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July 20, 2014 | by  | in Arts Film |
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NZIFF

That blissful time of year when spending all your money on films becomes even more socially acceptable is fast approaching. The New Zealand International Film Festival embraces the cultural hub of Wellington from the 25 July to 10 August with a programme which demands many circles and underlining in blue ballpoint pen. The festival always proves to be a soul-soothing couple of weeks where a spontaneous venture to whatever is on when time needs to be killed acts as the best reward for a soul-sapping day at the institution we call university. Consider it an essential part of your life education, gifting memories such as seeing a documentary about Pussy Riot with a large group of apathetically-feminist boys who only knew it involved a chance to hate on Putin and enthusiastically contributed to the most verbal abuse I have ever heard flung at a movie screen. It is never a mentally passive experience, and this year is proving to have equal potential for such mind-broadening, with a richly varied programme definitely worth dedicating time to for perusal.

An inconclusive list of 10 films to use as a starting point:

1. Maps to the Stars: Satirical portrayal of Hollywood featuring Julianne Moore (for which she won Best Actress at Cannes), John Cusack, Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska.

2. Boyhood: A unique and unprecedented film shot over 12 years following the experience of a boy evolving from childhood to manhood. It has been widely pinpointed as one of the most notable films of 2014.

3. Frank: Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Fassbender, this movie presents a quirky, satirical representation of indie-rock celebrity.

4. White God: Won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, a dramatic story about a violent canine uprising (and dogs are no longer man’s best friend).

5. At Berkley (documentary): Highly relevant to tertiary students in exploring the perspectives of both students and administrators at this incredibly famous progressive university on the challenges presented to the accessibility of tertiary education today.

6. 20,000 Days on Earth: A richly seductive documentary on the life and music of Nick Cave.

7. Joe: dark American drama starring Nicolas Cage. Enough said.

8. Under the Skin: Highly critically acclaimed, this fantasy film showcases Scarlett Johansson as an alluring alien.

9. Yves Saint Laurent: Vibrant biopic of the fashion designer.

10. New Zealand’s Best 2014: For an experience of local talent, see this selection of the top entries from the latest short-film competition.

However, the best way to find out what’s on is either online at the Festival’s website, or picking up a hard copy from locations including the Paramount and Embassy cinemas, Penthouse, Film Archive, Roxy, Unity Books, Aro Video and Te Papa.

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