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NZIFF 2012 shares Akl programme

A good number of films have been announced already, including 10 local documentaries and – at the other end of the profile scale – a number of Cannes awardees. The full programme, some 180 titles long, short and middling, was unveiled on Monday evening.

The unveiling was accompanied by a screening choice of the much-noted Monsieur Lazhar and the almost unnoticed Searching for Sugarman, described by Bill Gosden as “a film you’ve never heard of about a musician you’ve never heard of”. He might have added “by a filmmaker you’ve never heard of.”

The festival opens in Auckland on 19 July with Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild and closes on 4 August with Leos Carax’s Holy Motors. In between is everything old festival hands will know and love, a programme of which it would be hard to deny that there’s something for everyone.

Not much local fare remained to be announced by the time of yesterday’s programme release.

From across the ditch come four features. Two come straight from the Sydney Film Festival: Cate Shortland’s end of WWII drama Lore and Tony Krawitz’s more contemporary drama Dead Europe.

Kieran Darcy-Smith’s Sundance-premiered Wish You Were Here brings home a NZ connection in the shape of actor Antony Starr. Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires brings a cross between The Commitments and Dreamgirls, according to Variety, and allegedly much dancing in the aisles in Cannes. Be it so or not, it impressed the Weinsteins enough for them to snap it up ahead of its out of competition Cannes appearance.

There’s a mixed contingent of Asian films this year, with some reasonably obvious choices included. Many of the winners from March’s Asian Film Awards have already had screenings here, although Ann Hui’s A Simple Life and Pang Ho-cheung’s Love in the Buff, a sequel to 2010’s Love in a Puff, might have reached different audiences through the festival from their Cinema Asia outings.

Pang’s Vulgaria (the second of three films he’s released so far this year) is selected for the NZIFF. Like David Mamet’s State and Main, it will appal and amuse with its tale about the avaricious and morality-free zone that is film production.

The NZIFF gets a jump on Madman’s Reel Animé festival, selecting Goro Miyazaki’s From Up On Poppy Hill. The film marks consecutive NZIFF appearances for Studio Ghibli, following 2011’s The Borrowers Arrietty (which was scripted by Goro’s dad). A more adult animation comes from Korea, Yeun Sang-ho’s brutal Director’s Fortnight entry The King of Pigs.

Two Korean directors whose films appear regularly at the NZIFF, Hong Sang-soo and Im Sang-soo (The Housemaid), return with their Cannes competition entries In Another Country and The Taste of Money respectively.

Naturally, there’s a raft of Cannes fare from around the globe, along with more which premiered at Sundance and Berlin.

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