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  • lebah buayawati
    Jun 26, 2008
      From: Yamin [mailto:yamin@.... nz]
      Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 9:10 PM
      To: Yamin
      Subject: Films of spirituality, humanism, ethical and religious themes at the Wellington Film Festival July-Aug 2008
      Tena koe,
      Films of spirituality, humanism, ethical and religious themes at the Wellington Film Festival July-Aug 2008
      I am contacting you regarding the 2008 Wellington International Film Festival taking place between July 18 - August 3. We have some fantastic films this year, with a particularly strong field of films on spirituality, humanism, social and religious themes. The films are:
      1.      Hunger
      2.      It’s a Free World…
      3.      Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
      4.      Boy A
      5.      Waltz with Bashir
      6.      Silent Light
      7.      The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins
      8.      The Sky, the Earth and the Rain
      9.      Stranded: I’ve Come from a Plane that Crashed on the Mountains
      10.  Mechanical Love
      11.  One Hundred Nails
      12.  Secret Sunshine
      13.  If We Knew
      Further information about each film is provided below and in the attached document. I have also attached a flyer with overviews of films about human rights issues.
      We are really thrilled to have these films as part of our programme and would greatly appreciate your support in helping us tell your network about the films in advance.
      If your organisation has a publication/ newsletter/ website/noticebo ard in which you could include some information about these films, we would be most grateful. I am more than happy to supply you with any further information you may require, and we also have some terrific images for these films which I can email through to you.
      Venue details, dates and sessions are confirmed for Auckland and Wellington and are available in the festival brochure and online at www.nzff.co. nz. In most venues there are discounts for group bookings.
      Please don’t hesitate to call me if there is any further information you require and, once again, thank you!
      Please let me know if you are NOT happy to receive further information on these or any of the films at the New Zealand Film Festival via email, and apologies for any inconvenience caused.
      Films – further detail
      1.       Hunger
      Director: Steeve McQueen
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 96 mins
      Festivals: Cannes (Un Certain Regard) 2008

Camera d‘Or (Best First Film), Cannes Film Festival 2008
      Best Film, Sydney Film Festival Official Competition Award 2008
      British artist Steve McQueen‘s formidable Hunger is a searching and provocative deliberation of martyrdom. It is astounding that this feature, so assured and effective in its dramatic changes of tone, could be anybody‘s first. Nothing else stood a chance of winning the Camera d‘Or for the best debut at Cannes this year. McQueen has created a triptych, depicting three stages in the experience of Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) whose death from self-imposed starvation remains a disturbing emblem of IRA intransigence. Each part of the film is distinct and masterful in its effect. Part one throws us into Maze Prison and a maelstrom of passive resistance and its violent suppression. Part two is a conversation of the most fluid and persuasive articulacy between Sands and his priest as they debate the repercussions of his planned hunger strike. Part three is an eerily condensed rendering of his physical decline. — BG

      "McQueen‘s depiction of the ordeal of Sands and his fellow inmates in the Maze Prison may have the unapologetic overtones of a religious passion, but it‘s a very scrupulous and detached film, as well as an intensely angry one... Hunger is long on images, short on words - except for a masterly extended dialogue between Sands and his priest. Directed with unfailing control, Hunger is an artist‘s film, in the best sense - a sense of intense spareness and resonance." — Jonathan Romney, The Independent

      "The film is a British revelation. McQueen is a raw talent with an innate feel for the language of cinema... Hunger escapes narrative convention and transcends politics to become a meditation on the human spirit." — Jason Solomans, The Observer
      18 Jul | 11:30am | Paramount
      25 Jul | 7:30pm | Paramount
      2.       It’s a Free World…
      Director: Ken Loach
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 96 mins
      UK/Italy/Germany/ Spain/Poland
      Festivals: Venice , Toronto , Pusan 2007
      Best Screenplay, Venice Film Festival 2007
      Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty (My Name Is Joe, The Wind that Shakes the Barley), veteran masters of social realism, return with one of their most involving character-centred dramas. Angie is a feisty East Ender, a solo mum who loses her job in a recruitment agency and sets up an agency of her own, placing semi-legal immigrants. A sexy blonde dynamo on a motorbike, she strikes deals and dishes out jobs to Polish, Ukrainian and Chilean workers for construction sites and clothing factories. The deeper she gets into this dodgy business, the more she is determined to prove her mettle, defying her old unionist dad, her nervous business partner and her own generous nature. Loach and Laverty dramatise the human price of free market enterprise with every risk she takes and every choice she makes. Actress Kierston Wareing, a Loach discovery, is dynamite. — BG.
