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INDIE FILMS AND FESTIVALS

Film Buffed: Paul Berrington seems to know everything in the world about film, and wants you to as well.
FILM BUFFED: Paul Berrington seems to know everything in the world about film, and wants you to as well.

Film fans can look forward to another treat of indie and festival delights next month, with those lovely people behind the New Zealand International Film Festival bringing the 14th World Cinema Showcase to cinemas around the country.

Some 36 films make up a selection that rates as arguably the best yet, with something for most tastes, and the premiere of two New Zealand documentaries, Mental Notes, and Te Hono ki Aotearoa.

Highlights include Ralph Fiennes in the director’s chair for Coriolanus, a modern take on Shakespeare. Oscar-nominated Chico & Rita, an animated film more in the classical tradition, follows a young Latin musician and his dreams of the big time. Anna Paquin heads an impressive cast in Margaret, a multilayered drama from the hand of skilled screenwriter, Kenneth Lonergan.

Further quality drama comes in the form of The Eye of the Storm, an adaptation of Australian writer Patrick White’s celebrated novel. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, the latest film from Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan, returns after screening at NZIFF2011 and winning the Jury Prize at Cannes earlier that year.

For those thinking that lot would put them to sleep, there is action a plenty with Japanese maverick Takashi Miike’s latest Samurai epic, Hara-Kiri in 3D, a must-see for anyone who saw the same director’s brilliant 13 Assassins last year. Set during the final battle of the Korean War, Hun Jang’s The Front Line looks perfect for fans of intense battle senses and stern acting. Elsewhere, Stellan Skarsgaard, the creepy bad guy from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, stars in King of Devil’s Island, a grim Norwegian film about an uprising in a home for young delinquents.

One of the most impressive war films ever made also makes an appearance, with Wolfgang Peterson’s claustrophobic Das Boot, featuring in its entire uncut form.

There is even some comedy on the menu with Whit Stillman’s latest, Damsels in Distress, which follows a trio of girls as they try to take-over the male-dominated college they attend. Elsewhere, Zooey Deschanel stars in Jesse Peretz’, Our Idiot Brother, which deals with the relationship of three sisters to their, um, idiot brother.

Documentaries also feature strongly. Joe Berlinger’s Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, the continuing exploration of a trio of falsely convicted Arkansas men, shows alongside his examination of the making of Paul Simon’s classic Graceland album, following the musician as he returns to South Africa. The festival starts on March 29 in Auckland, April 5 in Wellington.

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