Read your way around the New Zealand International Film Festival 2018

Let’s take a walk on the cinematic side! Here are the movie-related books from this year’s Christchurch leg of the New Zealand International Film Festival (it’s on from Thursday 2 August to Sunday 19 August):

Based on Books

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Border

Based on the short story ‘Border’ from his anthology Let the Old Dreams Die by Let the Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist, this genre-defying supernatural romantic thriller draws us into the mysterious life of a gifted outsider.

Breath

Actor Simon Baker’s directorial debut is an adaptation, with Top of the Lake writer Gerard Lee, of Tim Winton’s celebrated novel Breath.

Burning

A love triangle and mystery based on a Haruki Murakami short story ‘Barn burning’ in the book The Elephant Vanishes.

Disobedience

Set inside the conservative community of Orthodox Judaism, Sebastián Lelio’s graceful adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel Disobedience is a probing look at the illusion of freedom in both religious and secular life.

Juliet, Naked

Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd are perfectly cast in this romcom, based on Nick Hornby’s novel Juliet, Naked about an indie rock obsession that leads to romance.

Lean on Pete

A profoundly moving account of life on the margins of America, based on Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin.

Leave no trace

New Zealand actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie is mesmerising as 13-year-old Tom living off the grid with her war vet father. Based on the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Chloë Grace Moretz delivers a heartbreaking and nuanced performance as a queer teen shipped off to a gay conversion camp in Desiree Akhavan’s touching drama based on the novel The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth.

You were never really here

A startling, nerve-shredding thriller about a brutal hitman contracted to save an abducted teen. Based on the novel You were never really here by Jonathan Ames.

NZIFF-related Books

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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Find books and resources about actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr

Celia

Find books by New Zealand author and social commentator Celia Lashlie.

If I leave here tomorrow: A film about Lynyrd Skynyrd

Music by – and books about – the band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Kusama – Infinity

Books about the artist Yayoi Kusama.

McKellen: Playing the part

Books about actor Ian McKellen, and movies that star him, and more.

McQueen

Books about designer Alexander McQueen.

Merata: How Mum decolonised the screen

Books and films by – and about – New Zealand filmmaker Merata Mita.

Paul Callaghan: Dancing with Atoms

Books by New Zealand scientist Paul Callaghan.

RBG

Books about Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Music by composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Books about – and by – fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

and – of course, there is a movie about ONE OF US  …

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

Follow the Festival

Visit our page about film for movie resources and information.

New Zealand International Film Festival 2017

Today the Christchurch programme for the New Zealand International Film Festival was launched.

Every year the New Zealand International Film Festival screens a range of films. It’s Christchurch’s turn from 3 August to 20 August.

Literary films at the Festival

If you like movies based on books — or want to read the book before you see the movie — there are plenty of films for you at the 2017 Christchurch leg of the NZ International Film Festival. Thanks to the Film Festival organisers for providing us with some of the following information:

CoverA Monster Calls
A story-telling monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) helps a sleeping boy with his waking-life nightmares in this adaptation of Patrick Ness’ novel, spectacularly realised with lavish CGI and painterly animations.
Based on the novel A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

A Woman’s Life (Une Vie)
A literary adaptation of a story by Guy de Maupassant styled with striking immediacy, Stéphane Brizé relates the tragedy of an adventurous young 19th-century noblewoman harshly judged for an unfortunate marriage.

Bill Direen: A Memory of Others
A documentary about New Zealand musician Bill Direen.
Find books and music by Bill Direen in our collection.