      31 Jul | 11:30am | Embassy Theatre
      1 Aug | 6:15pm | Embassy Theatre
      3 Aug | 3:45pm | Penthouse Cinema
      3.       Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
      Director: Jim Brown
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 93 mins
      With: Pete Seeger, Toshi Seeger, Bob Dylan, Natalie Maines , Tom Paxton, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez
      Festivals: Tribeca, Amsterdam Documentary 2007
      This rousing, affectionate biographical portrait of singer/activist Pete Seeger, now in his late 80s, is also an overview of 20th-century American folk music. How could it be otherwise? In the 50s, with his band the Weavers, he took folk music to the hit parade. In the 60s he turned "We Shall Overcome" into the anthem of the civil rights movement. He was kept off American television for 17 years on account of his left-leaning views, but never lost his audience. Jim Brown's highly enjoyable film weaves superb archival footage with testimony from family, friends, some well-known admirers and the man himself. — BG.
      "As certain to get audiences singing as the man himself... a terrific, multilayered portrait of a singer whose legacy extends beyond music and into every major social action movement since the 40s... each song and concert performance [is] gorgeously reproduced in what used to be called ‘living stereo'." — Jay Weissburg, Variety
      30 Jul | 1:00pm | Penthouse Cinema
      31 Jul | 6:15pm | Penthouse Cinema
      2 Aug | 5:15pm | Embassy Theatre
      4.       Boy A
      Director: John Crowley
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 100 mins
      Festivals: Toronto , London 2007; Berlin , Tribeca 2008
      Special Jury Prize, Berlin Film Festival 2008
      Playing a young man who has grown up in detention after committing an appalling crime as a child, actor Andrew Garfield galvanises Boy A with a performance of James Dean-like yearning and raw sensuality. Setting out at 25 to begin rehabilitated life, he faces myriad challenges in relating to the world through an assumed identity. "Jack" craves the one thing his proud and solicitous case worker (Peter Mullan) warns him he can never have: total acceptance. As he falls in love with the brash Michelle, his desire for honesty becomes more and more unnerving. Meanwhile, images from the past flood the tabloids that bay daily for "Boy A"‘s life-long incarceration. Garfield‘s intensely sympathetic performance places the film firmly in favour of the right of juvenile offenders to a second chance. But there‘s complex recognition in his gripping story that society‘s reluctance to forgive is only the first obstacle to beginning life afresh. — BG
      22 Jul | 6:30pm | Paramount
      23 Jul | 4:00pm | Paramount Bergman
      23 Jul | 7:00pm | Paramount Bergman
      5.       Waltz with Bashir
      Director: Ari Folman
      Year: 2008
      Running time: 87 mins
      Festivals: Cannes (In Competition) 2008
      A declaration of cinema‘s power to entrammel us in extremity and a filmmaker‘s power to cleave to his own complex experience with such fearlessness that it infiltrates the wider consciousness. Ari Folman‘s incendiary exposure of his own part as a drafted Israeli soldier in abetting a 1982 massacre of Palestinian refugees stunned audiences at Cannes this year. The blogosphere rages with theories as to why this brilliantly original, shattering film left the Festival prizeless. — BG

      "If any of us were wondering why an unknown Israeli director‘s animated quasi-documentary about a largely forgotten war was scheduled so prominently [at Cannes], we‘re not wondering now... Waltz with Bashir is a remarkable, haunting and intense work, quite unlike any animated film I‘ve ever seen... Hand drawn in a crude, colorful underground- comics style, it captures Folman‘s struggle to recapture his lost memories of what he saw and what he did during Israel‘s ill-fated 1980s war in Lebanon... While trying to work his way out of a severe depression, Folman contacted many of his former military comrades, along with a psychiatrist friend and a neurologist who specializes in memory impairment. The film combines pieces of these interviews with fragmentary episodes drawn from these men‘s memories, dreams and perhaps fantasies... At least in part, the subject of Waltz with Bashir is the unreliable and fantastic quality of memory itself... It‘s a
