NZIFF: Satan, Maiden, and Andrew Garfield

So, I’m a bit late posting this bad boy, I’ve already bought all my tickets and I’m three films in.

The offerings this year are great. A lot of films that feel like they might have a bit of mainstream cross over power – which is where my interests lie. I’m not really an art house movie goer.

Anyway, the biggest film, the one with the most buzz, on my list is Midsommar, which I’m not seeing for a couple of weeks. I am super psyched for this film. I didn’t love Hereditary initially, but it’s grown on me. Director Ari Aster is delivering on the folk horror, which is 100 per cent my jam, so I reckon his follow up will be a banger.


The other film I’m super psyched for is In Fabric, which is some kind of 70s inspired witchcraft freak out. Agin, totally playing my tune with that one.

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Anyway, without further ado, here are the films I’m seeing in the 2019 New Zealand International Film Festival (I’ll update with Mini reviews as I see the films. I’ll post full reviews as I go along too):


Every now and then you see a film that slaps you upside the ehad and reminds you not only who you are, but why you’re here.

Maiden was that film for me. I honestly feel blessed to have seen it.

Telling the story of the first all women sailing crew to take on the infamous Whitbread Round The World Yacht Race in 1989, the film uses a pleasing blend of vintage footgae from the race and recent interviews.

It makes for compelling viewing, putting you right in the middle of the absolute quagmire of crap the women on Maiden went through to not just get through the race, but to be included in the first place.

Shocking, rage inducing, but ultimately rousing, this should be compulsory viewing for high schools everywhere. It’s a story that deserves to be trumpeted from the roof tops.
5 stars


I absolutely loved this doco about the making, and more importantly the reception of, the 1995 “erotic thriller” Showgirls, a film about a “street-smart” hot girl who climbs the seedy hierarchy from stripper to showgirl in Las Vegas.

Written by hairy creeper Joe Eszterhas and directed by Paul Verhoeven, the film ruined star Elizabeth Berkley’s career. Kyle MacLachlan and Gina Gershon, who also starred, didn’t fare much better, although the bulk of the criticism was for Berkley’s over the top performance. Brutally panned when it came out, it’s now something of a cult classic.

The quality and intent of the film are debated by critics and fans in this fun look at the making of the film.
3.5/5 stars


Secularism is enshrined in US law via the constitution and the declaration of independence, by the founding fathers who wrote them.

Now some folks think that separation of church and state is under threat and they’ll go to any lengths to stem the rising tide of Christian theocracy in state level politics. By “any lengths” I mean founding and joining the Satanic temple, calling themselves Satanists, holding black masses and generally making wonderful, dissenting nuisances of themselves whenever necessary.  By doing God’s work in other words.

The doco, by director Penny Lane, follows the temple’s attempt to block the placement of a statue to the ten commandments on State Grounds in Oklahoma and Arkansas as a frame work for examining the Christian Right’s political manoeuvres, the ignorance, hypocrisy and hubris of some Christian politicians in the US, and the power of dissent.

It’s fucking wonderful.

If you think “one should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason”, that “the struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions”, that “one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone”, that “the freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend” and that “to wilfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own”, that “beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world”, that “one should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs”, that “people are fallible”, and that “if one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused”, that “every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought” and “the spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word”, congratulations. You just might be a Satanist.
4/5 stars


Still to see:












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