Call Me By Your Name
This gorgeous and moving adaptation of André Aciman’s acclaimed novel, directed by Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love), stars Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet as lovers in sun-kissed northern Italy.
Based on the book Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

CoverCitizen Jane
A documentary capturing the showdown in the 1950s between the activist Jane Jacobs and the trumpian urban planner Robert Moses: as she fights preserve urban communities in the face of destructive development projects.
Based on The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

CoverEthel and Ernest
This animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ graphic memoir of his parents’ lives is both humble and profound, with gorgeous renderings of Briggs’ justly famous lines. Featuring the voices of Jim Broadbent and Brenda Blethyn.
Based on the graphic novel memoir Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

Heal the Living
A catastrophic accident leaves one family in ruins and bestows another with precious hope in a hospital drama immeasurably enhanced by the delicate sensitivity of Katell Quillévéré’s script and the poetic force of her direction.
Based on Mend the living by Maylis de Kerangal

I Am Not Your Negro
A documentary based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, exploring the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s reminiscences of civil rights leaders.

Lady MacBeth
Florence Pugh is mesmerising as she transmutes from nervous bride to femme fatale in this bracing British period drama based on the 19th-century Russian classic by Nikolai Leskov – Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.

CoverThe Lost City of Z
Charlie Hunnam makes a commanding flawed hero as British Amazon explorer Percy Fawcett in a sweeping giant screen epic, filmed with rare intelligence by writer/director James Gray. With Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson.
Based on the novel by David Grann, The Lost City of Z

No Ordinary Sheila
A documentary exploring the life of New Zealand writer Sheila Natusch who has written over 30 books including Animals of New Zealand, The Cruise of Acheron, Hell and High Water and Wild Fare for Wilderness Forager. No Ordinary Sheila is a documentary about her life, times – and places.

CoverStalker
Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 masterpiece, like his earlier Solaris, is a free and allegorical adaptation of a sci-fi novel, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic.
See also the book about the movie Stalker – Zona: A book about a film about a journey to a room by Geoff Dyer.

Swallows and Amazons
Four children (the Swallows) on holiday in the Lake District (UK) sail on their own to an island and start a war with rival children (the Amazons).
Based on the book Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

To Stay Alive: A Method
This Dutch documentary film is based on Michel Houellebecq’s 1991 essay To Stay Alive, about struggling artists, the role of the poet, and mental health problems. It features marginal artists as well as Houellebecq and the rock singer Iggy Pop.
Read books in our collection by Michel Houellebecq

Una
A young woman arrives unexpectedly at an older man’s workplace looking for answers as to their shared past in an abusive sexual relationship.
Based on the play Blackbird by David Harrower

More information

Te Reo Māori, ake, ake, ake

As Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori draws to a close we can all stop using our newly learned kupu and vastly improved pronunciation until next year, right?

KAO. (That’s a big NO, just in case you were wondering)

You can use te reo Māori and embrace the arts and culture of indigenous New Zealanders any time. And in Christchurch we’ve got some great opportunities coming up to do just that so let’s keep the poro rolling with –

Te Kupu o Te Wiki

Every Monday on this blog there’ll be a kupu hou (new word) to add to your vocabulary, complete with a link where you can listen online so no worries about not getting your pronunciation tino tika.

E Hoa

Māori art vector prints by Dallas Matoe and Lino cuts by George Aranui, until 15 August at Linwood Community Arts Centre/Eastside Gallery.

New Zealand International Film Festival logoEver the land

NZIFF documentary about the planning and building of New Zealand’s first “living building”, Te Wharehou o Tūhoe. This is no Grand Designs, it’s much more than that. Session on 15 & 16 August.

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2015

This year’s expression of ‘Ngā Whanaunga’ – which means relatedness and connectedness between peoples – is realised with films from Aotearoa, Hawaii, Samoa and Tuvalu. Session on 19 & 23 August.

The Price of Peace

Investigative journalist Kim Webby’s documentary about Tūhoe activist Tame Iti and the Urewera Four. A portrait of a man and his “rightly embittered philosophy”. Session on 10 & 11 August.

Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses

Documentary about the tragic death of Janet Moses in 2007 as the result of a mākutu lifting by her family. Session on 17 & 18 August.

Modern Māori Quartet

These guys are the business. Don’t believe me? Check out their te reo version of Lorde’s Royals and then tell me one of their shows wouldn’t be a great night out.