      provocative, strange and arresting film, whose unusual blend of style and substance should reach a large worldwide audience." — Andrew O‘Hehir, salon.com

      31 Jul | 4:15pm | Embassy Theatre
      3 Aug | 8:30pm | Embassy Theatre
      6.       Silent Light
      Director: Carlos Reygadas
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 142 mins
      Mexico/France/ The Netherlands
      In Plautdietsch with English subtitles
      Festivals: Cannes (In Competition) , Toronto , New York , Pusan 2007; Rotterdam , Sydney 2008
      Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2007
      From the incredible opening shot that condenses a stunning dawn into five intense minutes to its symmetrical closing one, we're in the hands of a gifted filmmaker. Carlos Reygadas' (Japón) third feature won the Cannes Jury Prize last year, and it is a film that takes him close to the filmic heights of his heroes Tarkovsky, Dreyer and Bresson. The story is as simple as a parable: a culturally isolated Mennonite family in rural Mexico reaches a crisis when the patriarch falls in love with another woman. Honest Johan confides his shifted affections to his wife, Esther, with catastrophic results. The austerity of the story is offset by the ravishing physicality of the landscape, captured in precise widescreen compositions and slow tracking shots worthy of Kubrick. Reygadas' stylistic influences are so diverse - Kiarostami, Antonioni, Altman - and his deployment of them so confident and intelligent that this is one of the finest films of 2007. — AL
      26 Jul | 6:00pm | Soundings Theatre, Te Papa
      28 Jul | 10:30am | Embassy Theatre
      7.       The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins
      Director: Pietra Brettkelly
      Year: 2008
      Running time: 98 mins
      New Zealand
      Music: Anika Moa
      In English, Italian and Dinka, with English subtitles
      DigiBeta/M nudity
      With: Vanessa Beecroft, Greg Durkin, Jeffrey Deitch, Lia Rumma, Matthu Placek, Alexa Hoyer
      Festivals: Sundance, Edinburgh 2008
      New Zealand filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly’s Sundance-acclaimed documentary provides an intimate and revealing encounter with Vanessa Beecroft, a compulsively visible art-world performer and provocateur whose recent works frame western responses to the tragedy in Darfur . We meet her in South Sudan working on the now notorious portrait of herself as the Madonna breastfeeding baby Sudanese twins. She is also fighting a legal battle to adopt these supposed orphans. Brettkelly, who’d never heard of Beecroft until they met in Sudan, was chosen by the artist to make a film that would explore the concept of ’performance’ as it might apply to her private life. Though we’re privy to some awesome displays of egotism from Beecroft, the tone of the film is one of intrepid curiosity, not exposé. The portrait of an artist in whom life and art and privilege are indissolubly merged is fascinating, utterly of our time, and bound to provoke many arguments. —
      31 Jul | 6:15pm | Soundings Theatre, Te Papa
      1 Aug | 11:15am | Soundings Theatre, Te Papa
      8.       The Sky, the Earth and the Rain
      Director: José Leiva
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 110 mins
      Chile/France/ Germany
      In Spanish with English subtitles
      Festivals: Rotterdam 2008
      A poetic meditation on solitude, this masterful debut frames its characters within the imposing, rugged setting of a rural coastal area in Chile . The natural elements, captured in striking painterly compositions, and an understated soundtrack are deployed to reflect the inner states of the film‘s protagonists. Ana, a withdrawn young woman, divides her time between her job at a store and caring for her invalid mother. She traverses forest and fields, lost in the landscape, as she goes about her daily routine, occasionally spending time with her friend Veronica and the latter‘s troubled sister, Marta. After she is fired, Ana finds work cleaning for Toro, a taciturn orchardist, as lonely as she is. Emotion, not plot, is at the core of this accomplished film, whose meticulous formalism invites viewers to flesh out backstory, while contemplating the minute transformations wrought by time upon the characters. — SR
      30 Jul | 4:00pm | Film Archive
      30 Jul | 6:15pm | Film Archive
      9.       Stranded: I’ve Come from a Plane that Crashed on the Mountains
      Director: Gonzalo Arijon
