Films based on books at #NZIFF 2016

Our favourite time of year has rolled around again – the NZ International Film Festival! This year’s selection is fantastically broad and thoughtful. We’ve put together a list of some of the films in the festival that are based on books or short stories for you to brush up on before you see them on the big screen.

Certain Women, directed by Kelly Reichardt. Based on the short stories “Tome”, “Native Sandstone” and “Travis B” by Maile Meloy.
Syndetics book coverHalf in love : stories / Maile Meloy.
“Fourteen remarkable stories that combine strong Western settings with a subtle and distinct female voice. This critically celebrated debut collection marks the exciting beginning of prize-winner Meloy’s promising career. Lean and controlled in their narration, abundant and moving in their effects, Maile Meloy’s stories introduce a striking talent. Most are set in the modern American West, made vivid and unexpected in Meloy’s unsentimental vision; others take us to Paris, wartime London, and Greece, with the same remarkable skill and intuition. Smart, surprising, and evocative, Meloy’s brilliantly observed stories fully engage the mind and heart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Handmaiden, directed by Park Chan-wook. Based on the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.
Syndetics book coverFingersmith / Sarah Waters.
“London 1862. Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up among petty thieves – fingersmiths – under the rough but loving care of Mrs Sucksby and her ‘family’. But from the moment she draws breath, Sue’s fate is linked to that of another orphan growing up in a gloomy mansion not too many miles away.” (Syndetics summary)

High Rise, directed by Ben Wheatley. Based on the novel of the same name by J. G. Ballard.
“Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on ‘enemy’ floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for riots and technological mayhem. In this visionary tale of urban disillusionment society slips into a violent reverse as the isolated inhabitants of the high-rise, driven by primal urges, create a dystopian world ruled by the laws of the jungle.” (Adapted from

Indignation, directed by James Schamus. Based on the novel of the same name by Philip Roth.
Syndetics book coverIndignation / Philip Roth.
“America, 1951. Marcus Messner, from Newark, New Jersey, is beginning his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio’s Winesburg College. Far away from home, in the Midwestern college, Marcus has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.” (Syndetics summary)

Julieta, directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Based on the short stories “Chance”, “Soon” and “Silence” by Alice Munro.
Syndetics book coverRunaway : stories / Alice Munro.
“In Alice Munro’s new collection, we find stories about women of all ages and circumstances, their lives made palpable by the subtlety and empathy of this incomparable writer. Three stories are about a woman named Juliet – in the first, she escapes from teaching at a girls’ school into a wild and irresistible love match; in the second she returns with her child to the home of her parents, whose life and marriage she finally begins to examine; and in the last, her child, caught, she mistakenly thinks, in the grip of a religious cult, vanishes into an unexplained and profound silence.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Life, Animated, directed by Roger Ross Williams. Based on the book of the same name by Ron Suskind.
Syndetics book coverLife, animated : a story of sidekicks, heroes, and autism / Ron Suskind.
“What if you were trapped in a Disney movie, and had to learn about life and love mostly from what could be gleaned from animated characters, dancing across a screen of colour? Asking this question opens a doorway to the most extraordinary of stories. It is the saga of Owen Suskind, who happens to be the son of one of America’s most noted writers, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind. He’s also autistic. The twisting, 20-year journey of this boy and his family will change that way you see autism, old Disney movies, and the power of imagination.” (Syndetics summary)

The Rehearsal, directed by Alison Maclean. Based on the book of the same name by Eleanor Catton.
Syndetics book coverThe rehearsal / by Eleanor Catton.
“A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency and power. The sudden and total publicity seems to turn every act into a performance, and every platform into a stage. But when the local drama school decides to turn the scandal into a show, the real world and the world of the theatre are forced to meet, and soon the boundaries between private and public begin to dissolve.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Shadow World, directed by Johan Grimonprez. Based on the book The shadow world: inside the global arms trade by Andrew Feinstein.
Syndetics book coverThe shadow world : inside the global arms trade / Andrew Feinstein ; research, Paul Holden and Barnaby Pace.
“Feinstein reveals the corruption and the cover-ups behind BAE’s controversial transactions in South Africa, Tanzania and eastern Europe and the revolving-door relationships that characterise the US Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex. The Shadow World exposes both the formal government-backed trade in arms as well as the illicit deals and lays bare the shocking links between the two. Essential reading for anyone who cares about justice, transparency and accountability in both the public and private spheres, and for anyone who believes that it is more important to invest in saving lives than in the machinery of death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Sunset Song, directed by Terence Davies. Based on the novel of the same name by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
Syndetics book coverSunset song / Lewis Grassic Gibbon ; edited with an introduction by Tom Crawford.
Sunset Song is the first and most celebrated of Grassic Gibbon’s great trilogy, A Scot’s Quair. It provides a powerful description of the first two decades of the century through the evocation of change and the lyrical intensity of its prose. It is hard to find any other Scottish novel of the last century which has received wider acclaim and better epitomises the feelings of a nation.” (Syndetics summary)