The line-up of local movies screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has just been announced and covers everything from the serious to the super(hero).
One of the pictures guaranteed to spark conversation is Maui's Hook. This sobering film follows five families undertaking a hīkoi from Parihaka to Te Rerenga-wairua (Cape Rēinga) as part of their grieving process as they struggle with and process the suicide of someone close to them.
Uncompromising by design, film-maker Paora Joseph has blended documentary with fiction to create a movie that explores and exposes the raw pain of grief and loss.
In contrast, the silliness of director Tim van Dammen's time travelling, superhero crime caper Mega Time Squad could be just the ticket. It follows a small-town criminal who dreams of moving to the bustling metropolitan centre of ... Paeroa. During a routine robbery, he nabs a mystical Chinese bracelet, which empowers him with the ability of time travel. Which is when things start going off the rails ...
After its world premiere at the Moscow International Film Festival, where it won Best Actor, writer/director Dustin Feneley's character drama Stray plays on our screens. Set in Otago, Stray follows the "complex" relationship between two "damaged" strangers.
Bludgeon is also a worthy mention. Described as an "affectionate and funny documentary" this one dives into the competitive world of medieval combat.
The doco follows members of the local community, who meet up to hack at each other with swords and battle axes with the hope of one day being selected to represent New Zealand on the world's medieval combat stage. Yes.
Other local docos include Dancing with Atoms: Paul Callaghan, which details the life of the acclaimed physicist and science ambassador; Angie, about Centrepoint survivor Angie Meiklejohn; Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, which celebrates the life of the pioneering indigenous film-maker Merata Mita.
The title The Heart Dances: The Journey of The Piano: The Ballet is a bit of a mouthful but is accurate. This doco follows Czech choreographer Jiri Bubenicek and his twin brother and designer, Otto, as they adapt Jane Campion's Academy Award winning movie The Piano.
And last but far from least is the exciting announcement of a special screening of Buster Keaton's silent-era, comedy classic The General. Screening at The Civic, the movie's score will be performed live by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. A rare treat indeed.