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 127 mins
      In Spanish with English subtitles
Colour and B&W/DigiBeta
      Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2007; Sundance 2008

Best Film, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2007
      This riveting documentary strips away the sensationalism that has accrued around the survivors of the 1972 Andean air crash to reinstate their experience as one of the great instances of heroic human endurance. Ten days after their plane crashed in the frozen mountain wilderness, the surviving passengers, most of them 19-year-old members of a Uruguayan rugby team, heard on the radio that they had been given up for dead. More than two months later two of them set out through blizzards and interminable waist-deep drifts, in threadbare clothing, without equipment, hoping to arrange the rescue of their remaining 14 friends. Mixing the testimony of the survivors with vérité-styled reenactment, Stranded renders their ordeal grippingly real. Filmmaker Gonzalo Arijon was a childhood friend to many of them, which may be why they chose to end their long public silence for his film. He doesn't shrink from the grisly details, but shows how these educated, mostly
      God-fearing young men confronted their situation with exceptional perseverance and a grave understanding of their moral choices. — BG
      "Stranded is just as interested in how they survived what came after - the doubts, the shock of a titillated and uncomprehending public fed by sensational news reports... They're not ashamed of what they did, but you can feel their sorrow and sadness at the same time, and it's that contrast - between what they did to live and what they do to live with that - which pulls you in as these graying, everyday men tell the incredible story of the 72 days in their youth when they were going to die far from home." — James Rocchi, Cinematical
      19 Jul | 1:15pm | Film Archive
      20 Jul | 3:45pm | Paramount
      23 Jul | 12:00pm | Paramount
      10.   Mechanical Love
      Director: Phie Ambo-Nielsen
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 79 mins
      Director/Screenplay /Photography: Phie Ambo
      In Danish, English, German, Italian and Japanese, with English subtitles
      Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2007
      "What makes a robot human? What is human likeness?" Professor Ishiguro ponders while his "geminoid" (i.e. real-person based android) twin hovers alongside. Disconcertingly phlagmatic that his wife might settle for his robot self, Ishiguro is less upbeat at the thought that his young daughter might not need him anymore should he manage to imbue the android with sanzai-kan - that human presence without which the droid doesn‘t feel alive to us. But he‘s working on it anyway. For in a world where the elderly are outnumbering the young, a dearth of caregivers is certain and therapeutic interactive robots are the way of the future. One such creature, Paro, a seal-lookalike invented by another Japanese team, is already providing revitalising companionship to an elderly woman in a nursing home - and upsetting the staff with its wailing. Worse, Paro, satisfyingly responsive to nurturing, inspires more affection than real folks. Compelling, disquieting and
      droll, this gaze at relationships ahead vividly illustrates the age-old need to love. — SR
      2 Aug | 10:30am | Film Archive
      2 Aug | 2:15pm | Film Archive
      11.   One Hundred Nails
      Director: Ermanno Olmi
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 92 mins
      In Italian with English subtitles
      M low level offensive language
      Festivals: Cannes , Toronto , Vancouver , London , Pusan 2007; Rotterdam , San Francisco 2008
      Ermanno Olmi (The Tree of Wooden Clogs) announced at 75 that this would be his last feature. Though it begins as an investigative thriller, it’s essentially the simple tale of a young Bologna professor who turns his back on the world of learning (dramatically, by driving nails through 100 leather-bound tomes) and finds his way into a small riverside community where traditional life is threatened by modernisation. There he is accepted as if he were Christ himself. Olmi parallels many New Testament stories and figures, and echoes The Da Vinci Code too, particularly in his depiction of the priesthood. (He is coy about the status of his protagonist’s relationship to the Mary Magdalene equivalent.) Much of the film is an exquisitely photographed idyll of life on the banks of the Po . The benign picture of natural harmony, beatific humanity and divine mystery radiates a deep sense of tranquillity and pleasure. — BG