Tickets for their 10 & 11 September gigs are selling fast so kia tere!

Christchurch Arts Festival logoNgā Tai o Kurawaka: He Kura e Huna Ana

He Kure e Huna Ana is a Pounamu creation story of Poutini and Waitaki but one which develops with the help of the audience. At the Court Theatre 8-10 September.

Rama Tuna

Priscilla Cowie (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kahu, Nga Puhi, Ngati Pakeha) presents a new sculptural installation honouring the tuna or long finned eel. View it between 28 August and 13 September at The Arts Centre Market Square.

All about Yves – a passion for fashion

I love fashion, and am glad to see the New Zealand International Film Festival has a trio of fashiony movies:

Saint Laurent

The latest French biopic of the iconic fashion designer is a heady experience, stunningly realised without official YSL approval, and concentrating on the decade that culminated with a triumphant collection in 1976

The library has the other recent YSL biopic Yves Saint Laurent. I watched in the weekend – the actor who played Yves nailed his fragility and fierce glamour.  Find more YSL stuff at the library.

Cover of Yves Saint Laurent Cover of Rare bird of fashion Cover of Women I've undressed

Iris

Colourful fashionista Iris is one of my style heroines. Big glasses, accessories piled on.  Check out the book Rare bird of fashion for a closeup look at her fabbo gear, and Advanced Style (book or movie) if you want to see some more older style goddesses.

Iris talked to Noelle last weekend on Radio New Zealand Saturday morning.

Women he’s undressed

Gillian Armstrong’s doco celebrates the colourful Orry-Kelly, the Australian-born designer who dressed Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca, Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot and Bette Davis in many of her greatest roles.

We have the splendid looking book on order.

Fashion docos and movies in our collection you might like to watch include:

And just to tantalise your fashionbuds – here’s some new books to swoon over:

Cover of Girl in Dior Cover of Alexander McQueen Cover of Charles James Cover of Fashion Visionaries Cover of Japanese fashion cultures Cover of London Society Fashion Cover of Marcel Rochas Cover of Vivienne Westwood

Aunty and the Star People: Documenting Lives

Gerard SmythOne of the most successful films at the New Zealand International Film Festival had a New Zealand author as its focus: Jean WatsonAunty and the star people explores the “fascinating double life” of Jean Watson (author of Stand in the rain) who started a children’s home in Southern India. It was completely sold out during the Festival and will be released in cinemas very soon.

Gerard Smyth (the director of Aunty and the star people) and Jean discussed her life and work in India as part of WORD Christchurch.

28 years ago, Joy Cowley invited Jean to accompany her to India to explore her interest in religion. During the trip, Joy had to rush home but Jean decided to stay. She says she’s been there “ever since, emotionally when not physically”.

For the last 27 years, Jean has set up, funded and run Karunai Illam, a Children’s home in India where children from dysfunctional or destitute homes live and attend school. They now also have a school and vocational training community college. There are currently 43 children in the home and 269 attending the day school. Jean spends about three months a year in India. She says “When I’m there, I forget about here. When I’m here, I can’t forget about there.”

Jean first found literary success with Stand in the Rain, a fictionalised account of her life with Barry Crump. Gerard described this novel as meeting “with huge acclaim”. Jean countered with “Not huge acclaim.” “Some acclaim.” Gerard compromised, Jean clarified with “Well, there weren’t many writers then…” Needless to say, Jean is very humble. She said “my ordinary life seems described as extraordinary in the media, to me it is an ordinary life, maybe I should make it more extraordinary.”

