Films based on books at #NZIFF 2017

We love movies based on books, and we love the New Zealand International Film Festival! Maybe you’ve read the book and want to see the adaptation, or maybe you just think “I’ve heard of that!” Whatever the reason, check out the great films based on these literary works during this year’s festival.

Berlin Syndrome directed by Cate Shortland. Based on the novel Berlin Syndrome.
Syndetics book coverBerlin syndrome / Melanie Joosten.
“One afternoon, near the tourist trap of Checkpoint Charlie, Clare meets Andi. There is an instant attraction, and when Andi invites her to stay, Clare thinks she may finally have found somewhere to call home. But as the days pass and the walls of Andi’s apartment close in, Clare begins to wonder if it’s really love that Andi is searching for a or something else altogether. Berlin Syndrome is a closely observed and gripping psychological thriller that shifts between Andi’s and Clare’s perspectives, revealing the power of obsession, the fluidity of truth, and the kaleidoscopic nature of human relationships.” (Syndetics summary)

Blade of the Immortal directed by Miike Takashi. Based on the manga series Blade of the Immortal.
Syndetics book coverBlade of the immortal [1] : blood of a thousand / art and story, Hiroaki Samura.
“To end his eternal suffering, he must slay one thousand enemies! Manji, a ronin warrior of feudal Japan, has been cursed with immortality. To rid himself of this curse and end his life of misery, he must slay one thousand evil men! His quest begins when a young girl seeks his help in taking revenge on her parents’ killers… and his quest won’t end until the blood of a thousand has spilled!” (Syndetics summary)

Call Me By Your Name directed by Luca Guadagnino. Based on the novel Call Me By Your Name.
Syndetics book coverCall me by your name / André Aciman.
Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Ethel & Ernest directed by Roger Mainwood. Based on the graphic novel by Raymond Briggs.
Syndetics book coverEthel & Ernest / Raymond Briggs.
“Ethel & Ernest is the story of Raymond Briggs’s parents lives from their first chance encounter to their deaths. Their story provides a social history of the lives of two ordinary people living in England during the 20th century. Through Ethel and Ernest the reader learns how the average person coped with the many changes in the 20th century including, the dark days of the Second World War, the birth of the Welfare State and the advent of television. Told in Brigg’s unique strip-cartoon format.” (Syndetics summary)

Heal the Living directed by Katell Quillévéré. Based on the novel The Heart.
Syndetics book coverThe heart : a novel / Maylis de Kerangal ; translated by Sam Taylor.
“Just before dawn on a Sunday morning, three teenage boys go surfing. Returning home, exhausted, the driver lets the car drift off the road into a tree. Two of the boys are wearing seat belts; one is sent through the windshield. He is declared brain-dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. His heart is still beating. The Heart takes place over the twenty-four hours surrounding a fatal accident and a resulting heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a woman close to death. In gorgeous, ruminative prose it examines the deepest feelings of everyone involved–grieving parents, hardworking doctors and nurses–as they navigate decisions of life and death.” (Syndetics summary)

In Times of Fading Light directed by Matti Geschonneck. Based on the novel by Eugen Ruge.
Syndetics book coverIn times of fading light : the story of a family / Eugen Ruge ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
In Times of Fading Light begins in September 2001 as Alexander Umnitzer, who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, leaves behind his ailing father to fly to Mexico, where his grandparents lived as exiles in the 1940s. The novel then takes us both forward and back in time, creating a panoramic view of the family’s history: from Alexander’s grandparents’ return to the GDR to build the socialist state, to his father’s decade spent in a gulag for criticizing the Soviet regime, to his son’s desire to leave the political struggles of the twentieth century in the past. With wisdom, humor, and great empathy, Eugen Ruge draws on his own family history as he masterfully brings to life the tragic intertwining of politics, love, and family under the East German regime.” (Syndetics summary)

