NZ International Film Festival 2019.

NZ International Film Festival 2019

26 July - 11 August

The New Zealand International Film Festival has rather meagre selection for lesbians this year unlike the riches in 2018. The full programme will be available online at the Festival website, and in print at the usual venues - movie theatres, libraries, Unity Books etc. Tickets now on sale.

The list of films below is taken from the information already on the Film Fest website.

The programmes for other centres are available on Lesbian Aotearoa.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Winner of Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at Cannes, Céline Sciamma’s striking 18th-century tale of romantic obsession burns bright with female desire and the craft of a masterful filmmaker.
Sciamma ventures back to the late 1700s and to majestic coastal Brittany to recount the tale of Marianne and Héloïse, and of the portrait that engenders their encounter. ... more

Sat   3 Aug, 6pm Embassy Theatre
Tue   6 Aug, 6:15pm Penthouse Cinema sold out
Wed  7 Aug, 12:30pm Embassy Theatre
Sat  10 Aug, 7:45pm Light House Petone sold out

Also of interest

The list below is an eclectic mix of films by and about women, queer films, Kiwi films ... whatever

Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace

In 1972, 29-year-old Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul’, wishing to return to her gospel roots, chose to record an album live at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, a disused movie theatre, in Watts, Los Angeles. She was ably accompanied by the accomplished musicians of her regular touring band; the heavenly Southern California Community Choir, conducted by a rocking Alexander Hamilton; mighty Reverend James Cleveland, himself a gospel singer, songwriter and arranger, who taught Franklin piano; and her own father, the great preacher C.L. Franklin.
Rescued from 45 years in legal and technical limbo, this extraordinary music film capturing Aretha Franklin in full flight deserves your respect – and the biggest screen and sound system possible ... more.

Fri   2  Aug, 6:30pm Embassy Theatre - sold out
Sat  3  Aug, 6pm Reading Cinemas Porirua - sold out
Fri  9 Aug, 11:15am Embassy Theatre - selling fast
Sat 10 Aug, 4:15pm Roxy Cinema - sold out
Mon 12 Aug, 6:15pm Embassy Theatre - sold out

... but this one looks ripe for general release

Varda by Agnès.

Festival showcase: Agnès Varda

The Festival's annual showcase celebrates the life and work of Agnès Varda, a French New Wave filmmaking pioneer, with five films featured in Vive la Varda! Retrospective.

Varda by Agnès

The late, great French filmmaking icon’s swansong is a magical self-reflection on art, movies, invention and Agnès Varda’s own lust for life inside and outside of the cinematic frame ... more


Bakers, grocers, butchers and other local characters pose for this lovely portrait documentary of the residents of a humble street in Paris which Agnès Varda called home for over 25 years. ... more

Jacquot de Nantes

An affecting, gorgeously rendered cinematic love letter from Agnès Varda to her husband, the great The Umbrellas of Cherbourg director, Jacques Demy ... more

Le Bonheur

Agnès Varda’s beautiful, quietly unsettling depiction of a young marriage strained by an affair examines the complexities of love and happiness ... more


An unforgettable Sandrine Bonnaire won the Best Actress César, and Agnès Varda Venice Film Festival’s top prize, in this defiantly feminist masterpiece ... more

Women in Cinema

Women in Cinema.

Four documentaries about women who have made outstanding contributions to film.

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché

Blending archival footage with interviews from A-listers Ava DuVernay, Geena Davis and Agnès Varda, among others, Green’s fizzy doco dives into the birth of motion pictures, and the pioneering woman who was there from the start ... more

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael

Wittily illustrated and packed with quotations from her film reviews (read by Sarah Jessica Parker), Rob Garver’s doco explores New Yorker writer Pauline Kael’s evolution from failed playwright and struggling single mother to critical powerhouse ... more

Making Waves: the Art of Cinematic Sound

Director Midge Costin (a feature film sound editor for over 25 years) and her crew of predominantly female film practitioners draw together interviews with an extraordinary line-up of filmmakers, editors and sound specialists to show the viewer just how crucial, and yet virtually ‘invisible’, the craft of sound design is to the movies we love ... more

This Changes Everything

You thought #TimesUp was a new initiative? Think again. This Changes Everything is the rallying cry lovers of cinema, supporters of women, and those who just aspire to see a fairer, more equitable industry have been waiting for ... more

and more ...