Throughout her career, Jean has met many New Zealand literary luminaries:

  • Bob Lowry: He gave Jean a job after he inadvertently got her fired from the Salvation Army by showing up to visit her in an inebriated state. Jean said he was renowned as the best typographer in New Zealand and taught her how to set up type.
  • Dennis Glover: “Very sort of sarcastic, open person. You could never take offence at him. I remember him calling me a middle aged Ophelia. Whatever that means.”
  • Janet Frame: Jean met her when she was trying to get a reference to get into University from Frank Sargeson. Janet eventually wrote her a reference as well. “Just a young lady with red hair who seemed to me extremely nice and empathetic.”
  • Joy Cowley, long-time friend and Patron of Karunai Illam, said “Unwrapping Jean’s writing takes you to  place beyond words.” Jean now wants to focus on her existential writing, similar to Address to a King, complete her autobiography and write a follow-up chapter for Karunai Illam, her book describing the establishment and running of Karunai Illam. Although her goals may change; when Gerard reminded her that “55 [her age when she started the Illam – ed.] is quite old to start a new life.” She countered with “I don’t know, maybe I’ll start a new one tomorrow. Time is an illusion.”

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Film Festival Literary Connections

The New Zealand International Film Festival is coming to Christchurch in August and we recently chatted to the Festival Director, Bill Gosden about cinematic books that inspired him.

Book cover of The new biographical dictionary of filmBill said he was indebted to Dunedin Public Libraries where he had his unofficial film education while at high school. Titles that helped spur his interest in film included:

Take a look at our collection of movie related resources to get some inspiration for your future-film-festival-directing endeavours. If you are more interested in watching films than curating them however, there are a bunch of films in the Festival that have literary connections. We’ve got a list of them on our website, as well as a list of upcoming film and TV adaptations  and a huge list of books that have previously been filmed. Here are some of the highlights:

There are a lot more titles on our list. Let us know in the comments if we have missed any literary connections in this years Festival.

 

NZ International Film Festival programme announced

Cover of the Film Festival brochureThe New Zealand International Film Festival programme has been released and we caught up with its Director, Bill Gosden, to discuss what Christchurch audiences should head out to see.

Bill says this year is the biggest so far for Christchurch Film Festival audiences with over 90 films screening at Hoyts cinemas. Nick Paris (Christchurch publicist for the Festival) described the programme as being filled with “contagious cinematic bling”.

The Festival has films for all ages, including children. The NZIFF received a harsh letter from some 7 year old festival-goers a few years ago who deemed the “Animation for Kids” programme “Animation for BABIES”. In light of that stinging criticism, the festival now provides two animated programmes for kids, one aimed at 3 – 6 year olds: Toons for Tots, and the other aimed at 7 – 10 year olds: Animation for Kids 2014Toons for Tots features adaptations of two popular children’s books: The legend of the golden snail by Australian master Graeme Base and the hilarious I want my hat back by Jon Klassen.

If you’ve been enjoying your movies for longer than 3 – 10 years though, Bill pointed out two movies that star modern cinema legends: Isabelle Huppert in Folies Bergère and Catherine Deneuve in In The Courtyard. If you like your stars more local or literary, here are some films that strike a literary or local chord include:

Book Cover of Selected Works of TS SpivetBill encourages Christchurch cinephiles to take on the Film Festival films. He and his team have spent months viewing over 800 films across the world in order to bring Film Festival audiences “the most interesting films of the year. One effect of being able to bring films digitally to the Festival is that there are quite a few films that viewers haven’t heard much about as they are so new.” Festival attendees have the opportunity to be the first in the world to check them out.

Tickets go on sale Friday 18 July and the Festival runs from 7 – 24 August. On the Film Festival website you can timetable in your viewing pleasures and make sure you don’t double-book yourself. Programmes are also available from our Libraries.

Making the most of the New Zealand International Film Festival

The Christchurch leg of the New Zealand International Film Festival has just recently finished. While I may be a little late with this blog there are ways to keep engaging with festival entrants. I am certainly going to be keeping my eyes peeled to see if some of the films I missed get a general release, are purchased for the library’s DVD collection or come to Alice in Videoland. The programme  is currently still available online, and the festival is still going on in other parts of the country.

A number of festival films were adapted from books –  this listing is a very handy resource if you want to find details of the books they were based on. For further inspiration, the library website has a list of upcoming film and TV adaptations  and a huge list of books that have previously been filmed.

