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Our picks from the NZ International Film Festival

Wed 11 Jul 2007 In: Movies View at Wayback View at NDHA

The Witnesses It’s Paris, 1984. In a cruisey city park, Adrien, a sophisticated, middle-aged doctor, meets Manu, a carefree 18-year-old. Manu turns down Adrien’s proposition – then asks him to hold his jacket while he joins an orgy in progress. After that shaky start, the two men become faithful friends – Manu needing guidance, and Adrien seeing the city of love through fresh eyes. A rich screenplay, bright colours and easy-on-the-eye cast celebrates the spirit of the 1980’s as a time of great social and sexual freedom. Andre Techine’s fast-moving, engrossing and entertaining drama deals with the emergence of a strange new disease in the mid-80’s – AIDS – but its real themes are love and acceptance. Quinceañara 15-year-old Magdelena is pregnant – and is promptly kicked out of home by her devoutly Catholic father. She moves in with her Uncle Tomas and the other black sheep of the family, her macho cousin Carlos. When Carlos takes a shine to their new neighbours – a well-to-do gay couple – their amorous adventures have unwelcome consequences for them all. Quinceañera is a look at what happens when teenage sexuality, age-old rituals, and real estate prices collide! It’s a story fueled by the racial, class, and sexual tensions of a Latino neighbourhood in transition. Here’s Quinceañera’s trailer: La Vie En Rose The tragic life of legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf is celebrated with an amazing new film. From her upbringing in rural 1920’s France, to fame in 1960’s New York, scenes bounce back and forth through her complicated life and times. Marion Corillard in the starring role gives an outstanding performance as Piaf. Look closely for gay and lesbian themes – moustachioed female bartenders in tuxedos, and Gerny’s gay-looking nightclub complete with drag queens. And as Piaf’s longtime companion Ginou Richer once said: “I think Edith was my most beautiful love story. We had all of love's closeness and feelings, except for sex. We were jealous of each other, possessive of each other; we couldn't be without each other. It was a very powerful kind of love.” Here’s the trailer to La Vie En Rose: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Book swiftly for this highlight of the Festival – tickets will be snapped up quick. The novel sold 15 million copies when it was published in 1985, but until now, the author had steadfastly refused to allow a film adaptation. The critics are shouting ‘modern masterpiece’ over this compelling tale of a young 18th-century man whose inhumanly powerful sense of smell drives him to commit atrocities. A dark, intense, seductive movie not to be missed… Here’s the trailer for Perfume: Destricted Art meets sexuality, as seven artists were told to go forth and make pornography: “Do anything you want, as long as you do it in less than 20 minutes”. The resulting short films prove that artists get their jollies in much weirder and more imaginative ways than regular folks. This film contains much nudity, real sex, and strobe lighting. We can only show you a clip from the documentary about the film! There’s so much more on offer at the festival – check the official website for more details and session times in your area: www.nzff.telecom.co.nz. Matt Akersten - 11th July 2007    

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Wednesday, 11th July 2007 - 9:34pm

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