Jasper Jones directed by Rachel Perkins. Based on the novel by Craig Silvey.
Syndetics book coverJasper Jones : a novel / Craig Silvey.
“Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it’s here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper’s horrible discovery. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Lost City of Z directed by James Gray. Based on the book by David Grann.
Syndetics book coverThe lost city of Z : a legendary British explorer’s deadly quest to uncover the secrets of the Amazon / David Grann.
“Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was the last of a breed of great British explorers who ventured into ‘blank spots’ on the map with little more than a machete, a compass and a sense of purpose. In 1925, the last great blank spot in the world was in the Amazon. Fawcett believed the jungle held a secret to a large, complex civilization, which he christened the City of Z, but is also known as El Dorado. When he and his son embarked upon their journey into the Amazon they warned that none should follow them in the event that they did not return. They vanished without a trace. In The Lost City of Z, David Grann ventures into the hazardous wild world of the Amazon to retrace the footsteps of the great Colonel Fawcett and those who followed in a bracing attempt to solve a mystery centuries in the making.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A Monster Calls directed by J. A. Bayona. Based on the novel by Patrick Ness.
Syndetics book coverA monster calls : a novel / by Patrick Ness ; from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd ; illustrations by Jim Kay.
“The monster showed up just after midnight. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. Winner of the National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year Award 2011.” (Syndetics summary)

My Friend Dahmer directed by Marc Meyers. Based on the graphic novel by Derf.
Syndetics book coverMy friend Dahmer : a graphic novel / [text and illustrations] by Derf Backderf ; [editor, Charles Kochman].
“In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer–the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper–seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, “Jeff” was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche–a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Swallows and Amazons directed by Philippa Lowthorpe. Based on the novel by Arthur Ransome.
Syndetics book coverSwallows and Amazons / Arthur Ransome ; illustrated by the author with help from Miss Nancy Blackett.
“The Walker children — also known as Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty, and Ship’s Boy Roger — set sail on the Swallow and head for Wild Cat Island. There they camp under open skies, swim in clear water and go fishing for their dinner. But their days are disturbed by the Blackett sisters, the fierce Amazon pirates. The Swallows and Amazons decide to battle it out, and so begins a summer of unforgettable discoveries and incredible adventures.” (Syndetics summary)

Movies galore: the NZ International Film Festival is back #nziff

Our beloved winter event the New Zealand International Film Festival 2017 opens 28 July in Wellington offering a wide variety of movies from all over the world. To get into the mood, some of our movie buff staff listed their favourite titles from recent festivals and the results are below.

We have a lot of movies previously showcased at the festival. You can find the titles here – check them out to have your own festival at home.

Our Staff picks from the recent film festivals

Beth
Aquarius
A sensitive portrayal of a beautiful woman, now aging, who stubbornly wants to keep her apartment despite all odds.

Bridget
Free to Run / A War / Paterson / Midnight Special / Chasing Asylum

Jessica
The Rehearsal
A really great kiwi film based on the book by Eleanor Catton. I haven’t read the book but I from my understanding the film only covers part of the story, but you couldn’t tell it was missing anything.

When Marnie Was There
I really loved it. As with any Studio Ghibli film, it was visually stunning.

Mark
Goodnight Mommy
German horror/thriller, part of the new ‘wave’ of non-slasher horror films as represented by films like It Follows, Babadook & Under The Skin. 9 year old twins Lukas & Elias living in an idyllic isolated summer cottage waiting for their Mother to return from having plastic surgery. When she returns her face is covered in bandages, and slowly little things emerge about her seem that seem off. Gradually their suspicions increase… Is that really their mother under the bandages? The nasty twist may be easy for some to spot, but it’s still super creepy.

The Lobster
One you immediately love or loathe, a savage indictment of modern interpersonal relationships, taken to its natural dystopian extreme. In the near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. The newly single Colin Farrell navigates the surreal Hotel, and survives by escaping into The Woods to live with ‘The Loners’ who have their own sets of rules. Perhaps mislabelled as a ‘Comedy’ or a ‘Romance’. Very very deadpan, but plenty of great lines and moments if you can get into its mindset.

Green Room
Tight indie thriller sees a punk band fall afoul of a bunch of skinheads after accidentally witnessing a murder in an Oregon roadhouse. The claustrophobic setting is put to maximum effect as the skinheads (led by a nasty turn from Patrick Stewart) are determined to eliminate all witnesses. Sadly one of the last roles of the very talented Anton Yelchin.