Cover of What Maisie KnewSlightly overwhelmed by choice I ended up going to two films right at the end of the festival. I had been rather put off Henry James by the 1997 version of The Wings of the Dove, but the combination of Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Alexander Skarsgård tempted me along to What Maisie Knew.

This was a well crafted film, directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, about a young girl, Maisie, caught in the middle of her parents’ bitter split. The film is quite literally told from Maisie’s point of view (a wonderful performance from Onata Aprile) with the adults in her life appearing and disappearing, and by turn loving her, abandoning her and using her as a bargaining tool.

Cover of Much Ado about NothingI was also part of a large audience who appeared to thoroughly enjoy Joss Whedon’s elegant take on Much Ado About Nothing. Featuring Whedon regulars Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof as Beatrice and Benedick and filmed in atmospheric black and white, it was shot in 12 days at Whedon’s own Santa Monica house.

This was a confident, hilarious and slightly sozzled modern dress version of Shakespeare’s popular romantic, but slightly sinister, comedy (Shakespeare must have invented the rom-com, right?). Also appearing were Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk as incompetent crime fighters Dogberry and Verges.

What did you see at the film festival? What do you hope to catch up with at a later date? What films (or TV shows) have inspired you to read the book?

Getting a movie fix

CoverPost quakes I have been movie-starved with all my favourite cinemas out of action. In the last month as part of a major “pull yourself together and get on with it”, I have been watching more movies including two visits to actual cinemas (one was to a popcorn palace I wouldn’t normally frequent).

I’ve also watched movies on television and borrowed some from our library collection which I now realise is quite varied and extensive.

Just look at the range in the latest arrivals  in the last month. A fistful of dollars, Giant, Pale rider, Hawaii – some oldies there. Then more recent releases like Tron legacy, Sister smile, Seraphine,  Silent wedding.

Actors from Ricky Gervais to Maggie Smith to John Malkovich to Julie Andrews. Directors from George Stevens to Costa-Gravas to Sergio Leone to Stephen Frears.

I’m looking forward to the New Zealand International Film Festival but in the meantime – the library movie collection is my happy place.

Exit Through the Giftshop

Cover image of "The Birth of Graffiti"This weekend I headed along to the 2010 New Zealand International Film Festival to see Exit Through the Giftshop, the (supposed) documentary directed by and featuring Banksy, enigmatic street artist extraordinaire. Deciding there’s a better story to tell than his own, Banksy turns the camera on one of his more interesting admirers Thierry Guetta. In true Banksy style, the film manages to make clever observations about popular culture in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way that you can’t help but grin at.

Thierry Guetta, you see, is a man on a mission. He takes his video camera wherever he goes and records everything he sees, desperate to capture each moment before it is lost forever. Introduced to the art of graffiti through his cousin, the Invader, he becomes obsessed with following various street artists as they sneak around the city at night with their spray cans and stencils. One serendipitous moment leads to the next, and Thierry’s biggest wish comes true – he gets the opportunity to meet the elusive Banksy. He becomes Banksy’s accomplice, helping him paint elephants and cause havoc at Disney Land, all the while with camera in hand. Eventually Banksy realises Thierry is not the documentary maker he has made himself out to be, and encourages him to ditch his film-making ambitions and start graffiti-ing the town instead. Thierry embraces Banksy’s instructions like God himself has spoken to him. He is reborn as Mr. Brainwash and sets out to take street art to a whole new level…

My favourite bit? Watching Thierry sit in the LA sun in all his 70s shirts and sideburns glory, waxing lyrical about his passions. His French accent and confused use of the English language makes him the new Bruno in my eyes. I’ll be quoting him for weeks to come. Oh, and the TV monster was AWESOME.

While Exit Through the Giftshop clearly points and laughs at the art world, you get the feeling that Banksy is having a bit of a giggle at his audience too. Hoax or not, it’s one worth seeing. Brilliant.