The New Zealand International Film Festival has returned for another year! Founded on the principle of sharing box office income with filmmakers, this film-buffs fever-dream boasts an eclectic mix of unique cinematic marvels you won’t see at your neighbourhood theatre. Queer stories are again a highlight this year, and the festival is offering up a plethora of films that reflect the queer world around us.
From French director André Téchiné comes an engrossing and original drama about teenage turmoil, anxiety, lonelness and sexual hunger. Centred on the longstanding antagonism between two teenage boys as they wrestle with their innermost desires, the film is sure to elevate the teen film genre into an emotional, moving piece of cinematic gold.
Don’t Call Me Son
Don’t Call Me Son is far more than a domestic drama. From Brazilian director Anna Muylaert comes the story of Pierre, a young man rocked by familial discoveries which lead him on an exploration of self. As his world changes around him, Pierre investigates his sexual identity and the true meaning of home.
The Hunger Games star Jena Malone trades action for romance in American Director So Yong Kim’s exploration of female relationships. When a young mother embarks on an impromptu road trip with her livewire college friend Mindy, both characters and audience must wrestle with confronting ideas of latent and muted desire, emotional fragility, and the bittersweet nature of resurrecting lost friendships.
French Filmakers Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau transport their audience into a crowded Parisian sex dungeon in this intensely romantic and unabashedly frank portrayal of homosexual desire and love at first sight. The inaugural eighteen-minute gay orgy is trumped by the complex realism of the post-coital 82 minutes where two men weave through the deserted Paris streets in amour.
The Queen of Ireland
Iconic Irish drag queen Panti Bliss and her alter ego Rory O’Neill is brought to the big screen by documentarian Conor Horgan in this no-holds-barred examination of a person’s call for change and the wrath of conservative Ireland. Documenting O’Neill’s experiences following a 2014 statement regarding homophobia in Ireland, Horgan highlights Panti’s subsequent speech at the Abbey Theatre as one of the great public orations of the century so far.
From South Korean Director Park Chan-wook comes The Handmaiden, a film based on Welsh novelist Sarah Waters’ book Fingersmith. This outrageous and lusciously erotic thriller from the director of Oldboy transposes a Victorian tale of sex, duplicity and madness to 1930s Japanese-occupied Korea.
Image | So Yong Kim’s Lovesong