For those in Auckland and Wellington, the New Zealand International Film Festival is now a thing of the past. But what those blinded by the big city lights might not know is that the NZIFF is still rolling its way around the smaller centres of the country (including Gore, would you believe), leaving hundreds of round-glassed hipsters quivering in its wake. For those brave enough to splash out $150 on a ten-trip pass, we salute you. For those madmen among you who went to more than ten, seek medical advice immediately. For those of you who didn’t manage to make it to any, you are foolish but don’t worry – that’s what we’re here for. Ignore the Cannes recommendations, or recommendations from anyone with questionable facial hair. These are the films you need to see.
LET THE CORPSES TAN
This film oozes style. The plot is simple enough – some people have gold, and some people want to get it off them. A ninety-minute shootout ensues, with double-crossing and triple-crossing and dodgy lawyers and brave cops and mob bosses. Only the second feature film from husband and wife duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, Let the Corpses Tan is, in short, a banger.
Imagine a film where Cristiano Ronaldo plays football against giant puppies, who adopts an refugee child who happens to be an undercover agent investigating him for tax evasion, while also being co-opted by a Portuguese Brexit-esque campaign. Or don’t imagine it, and just watch it, for a delightful mix of surrealism, 70s B-movie schtick, and a delightfully dull main character who thinks that the height of parenting is buying a kid a Samsung Galaxy S7.
ASH IS PUREST WHITE
How many gangster films put a woman at the forefront? This film, for one. Rather than focus on the intricacies of being the head of an organised crime syndicate in northern China, Ash Is Purest White puts the transfixing Zhao Tao at the centre of the action – the sacrifices she makes for her partner and the choices she has to make once things go south. It sounds cliché, but its far from. Surprisingly funny given the subject matter, and incredibly touching, Ash Is Purest White is one which will linger in your memory for a while.
MEGA TIME SQUAD
John is a small-time crook in small-town Thames, who dreams of moving to the big smoke – Hamilton. He falls in with the wrong crowd (naturally) but also manages to get hold of a magical bracelet which transports him two minutes into the past, multiplying himself in the process. John and his army of Johns wreak sweet revenge on the mob boss who did him wrong, while also trying to sleep with his sister. (The mob boss’ sister, not his own, even if the film is set in Thames).