Neil J
Midnight special
An indie feeling road movie/chase/Science fiction film with family relationship at its core rather than blockbuster special effects. Though it does have one or two nice visual effects to boot.

Swiss army man
Daniel Radcliffe distances himself even further from this Harry Potter days in this truly bizarre yet rather wonderful film about a magical corpse.

Captain Fantastic
A film that works on so many levels . It is touching, funny, serious, intense and a whole gambit more of emotions a really rounded film that asks us to question 21st century life and its true value. My pick of this selection of films.

Rams
This is an off kilter quirky gem of a film . Two Icelandic brothers who haven’t spoken in years conduct their affairs through their prize herds of sheep. Very black and wry humour throughout.

Turbo Kid
A film that revels in mega low budget science fiction of the 80’s ( in a really fun way) . All the tropes are there and one or two of the actors too!.

Inherent Vice
Set in a drug drenched 1970s an L.A. private eye investigates the disappearance of one of his former girlfriends a hypnotic, rambling, impressionistic film, immersive film perhaps not to everyone’s taste , But so vividly realised you can almost taste and touch 1970s Los Angeles .

High Rise
This is 1970s dystopian science fiction at its best, all exaggerated and exuberant bleakness concrete and chrome, hessian and wood, except for one thing this film was made in 2015. Its retro futuristic Science Fiction at its best and a total blast. The kind of film Ken Russell or Nicholas Roeg might have made back in the day.

Shinji
Paterson – Jim Jarmusch masterfully crafts a quiet but lovely warm-hearted movie about a working class poet Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey.
I, Daniel Blake – Anger within but with as little drama as possible, Ken Roach depicts the struggles of a widowed carpenter. One of his finest works.
Our Little Sister – A ‘sweet and lovely’ movie which offers beautiful tenderness and emotion though successive small moments of everyday life.
The Assassin – a sublime, breathtakingly beautiful film in which every scene is a work of art.
My Mother – about facing mortality but Italian auteur Nanni Moretti makes it a charming family drama which has a perfect balance of melodrama and comedy.
Embrace of the Serpent –The powerful tale of Western civilization vs. indigenous value takes us into the mysterious Amazon jangle with a stunning image.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – often described as ‘the Iranian feminist vampire western’. A little Indie gem.
Tehran taxi – Iranian master director Jafar Panahi ingeniously turns the taxi into a mirror of Iranian society. Serious yet playful.

William
From 2016: A War and Green Room – both are recommended for those with strong stomachs.
From 2015: Dope and The Mafia Kills Only in Summer – both are fine for anyone

Fiona
Girlhood / Helvetica / Cabin In The Woods / Only Lovers Left Alive / Drowning By Numbers

Marilyn
Life Animated / Boyhood / The music of strangers : Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble / Amour / The Daughter

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.
highriseHIGH-RISE
“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 Amazon.co.uk)

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)

Building Up a Festival Mood #NZIFF

Our favourite winter cultural event is just around the corner. The 44th New Zealand Film Festival opens 24 July in Wellington with a pretty good line-up. You may or may not have thought about your plans for this year, but we have a lot of movies previously showcased at the festival in our DVD collection. Borrow them to get into festival mood or to have your own festival on your couch. You can find the titles we have here.

We also asked our cinephile staff to list up their favourite movies from the recent years’ festival. The results are the below. Check them out, too!

Bridget
Only Lovers Left Alive (“completely fabulous”), Snowpiercer, Starred Up, Frank, Locke, Much Ado About Nothing, Jappeloup,
The Past

Syndetics book covercover imageSyndetics book coverSyndetics book cover
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Deborah
Barbara, Yves Saint Laurent

Syndetics book covercover image

Frith
Syndetics book coverStories We Tell by Sarah Polley.
It was lovely! Beautifully put together archive footage and reenactments, an exploration too of family, remembering and narration.

Helen
My Pick – Under the Skin
The Runners-Up – The Dark Horse, Locke, Maps to the Stars, Nas: Time is Illmatic, Mud, What Maisie Knew, Frances Ha

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Ingrid
cover imageThe Dark Horse
Thoroughly enjoyed it!

