From Cannes to Aotearoa: The Films Coming in Hot From the City of Cinema

From Cannes to Aotearoa: The Films Coming in Hot From the City of Cinema

Published: Thursday 20 June 2024


Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has today announced the selection of 16 films in the 2024 programme which are coming to the festival straight off the back of this year’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival. It is a showcase of the very best of international cinema, and includes celebrated directors and award-winning performances. 

These films represent a pinnacle of global cinema,” says NZIFF 2024 Artistic Director Paolo Bertolin. “We are excited to bring such a rich and varied selection to Aotearoa, and we know these films will inspire, challenge, and enchant our festival-goers.” 

Featuring in the “Big Nights” strand as the Closing Night Film of NZIFF 2024 is The Substance, a satirical feminist body horror by Coralie Fargeat. Starring Demi Moore, Margaret Qualley, and Dennis Quaid, the film, which won Best Screenplay at Cannes, tells the story of a fading celebrity who uses a black-market drug to temporarily create a younger, better version of herself. 

The programme’s “Fresh” strand features films from Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and Un Certain Regard sections. Good One by India Donaldson (daughter of New Zealand cinema legend Roger Donaldson) captures the dynamics of a father-daughter relationship during a backpacking trip in the Catskill Mountains. To A Land Unknown by Mahdi Fleifel portrays the tumultuous quest of a Palestinian refugee in Athens. Trương Minh Quý’s Viet and Nam offers a poignant journey of young miners in Vietnam, while Mo Harawe’s The Village Next to Paradise depicts a family’s struggle with modern challenges in Somalia. Agathe Riedinger’s Wild Diamond rounds out the strand, presenting the story of a young woman aspiring for stardom in southern France. 

The “Widescreen” strand showcases films that offer expansive and thought-provoking narratives. Hu Guan’s Black Dog, awarded the Cannes UCR Prize for Best Film, explores the bond between a man and a stray dog in China. Mohammad Rasoulof’s The Seed of the Sacred Fig, which took home the Special Jury Prize, Ecumenical Jury Prize, and FIPRESCI Prize, delves into the intense world of an Iranian judge amid political turmoil. Boris Lojkine’s The Story of Souleymane, which garnered multiple accolades including the UCR Jury Prize and Best Performance Award, presents a Paris food delivery cyclist’s desperate bid for legal residency. Rúnar Rúnarsson’s When the Light Breaks is a touching exploration of grief and secrecy. 

All We Imagine As Light by Payal Kapadia, the first Indian film in 30 years to compete at Cannes and the winner of the Grand Prix, is a dreamy romantic drama following two women in Mumbai navigating the complexities of love. It will feature in the “Visions” strand, along with Gints Zilbalodis’ Flow, a visually enchanting tale of survival amid a great flood, and Miguel Gomes’ Grand Tour which earned the Best Director Award and depicts a civil servant’s journey across Asia in 1917 while fleeing his wedding. 

The festival’s “Journeys” strand highlights Armand by Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel. This incredible debut, which won the Caméra d'Or for Best First Feature, tells the tumultuous tale of a mother and her young son in Norway. 

In “Treasures”, NZIFF presents two classics that featured at Cannes: Chantal Akerman’s restored film American Stories: Food, Family and Philosophy, which humorously explores the tales of Jewish immigrants in 1989 New York City, and Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas returns in stunning 4K, a timeless exploration of loss and redemption and a powerful testament to Wenders’ cinematic prowess. 



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