NZ film fest's big rockumentary line-up (+video)

Jimi: All Is By My Side.
Jimi: All Is By My Side.

The New Zealand International Film Festival today reveals the first four films confirmed for 2014.

All four have a musical theme and are the first insight into the latest international cinema event planned for screenings in July, August and September around New Zealand.

"Music has always been a crucial part of the celebration at NZIFF. The evidence to date makes it very clear that 2014 will be no exception. I could not be happier that one of these first announcements is the work of our very own Florian Habicht, whose Love Story opened NZIFF in 2012," says NZIFF director Bill Gosden.

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Jarvis Coker on stage in Florian Habicht's documentary about Pulp.

Indeed, Habicht's documentary Pulp: a Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets, about the titular Britpop band, and Jarvis Cocker, looks to be remarkably intimate and takes the band beyond questions of music and fame, to discuss love and mortality and give insight into their lives, as well as documenting their triumphant 2012 concert in hometown Sheffield.

The second documentary looks equally, if not more unconventional. Chronicling a sort of fictional day in the life of Nick Cave, 20,000 Days On Earth has Cave playing subject, narrator, and master of ceremonies as directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard follow while he talks to his on-screen shrink, discusses meaningful events, and chauffeurs friends around Brighton, all the while examining the transformative power of the creative process.

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Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue in 20,000 Days On Earth.

Also chronicling a cultural icon is Jimi: All Is By My Side. Focusing on a segment of Hendrix's life before he became a star, the film, directed by John Ridley (12 Years A Slave), takes us back to 1966 and 1967, when he was still Jimmy James. Played by sometime hip-hop star Andre Benjamin (Outkast), it tells how Hendrix's meeting with Linda Keith (Keith Richards' then girlfriend, played by Imogen Poots) set him on a course to fame.

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And offering something utterly different in its depiction of the road to musical stardom, Frank is an off-beat satirical comedy from Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, whose much darker film, What Richard Did, was part of last year's festival line-up.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson in Frank.

In Frank, Domhnall Gleeson plays a young wannabe musician, Jon, who joins an avant-garde pop band led by the titular character (played by Michael Fassbender). Jon finds Frank's methods more bizarre and enigmatic as time goes on, and he struggles to contend with a musical genius.

Further announcements will follow through the month and the official programme will be announced on Monday, June 23 for Auckland and on Thursday, June 26 for Wellington. The festival will run in Auckland from July 17 to August 3 and in Wellington from July 25 to August 10.

* Visit nziff.co.nz for more information.

- TimeOut

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