John
Particlefever, The Dark Horse, Locke

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Laila
My favourites from last year were Reaching for the Moon and Two Days One Night.

Syndetics book covercover image

Mark

cover imageLady from Shanghai – Misunderstood film noir remains an underrated classic in the cannon of writer/director Orson Wells. Less about plot, he concerns himself with the emotional dynamics of character. The story of a dim witted innocent sailor (Wells) caught up in the intrigues of a beautiful femme fatale (a gloriously blonde Rita Hayworth) is almost beside the point. Full of stylish, and innovative cinematography (the aquarium meeting, & specifically the famous ‘Hall-of-mirrors’ shootout’) it’s almost post-modern before anyone invented that term.

cover imageA Hijacking – A companion piece to the recent ‘Captain Phillips’ sees the crew of a Danish tanker hijacked & imprisoned in their ship by Somali pirates. The movie focuses on the ship’s cook, anxious to return to his wife & child, and the arrogant CEO of the shipping company (Søren Malling, The Killing), who believes he can negotiate the Pirates demands down, just as he would in any business deal. A tense duel ensues between ‘Omar’ the negotiator for the Pirates & Malling, as time stretches on & conditions worsen for the trapped crew…

cover imageYou’re Next – Bonkers horror/slasher movie sees a young Aussie woman called Erin accompany her boyfriend to his family reunion at their Missouri vacation house, where his parents have gathered their 4 children & significant others together to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Unbeknownst to all is that their neighbors have been brutally attacked by some crossbow wielding psycho’s wearing animal masks, who soon invade their gathering with lethal intent. Who are they & what is their motive? No matter, as also unbeknownst to all, Aussie girl Erin has had a less than ordinary upbringing and is soon bringing the fight to the invaders…Awesome carnage and dark humor ensue.

Monty
cover imageLady from Shanghai
When Orson Welles was still young enough and talented enough to be considered a maverick. Black and white, and nasty perfection.

Syndetics book coverFrank
Fictionalised (and glamorised) version of the Frank story that works in ninety minutes, but maybe only hints at some of the complexity and oddness of the original as told in various stories and podcasts by Jon Ronson. Still great and Michael Fassbender is Frank.

Rachel
Syndetics book coverThe Double – Simon is timid, isolated and powerless. Suddenly his doppelganger appears in his life, doing everything Simon does, but better. Simon is horrified when his double begins to take over his life, in every way… This film has some of the best lighting design I’ve ever seen, and the atmosphere it builds is amazing. I also highly recommend Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut Submarine, also an NZIFF selection.

cover imageUnder the Skin – An alien in the body of a human woman comes to Earth to lure Scottish hitchhikers to their deaths. This film is very abstract, I’ve never seen another constructed in this way. You are taken to a new scene, while you are still pondering heavily what just happened for the next few minutes. It also has loads of gorgeous shots of the Scottish moors – worth watching for the visuals alone!

cover imageWhy Don’t You Play in Hell? – This is a totally wacky and fun film about a group of (very) amateur filmmakers, hoping to make the best movie in the world, even if it kills them – which it might! Although depending who you ask, this could also be considered a film about a 10-year rivalry between two yakuza clans over a toothpaste commercial. Either way, it is loads of fun (and gore).

cover imageUpstream Color – A very abstract film about love, fear, orchids… and pigs. Kris’s life is derailed when she is taken hostage by a thief and made to do things she can’t remember. The experience leaves her lost and fearful, but then she meets Jeff, who has had a similar experience. Together, they set out to reclaim their lives and discover what happened to each of them.

cover imageFrances Ha – Frances Ha is a lovely, lovely film about the strength of female friendship. Frances is trying to make her way in the world – she just wants to have an apartment, a job, have fun, but it’s not always simple. However, she will do what it takes to follow her dreams. Directed by Noah Baumbach, a festival favourite who has another film screening at NZIFF this year.

cover imageCutie and the Boxer – A wonderful documentary about a “boxing” painter and his wife, showcasing their lives and work, which you’ve probably never heard of. The film explores how the roles in their 40 year relationship have changed over time, and the ways that this made them stronger together. It is visually stunning, and the work by both artists is beautiful. Very funny too!

