Apocalyptic visions ignite NZFF
For My Health. Ben’s pick:
Melancholia, Denmark/Sweden/ France/Germany (2011)
It was pretty clear to anybody who saw Lars Von Trier’s last effort, Antichrist, that the impish Dane made it in a very dark frame of mind.
A bleak yet beautiful horror film for adults, Antichrist gave the 2009 New Zealand Film Festival its most contentious highlight.
Melancholia promises to leave a similar footprint on this year’s festival, if its reception at Cannes is anything to go by.
Best Actress winner Kirsten Dunst plays a troubled woman from a privileged American family, struggling to maintain her sanity on her wedding day.
As if her nuptials aren’t stressful enough, she also has the end of the world to contend with as a newly discovered planet, Melancholia, threatens to collide
Ain’t In It with Earth. These apocalyptic visions are stunningly evoked to the strains of Wagner while the tense scenes at the wedding reception bring back memories of the 1998 Dogme classic Festen.
As always, Von Trier teases a strong reaction from his female lead with Dunst giving a careerbest performance.
Love him or hate him, it’s difficult to ignore Von Trier.
Go decide for yourself deserves all the attention.
Screenings: Embassy (August 11, 3.45pm, August 13, 9.15pm). Priyanka’s pick: A Cat In Paris, Belgium/France (2010)
I’m a Francophile so this was always going to be on my list.
Plus its old-school animation moved it a couple of spaces up on the priority list.
This is directors Alain Gagnol
if he and Jean-Loup Felicioli’s first feature-length movie, and while it’s aimed at kids (nine-plus), the themes appear more mature.
Dino the cat is a best friend to Zoe, who lives with her mother Jeanne and nanny Claudine in Paris. Jeanne is the city’s police commissioner, which makes her a distracted mother, not least because she’s on the trail of gang boss Victor Costa, who murdered Zoe’s dad.
At night, Dino plays stealthy companion to cat burglar Nico, a daring Robin Hood of the rooftops.
When the cat and the cat burglar get caught up with the Costa gang, it takes the feline to put one and one together and persuade Jeanne and Zoe that the goodhearted crook is ideally placed to help them.
The trailer for A Cat in Paris shows a wonderful hand-drawn vision of Paris by night, accompanied by a retro jazz score.
At just over an hour with English subtitles, the movie should keep young children and their parents engaged. There are very few seats left for the weekend sessions so get in quick.
Screenings: Embassy (August 13, 11am – subtitled); Paramount Bergman (August 14, 1pm and 3pm – both dubbed in English). Matt’s pick: Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film about Levon Helm, United States (2010)
Not old age nor throat cancer could keep Levon Helm from making music for long.
The man, who kept the beat and bore the Southern soul of the legendary roots rockers The Band, has long been revered for his contributions to Americana music in the heady late 1960, early 1970s, but became musically relevant
Planets collide when Alexander Skarsgard and Kirsten Dunst seek blessed union in again following the release of 2007’s Dirt Farmer and its followup Electric Dirt.
Ain’t In It For My Health is billed as an intimate chronicle of Helm over a three-year period, centred on his family, his music and his pastoral life in Woodstock – an exciting proposition for any lover of Americana or American music history. His ‘‘ Midnight Rambles’’, gigs hosted at his home studio, are the stuff of legend.
You will struggle to find a musician more authentic and instep with their reputation than Helm. He embodies old-fashioned rural sensibilities, and remains a critical connection to the rock ’ n’roll windchange of 1967-68, when Bob Dylan, The Band and The Byrds headed for the sticks and came back with country-rock.
Screenings: Soundings Theatre, Te Papa ( August 12, 4.30pm; August 13, 3.30pm).
Zoe gives Dino a A Cat In Paris.
Timeless: Country-rock legend Levon Helm receives a moving portrait in
Cuddle time: hug in