedly a vampire film with a point of difference. Life-changing. Also consider; Fallout.

To attend with seniors – Your grandparents would appreciate a night out! Take them along to Sofia Coppola’s new feature The Bling Ring and give them a dose of today’s celebrity culture (Paris Hilton plays herself!) Then head to Hitchcock’s 1954 3D thriller, Dial M for Murder. They might even remember it from the first time round. Also consider; Museum Hours, Gloria, My Sweet Pepper Land and The River People.

To attend on a date – Mood Indigo is a French/Belgian film directed by Michel Gondry, starring Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris. Described as a “surreal romantic tragedy set in retro-futurist Paris”, it’s hard not to be intrigued. The premise itself should give you something to discuss after, if nothing else. Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller North By Northwest is classic, beautifully shot, and a bit freaky; a great film for a date.

To attend alone – Watching a film alone can be a terrific way to spend an afternoon; moviegoing is certainly not an experience you always need to share with someone. If you fear judgment, aim for a film where the audience demographic is over 40: the likelihood of you bumping into any of your peers is significantly lower. I recommend choosing a film that your friends wouldn’t be so into, or films about ‘solitary emotional journeys’ such as Three Steps to Paradise, which is a trilogy of Love, Faith and Hope in which each film focusses on a different character seeking romantic fulfilment and evangelism.

To cause disturbance – The Source Family is a documentary about a radical 1970s cult. The warm tones of a summery ‘70s Hollywood add to the inherent creepiness of its uneasy utopia. Michael Cera and Juno Temple star in Sebastián Silva’s new film, Magic Magic, a psychological thriller set in South America in which Cera plays the bad guy, a change from his usual ‘awkward-alternative-teen’ characters. For something more concise, Animation Now is often unsettling, and a wonderful mix of art and entertainment.

To attend with children – Stop the children in your life becoming cultural deserts and bring them along with you to the delightful, Ernst & Célestine. Note that the film is in French with English subtitles, so you will need to pick a child that can read. Animation for Kids and Toons for Tots are always hilarious, vibrant and exceedingly entertaining.

To uplift – Going to the movies is a great form of escapism, and Joss Whedon’s take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing seems to be shaping up as the feelgood hit of the festival; fast-paced and full of comedic drama. The French/Portuguese upstairs/downstairs tale, The Gilded Cage, has also been hailed a comedic hit, wittily dealing with class and diversity. This year’s live cinema showcase is the 1928 film The Crowd; with a “bustling and energetic” score it’s sure to be a quality time.

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