      “This profoundly Catholic, profoundly personal fable veers, like many Olmi films, between the seemingly inept and the spellbindingly innocent, magical in its tenderness, its striking visuals and its unpredictability. Don’t miss.“ — Geoff Andrew, Time Out
      “’Are books more important than having coffee with a friend?’ asks the heretical professor. Is the cinema more important than the natural beauties it captures? One Hundred Nails is, as they say, an ’old man’s film’, with no sense of propriety whatsoever, happily if not joyously at odds with itself. Thematically and stylistically speaking, it is an oasis amidst the endless buzzing of an aggressive film culture.“  — Kent Jones, Film Comment
      19 Jul | 1:45pm | Embassy Theatre
      20 Jul | 6:00pm | Penthouse Cinema
      12.   Secret Sunshine
      Director: Lee Chang-dong
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 142 mins
      In Korean with English subtitles
      M violence, sex scenes
      Festivals: Cannes (In Competition) , Toronto , New York , Vancouver , London , Pusan 2007; Rotterdam 2008
      Best Actress, Cannes Film Festival 2007
      The most admired Korean film of 2007 defies genre and synopsis. Its changing moods reflect the fortunes of the young mother at its centre as she repeatedly absorbs the impact of unforeseeable events. Actress Jeon Do-yeon's elucidation of her spiritual turmoil is incandescent.
      "Lee Chang-dong's (Oasis) movie possesses the fullness and complexity of a great novel, revealing new layers the deeper we move into it. It begins as the story of a recent widow and her young son adjusting to their new lives in a small town that suddenly, without warning, becomes a thriller and then a Bressonian study in human suffering. Lee guides Secret Sunshine through these switchblade reversals of comedy and despair, darkness and light with remarkable agility... Jeon Do-yeon fearlessly navigates the movie's turbulent emotional currents, slowly revealing the extraordinary inner strength and grace of a seemingly fragile, uncertain woman." — Scott Foundas
      25 Jul | 8:15pm | Soundings Theatre, Te Papa
      27 Jul | 12:30pm | Soundings Theatre, Te Papa
      13.   If We Knew
      Director: Peter Lataster, Petra Lataster-Czisch
      Year: 2007
      Running time: 78 mins
      The Netherlands
      In Dutch with English subtitles
      M adult themes
      Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2007
      Profound and sometimes distressing, this powerful film tracks from up close the staff of a Dutch intensive care neo-natal ward as they care for severely premature newborns. The technology at their disposal allows life to be sustained where death would once have been inevitable, thereby giving rise to grave ethical considerations. Is it right to inflict further suffering in the endeavour to save lives when the odds of succeeding are low; what "quality of life" awaits babies when treatment could result in serious disabilities; if a baby cannot survive without being hooked to a machine, then what "life" is it living? Faced with these questions on a daily basis, these dedicated paediatricians have established a rigorous protocol, but one which has caused an outcry: Dutch paediatricians have been accused of taking a Nazi-like view of their life and death powers. This close encounter leaves us in no doubt that this team is utterly scrupulous and that they are
      reminded daily that the power of medical science has its limits. — SR
      28 Jul | 6:15pm | Film Archive
      29 Jul | 2:45pm | Film Archive
      Kind regards,
      Special Interest Coordinator New Zealand Film Festival Trust
      DDI + 64 4 802 3141 |  Email: yamin@.... nz   |  Website: www.nzff.co. nz
      Our myspace page features a weekly blog you can sign up to, trailer of the week and selected images from some of our films. Please also send us comments, or ask us for recommendations from the nearly 200 films on show at the Festival! www.myspace. com/nzff
      Register on our website with just your name and email address to customise your experience of the Festival through the Internet, and be in to win prizes throughout the year www.nzff.co. nz

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