Set in Casablanca’s Old Medina, this nuanced tale of female solidarity transcending temperamental difference captivates through the richly detailed performances of two superb actresses ... more

American Woman

A sweeping character study centred on a teenager’s disappearance – and a mother’s determination to live through the tragedy – in blue collar Pennsylvania ... more


Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) are thirty-something best friends in Dublin, where partying hard is still their way to have fun, but the reality of getting older is getting harder to ignore ... more

Ask Dr. Ruth

As her 90th birthday approaches, irrepressible Dr Ruth, the famed American sex therapist, reflects on her life and career in a film as spirited as she is ... more


Set in Leningrad, 1945, Beanpole explores the devastating aftermath of war – and of one of the worst sieges in history – through the emotionally shattering portrayal of two women as they struggle to adjust to civilian life in the ravaged city ... more

Births, Deaths & Marriages

Director Bea Joblin’s spirited debut feature boasts snappy dialogue and spot-on performances from a cast including Geraldine Brophy, Sophie Hambleton and Jamie McCaskill. A pungent kiwi slant on classic domestic farce ... more

Brittany Runs a Marathon

Jillian Bell (Workaholics, Rough Night) stars in this Audience Award-winning Sundance comedy about a New York slacker who takes up running in the hopes of getting her life back on track ... more


Radha Mitchell is radiant as a retiring diva in this intoxicating tale of love, betrayal and Schubert’s lieder set in a remote and beautiful enclave of bohemian community in the North Queensland rainforest ... more

Crystal Swan

Determined to follow the siren’s call of house music and escape the confines of her 90s Eastern Bloc existence, a young DJ’s aspirations are dented when she’s forced to prove the reality of a bogus job on her visa form ... more

Florianópolis Dream

Argentinian actor-turned-director Ana Katz helms this Brazilian family holiday comedy that strikes deeper chords in its exploration of independence, marriage and aging, at a beach paradise ... more

For Sama

Shot over five years, Waad al-Kateab’s intimate, Cannes award-winning film addresses her baby daughter and delivers a harrowing account of the war in Aleppo, the devastation wrought on the city, its people and children ... more

God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya

Teona Strugar Mitevska’s Macedonia-set satire charts the empowering, thought-provoking journey of a woman who challenges patriarchy and gender equality while finding herself in the process ... more

Helen Kelly - Together.

Helen Kelly - Together

An intimate, inspirational portrait of Helen Kelly in the last year of her life, Together tells the story of a woman whose advocacy and generosity changed the lives of countless New Zealanders ... more

In My Blood It Runs

Told from the perspective of an insightful 10-year-old Aboriginal boy, this sensitive documentary considers the value of an education that balances the integrity of indigenous lifeways against persistent colonisation ... more

The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão

A saga of sisterhood for the ages, Madame Sata director Karim Aïnouz’s sensual ‘tropical melodrama’ won top prize at this year’s Cannes Un Certain Regard section ... more


A third-rate porn producer’s most ambitious film yet may also be her most costly in this murderously kitschy homage to giallo, Grand Guignol and old school slasher movies ... more

Leftover Women

Following three successful, determined and single women deemed sheng nu (leftover), directors Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia paint an affecting profile of finding and defining love in modern day China ... Wellington


A saga of sisterhood for the ages, Madame Sata director Karim Aïnouz’s sensual ‘tropical melodrama’ won top prize at this year’s Cannes Un Certain Regard section ... more


Utilising a treasure trove of archival footage, director Alex Holmes celebrates the history of Maiden Great Britain, the first all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race ... more

Maria by Callas

This adoring documentary captures the life, art – and, above all, spine-tingling talents – of a diva extraordinaire revered by opera devotees and ripe for discovery by everyone who’s not ... more

Martha: A Picture Story

Meet New York’s legendary-yet-unlikely street art photographer who influenced a whole generation of graffiti artists – and at the age of 75, is still capturing beauty on the fringes, with verve ... more

New Zealand’s Best 2019

The year’s best New Zealand short films ... Wellington

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2019

A collection of Maori and Pasifika short films ... more

The Nightingale

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, Jennifer Kent’s brutal revenge saga is an unrelenting reckoning with white male oppression – and not for the faint of heart ... more

Nina Wu

This fiery Cannes title challenges the #MeToo movement’s popular discourse with a confronting and complicated tale of consent and abuse, based on its lead actress’ own experiences in the movie industry ... more

Port Authority

Debuting writer-director Danielle Lessovitz weaves a boy-meets-trans girl romance about identity and belonging around the New York underground ballroom scene ... more


Exploring psychotherapy, boundaries and obsession, Justine Triet’s film deliciously portrays the creative crisis of a shrink-wannabe-author, who steals her actress patient’s story for a novel ...more

Song Without a Name

Replete with starkly beautiful black and white photography, this affecting arthouse thriller from first time Peruvian director Melina León is based on a real-life case of child trafficking ... more

Take Me Somewhere Nice

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Rotterdam, this delightfully absurdist road movie channels Jarmusch and Kaurismäki in telling the story of a young woman visiting Bosnia to find her estranged father ... more

The Third Wife

Inspired by her family history, Ash Mayfield’s directorial debut is a delicate and sensuous journey of a young Vietnamese girl torn between duty to her much older husband and her blossoming sexuality ... more

Working Woman

Tense and full of real complexities, this Israeli workplace harassment drama follows Orna – a soldier, wife, mother and working woman pressured by her boss’ unorthodox demands ... more

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