New Zealand High Commission London, United Kingdom
New Zealand Film Festival 1-3 July 2011
This year, as part of the City of London Festival (1), Barbican Film presents from 1 to 3 July, the New Zealand Film Festival, a showcase of the latest films from New Zealand, along with the best recent releases and shorts.
On Friday 1 July, Academy Award-nominated director Taika Waititi opens the festival with his latest crowd-pleaser Boy, which has broken box office records at home. Waititi returns to the Barbican on Saturday 2 July for a Q&A following the groundbreaking comedy Eagle Vs Shark.
Also on Saturday 2 July, actress Celeste Wong introduces a special preview screening of Roseanne Liang’s latest film My Wedding & Other Secrets. And the programme for the rest of the weekend features a rich crop of recent features and shorts that reflect and celebrate this unique land, including comedy (Sione’s Wedding), documentary (The Topp Twins – The Untouchable Girls), drama (In My Father’s Den) and thriller (Tracker).
Supported by the New Zealand High Commission, the New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand’s Ministry for Culture and Heritage and The NZ-UK Link Foundation.
Friday 1 July
7.30pm – Boy (NZ 2010 Dir. Taika Waititi 87 min) (15*) + Two Cars, One Night (NZ 2003 Dir. Taika Waititi 11 min) introduced by director Taika Waititi
Taika Waititi’s latest feature Boy is set in 1984, in his hometown in the rural East Coast, where eleven-year-old Boy is being raised by his Nan. Left in charge of his younger brother and a tribe of abandoned cousins, he indulges in his favourite obsessions, worshipping Michael Jackson, a girl called Chardonnay and his absent father. But when his inept parent and would-be gangster returns home to retrieve buried loot, reality dawns hard on his adoring son. Directing with a light touch, Waititi draws remarkable performances from the young cast and stars as the feckless father. This coming-of-age tale of fallen heroes and shattered dreams is the top-grossing film of all time at the New Zealand box office.
Waititi's Oscar-nominated tale of pre-teen rivalry and friendship Two Cars, One Night is a reminder that sometimes love is found in the most unlikely places, and for 10-year-old brothers, even in the car park outside the Te Kaha pub...
Saturday 2 July
3.30pm – Eagle Vs Shark (NZ 2007 Dir. Taika Waititi 88 min) (15) + Tama Tu(NZ 2005 Dir. Taika Waititi 17 min)followed by a Q&A with director Taika Waititi
Starring Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords, Waititi’s first feature is a brilliantly observed Kiwi misfit comedy. Lily (Loren Horsley) is an awkward fast food waitress, inexplicably attracted to Jarrod (Jemaine Clement), a narcissistic video game geek intent on exacting revenge on his high-school bully. Whilst Jarrod is driven to humiliating extremes in attempts to redeem himself in the eyes of those around him, Lily is the only person drawn closer. Perfect performances all round, including Joel Tobeck as Lily’s wonderfully odd big brother.
Sundance hit Tama Tusees a squad of Maori troops in WWII Europe silently entertain themselves in a destroyed house while waiting to enter the coming battle.
6.00pm – Special Preview: My Wedding & Other Secrets (NZ 2011 Dir. Roseanne Liang 88 min) (PG*) introduced by actress Celeste Wong + Take 3 (NZ 2008 Dir. Roseanne Liang 12 min)
For overachiever Emily Chu, life is pretty sweet, until she accidentally falls for James, a European New Zealander who doesn’t quite fit her traditional Hong Kong-born parents’ idea of a perfect match. Based on director Roseanne Liang’s real-life cross-cultural romance, My Wedding & Other Secrets is a Romeo and Juliet story with a Kiwi-Asian twist. With Matt Whelan and Michelle Ang.
In Berlin film festival favourite Take 3, three Asian actresses transcend their rivalry in one gleeful act of solidarity, joining forces against racism.
8.30pm – Sione’s Wedding(NZ 2006 Dir. Chris Graham 97 min) (15*)
Chris Graham’s 2006 comedy Sione’s Weddingis one of the biggest New Zealand box office hits of all time. With their drunken antics, Auckland friends Michael, Albert, Stanley and Sefa cause chaos at every wedding they attend, so groom-to-be Sione issues an ultimatum to his wayward friends – bring a date to the wedding or you’re barred. Starring Oscar Kightley and Iaheto Ah Hi.
Sunday 3 July
3.30pm – The Topp Twins – The Untouchable Girls (NZ 2009 Dir. Leanne Pooley 82 min) (12A*)
One of the top ten highest-grossing films of all time at the New Zealand box office, award-winning documentary The Topp Twins – The Untouchable Girls is a portrait of the all-singing, dancing and yodelling twin sisters and lesbian comedy duo Lynda and Jools Topp. It traces their story from a happy upbringing on a Waikato dairy farm to champions of Kiwi gay rights; from fringe figures to the cultural ambassadors they are today.
6.00pm – Tracker (UK/NZ 2010 Dir. Ian Sharp 97 min) (12A)
Tracker is set in1903, when an embittered ex-Boer war guerrilla accepts a job tracking a Maori whaler, on the run accused of murdering a British soldier. As the pair pit their wits against each other, respect and understanding develops, but the British troops are closing in, intent on seeing the wanted man hang. Top-notch performances from Ray Winstone and Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors), but the real star is the magnificent New Zealand landscape.
8.00pm – In My Father’s Den (NZ 2004 Dir. Brad McGann 127 min)(15)
In My Father’s Den is Brad McGann’s critically acclaimed debut feature. A world-weary war reporter’s return home opens old wounds, but breathes life into a teenage girl longing for escape. As their relationship develops, tension mounts amongst friends and family, until her sudden disappearance puts him at the centre of a police investigation where long-kept secrets are drawn to the surface. Stunning performances from Matthew MacFadyen, Miranda Otto and Emily Barclay.
(1) For more info about the City of London Festival, see colf.org
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