The Wellington Film Guide

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 T H I S   W E E K   I N   W E L L I N G T O N

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  W E D N E S D A Y   2 0   N O V E M B E R   2 0 1 9  

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  • The Wellington Film Society, 6.15pm Monday 18 November at the Embassy, CAMERAPERSON (Kirsten Johnson, USA 2016).
    Kirsten Johnson has been working as a documentary cinematographer and filmmaker for 25 years. This is what she calls her memoir, or autobiography, and it's also a rumination, a treatise, a theory of documentary filmmaking - a manifesto of sorts that asserts the importance of the camera as a person. The film is made up of snippets and outtakes of footage from films that she's worked on, and it's primarily the moments where someone on camera interacts with her or with the camera itself. In these small interactions, in which we often only hear her, we are able to glean an understanding of the relationship between subject and filmmaker that is sometimes obfuscated in a final documentary. Humanity permeates, thanks to Johnson's presence, so as experimental as it is, it's also stirring and poignant, with a tangible sense of empathy intact in every frame. - Katie Walsh, IndieWire.
    Anyone can join the Film Society at any time on line.

  • Film Festivals to note:
  • Cinema Italiano Festival. Empire 6 - 18 November. The programme is available as a .pdf on the website, but doesn't appear to be printable as a booklet. Classic films include 8 1/2 and Fellini's Roma. Tickets available now on the Empire website.

  • The Nga Taonga Sound and Vision cinema has closed. Archive employees have moved to office space within the National Library building on Molesworth Street and are looking at alternative screening venues to bring their work to Wellington audiences.

    This site relies on the various cinemas having their own websites up to date to access their screening times. The paragraphs describing the films starting this week are in most cases adapted from the linked reviews.

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    For comments and movie news, contact the Cinemaster at

    s t a r t s   t h i s   w e e k!

    CHARLIES ANGELS [2019] - This new movie crossbreeds the relentlessness of a Bourne thriller with the tossed-off trickiness of a Mission: Impossible caper, all of it written and directed, by Elizabeth Banks, as if she'd been making cheeky renegade action films all her life. The movie is relentless, it's pulpy and exciting, it's unabashedly derivative, and at an hour and 58 minutes it's a little too much of a rousingly of-the-moment feministic but still rather standard-issue thing. The new film is a heavier chunk of escape than any previous Angels incarnation - if the early-2000s films were pop, this one is metal. Also Penthouse, Empire, Readings, Monterey and Coastlands.

    FORD V FERRARI - The characters can seldom compete with the cars in auto racing movies, but that's not the case with this full-bodied and exciting true-life story, in which the men behind the wheels are just as dynamic as the machines they drive. Fronted by fine lead performances by Christian Bale and Matt Damon as, respectively, racing legends Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby, this is a well-built vehicle in every respect that should make a good run through theaters and have a substantial home-viewing afterlife. Also Penthouse, Empire, Lighthouse, Readings, Monterey and Coastlands.

    AILO'S JOURNEY - This film has the potential to enthrall even those viewers who don't normally enjoy nature documentaries. It does so through a combination of gorgeous aerial and on-the-ground cinematography matched with an engaging narration that translates the animal world for humans. Voiced by Donald Sutherland, the omniscient narrator takes you by the hand and gently, knowingly guides you into the reindeers' world, explaining what the animals are thinking and doing and feeling. Also Monterey and Shoreline.

    PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE - Celine Sciamma has brought a superbly elegant, enigmatic drama to Cannes that compels a shiver of aesthetic pleasure and fear. With this new story, she demonstrates a deeply satisfying new mastery of classical style to go with the contemporary social realism she showed in Girlhood (2014) and Tomboy (2011). From the NZIFF.

    THE IRISHMAN - Martin Scorsese's film is a coldly enthralling, long-form knockout - a majestic mob epic with ice in its veins. It's the film that a lot us wanted to see from Scorsese: a stately, ominous, suck-in-your-breath summing up, not just a drama but a reckoning, a vision of the criminal underworld that's rippling with echoes of the director's previous mob films, but that also takes us someplace bold and new. See it on the big screen before it appears on Netflix from 27 November.

    u p c o m i n g   f i l m s
    FISHERMAN'S FRIENDS Nov 21 Readings
    READY OR NOT Nov 21 Readings
    FROZEN 2 Nov 28 Readings
    KNIVES OUT Nov 28 Readings
    THE DEAD DON'T DIE Nov 28 Lighthouse
    THE GOOD LIAR Dec 05 Readings
    THE ADDAMS FAMILY [2019] Dec 05 Readings
    THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM Dec 05 Lighthouse
    THE QUEEN'S CORGI Dec 12 Readings
    HAPPY ENDINGS Dec 12 Lighthouse
    ASK DR RUTH Dec 12 Penthouse


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