Raewyn
2013 – Much ado about nothing, Wadjda

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2014 – Snowpiercer, In order of disappearance, Only lovers left alive

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Shinji
Winter Sleep – In a desolate but stunningly beautiful setting in Cappadocia, human egos and prides confront each other. This Bergman-esque compelling drama won the Cannes’ Palme d’Or in 2014 and deservedly so.
Two Days One Night – A tense redundancy drama features ever wonderful Marion Cotillard. Another impeccable movie by Dardenne brothers; the champion of social realist drama.
Under the Skin – Strange but poetic images and equally weird yet effective music are the driving forces of this unconventional sci-fi thriller. This might open up a new horizon of cinema.
The Past – Despite shooting in foreign soil (France) for the first time, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi once again delivers a remarkable family relationship drama. A masterful work.

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#NZFF 2015 literary adaptations!

The NZ International Film Festival draws near, and there are a load of literary-inspired works on show this year! Some are adaptations of novels and short stories, some are inspired by literary figureheads, and some are based on fascinating non-fiction titles. Hopefully there’s something here for everyone, and don’t forget to check out the full programme over at the NZFF website!

Going Clear directed by Alex Gibney
“Alex Gibney’s documentary sensation, based on Lawrence Wright’s best-selling history of Scientology and its apostates, gets the big screen treatment it deserves.”

Syndetics book coverBased on:
Going clear : Scientology, Hollywood, and the prison of belief / Lawrence Wright.
“Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists–both famous and less well known–and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.” (Syndetics summary)

Inherent Vice directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
“Paul Thomas Anderson has taken Thomas Pynchon’s novel about the death of the hippie counterculture and turned it, reasonably faithfully, into a surreally funny, anxious and beautiful film noir.” — The Telegraph

Syndetics book coverBased on:
Inherent vice / Thomas Pynchon.
“Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon – private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog.” (Syndetics summary)

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland
“Present-day art world stars pay tribute in a lavishly illustrated profile of the arts patron extraordinaire who transformed a modest fortune and adventurous taste into one of the premier collections of 20th-century art.”

Image from AmazonBased on:
Out of this century : confessions of an art addict / Peggy Guggenheim ; foreword by Gore Vidal ; introd. by Alfred H. Barr.
“In this autobiography, noted art collector Guggenheim offers outspoken, tart, somewhat embarrassing personal reminiscences.” (Publisher Weekly)

Wrinkles directed by Ignacio Ferreras
“The subject of old age gets the kind of attention it deserves but is too rarely afforded in this funny, affecting and sugar-free animated tale of the survival strategies devised by two old men in a nursing home.”

Syndetics book coverBased on:
Wrinkles
“Admitted to a home for the elderly because he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, for Ernest community life feels like an ordeal. But soon he accepts his new environment and decides to fight to escape from giving in to his awful destiny.” (Syndetics summary)

Merchants of Doubt directed by Robert Kenner
“Scoring its points through clearly stated arguments and pithy humour, Merchants of Doubt examines the methods corporations use to stymie political actions that would be good for public health, but bad for their bottom lines.”

Syndetics book coverBased on:
Merchants of doubt : how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming / Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.
Merchants of Doubt tells the story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades that link smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole.” (Syndetics summary)

The 50 Year Argument directed by Martin Scorsese, David Tedeschi
“Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s doco celebrates 50 years of cultural and political debate in the pages of The New York Review of Books with octogenarian editor Robert Silvers, its tireless champion of intellectual freedom.”

Image from ZinioInspired by:
New York review of books.
(WCL magazine collection)
The New York review of books [electronic resource].
(WCL eMagazine collection on Zinio)

When Marnie Was There directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
“A shy girl makes a mysterious new friend while convalescing in a sleepy seaside village in this gorgeous Studio Ghibli adaptation of the children’s novel by Joan G. Robinson. Animated by Yonebayashi Hiromasa (Arrietty).”

Syndetics book coverBased on:
When Marnie was there / Joan G. Robinson ; illustrated by Peggy Fortnum.
“Sent away from her foster home one long, hot summer to a sleepy Norfolk village by the sea, Anna dreams her days away among the sandhills and marshes. She never expected to meet a friend like Marnie, someone who doesn’t judge Anna for being ordinary and not-even-trying. But no sooner has Anna learned the loveliness of friendship than Marnie vanishes…” (Syndetics summary)

Holding The Man directed by Neil Armfield
“The memoir of a gay love affair that began at school when the author fell for the captain of the football team and ended in tragedy 15 years later is already a classic of Australian literature, and now an inspiring, heartbreaking film.”

Syndetics book coverBased on:
Holding the man / Timothy Conigrave.
“At an all-boys Catholic school in Melbourne in the mid-seventies, Timothy Conigrave fell wildly and sweetly in love with the captain of the football team. So began a relationship that was to last for 15 years, a love affair that weathered disapproval, separation and, ultimately death. This is a book as refreshing and uplifting as it is moving; a funny and sad and celebratory account of growing up gay.” (Syndetics summary)

End of the Tour directed by James Ponsoldt
“This charming and sensitive film about a five-day encounter between acclaimed late author David Foster Wallace and a Rolling Stone journalist is a transfixing human drama.” — Anthony Kaufman, Screendaily

Image from ZinioSyndetics book coverInspired by:
The work of David Foster Wallace
Rolling stone (WCL print magazine)

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry directed by Mary Dore
“All the anger, joy and turmoil of the 60s–70s feminist explosion comes alive in a vivid documentary, blending the recollections of key US campaigners with archival action likely to astound anyone who wasn’t there.”

Syndetics book coverReferences many classic works, including:
Our bodies, ourselves / The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective.
“Hailed by The New York Times as a “feminist classic,” and “America’s bestselling book on women’s health,” the comprehensive guide to all aspects of women’s health and sexuality, including menopause, birth control, childbirth, sexual health, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health and general well-being.” (Syndetics summary)

Very Semi-Serious directed by Leah Wolchok
“New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff introduces his stable of oddball artists and guides us through the processes and philosophies that have kept publication in the magazine so highly prized for decades.”

Syndetics book coverFeaturing New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff:
The complete cartoons of the New Yorker / edited by Robert Mankoff ; foreword by David Remnick.
“Organized by decade, with commentary by some of the magazine’s finest writers, this landmark collection showcases the work of the hundreds of talented artists who have contributed cartoons over the course of The New Yorker’s eighty-two-year history. ” (Syndetics summary)
The New Yorker. (WCL print magazine)

45 Years directed by Andrew Haigh
“Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are deeply affecting in award-winning roles as a retired Norfolk couple preparing for their 45th-anniversary party, when a ghost from the past raises awkward, long-buried questions.”

Syndetics book coverBased on: a short story by David Constantine
Tea at the Midland / by David Constantine.
“Filled with characters that are often delicately caught in moments of defiance, disregarding their age, their family, or the prevailing political winds, this collection finds a space for resistance and taking an honest delight in it.” (Syndetics summary)

Prophet’s Prey directed by Amy Berg
“This unsettling look into indoctrination within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is another essential work from one of the world’s finest documentary filmmakers. Music and narration by Nick Cave.”

Syndetics book coverBased on:
Under the banner of heaven : a story of violent faith / Jon Krakauer.
“This text provides an account of Taliban-like theocracies in the American heartland controlled by renegade Mormon prophets. At the core of the book is a double murder committed by a pair of brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they were commanded to kill by God. Krakauer constructs a multi-layered narrative of polygamy, savage violence and unyielding faith.” (Syndetics summary)

Far From Men directed by David Oelhoffen
“This gripping existential Western – North African style – sees Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb play two men battling to survive in 50s Algeria. Based on a story by Albert Camus and scored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.”

Syndetics book coverBased on: Albert Camus‘ short story The Guest.
The outsider / Albert Camus ; translated from the French by Joseph Laredo.
“Meursault will not pretend. After the death of his mother, everyone is shocked when he shows no sadness. And when he commits a random act of violence in Algiers, society is baffled. Why would this seemingly law-abiding bachelor do such a thing? And why does he show no remorse even when it could save his life?” (Syndetics summary)