Award-winning films from Cannes, Venice and Berlin film fests coming to NZIFF


Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival has announced eleven hotly anticipated award-winning films playing as part of their 2021 programme – including this year’s Palme d’Or winner.

This year’s Cannes Palme d’Or and Grand Prix winners join Venice Golden Lion and Grand Jury Prize winners, as well as Berlin’s Golden Bear and Grand Jury Prize-winning films at Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2021 – in cinemas from late October.

“The film festival has always worked to bring the very best in film to New Zealand audiences, and this year we have an exceptional line-up with major award winners from the biggest film festivals in the world,” says Director Marten Rabarts.

The New Zealand premieres of these 11 titles offer a diverse range of cinema’s best from around the world, and don’t compromise on groundbreaking, challenging viewing – not least of all Julia Ducournou’s Palme d’Or winner Titane, which NZIFF describes as: “A body horror thriller film following a mentally disturbed serial killer who is impregnated by a car.”

Consider us buckled up.

Check out the full list of  NZIFF films announced today, taken from their media release:

Award-winning films from Cannes, Venice and Berlin film festivals will feature at Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF).

NZIFF today reveals 11 hot ticket films from its programme set to thrill, inspire, and surprise audiences when they have their New Zealand premieres at the festival.

“The film festival has always worked to bring the very best in film to New Zealand audiences, and  this year we have an exceptional line-up with major award winners from the biggest film festivals in  the world,” says Director Marten Rabarts.

Cannes Film Festival titles include Palme d’Or winner, Titane, which will close the festival in a memorable way and Grand Prix award winners, A Hero, from decorated Iranian director Asghar Farhadi and Juho Kuosmanen’s offbeat train romance, Compartment No. 6.

Other Cannes titles include two very different ‘coming-of-age’ films, the intense Russian Unclenching the Fists and the sunny Croatian Murina, starring New Zealander Cliff Curtis, for which writer director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic was awarded the Caméra d’Or for best debut feature. They join the previously announced Jury Prize winner, Memoria.

Hot off the heels of critically lauded debuts at Venice Film Festival comes Golden Lion winner, Audrey Diwan’s hard-hitting drama, Happening, and Grand Jury Prize winner, Paolo Sorrentino’s majestical memoir, The Hand of God. These films join the previously announced opening night film, The Power of the Dog, for which Dame Jane Campion won the Silver Lion for Best Director.

Berlin Film Festival highlights featured in the programme include Golden Bear winning black-comic porn-revenge story, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, Japanese romance anthology and Grand Jury Prize winner, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Jury Prize winning documentary, Mr Bachmann and His Class, and the arresting World War II drama, Natural Light, from Hungarian director Dénes Nagy who took home the Silver Bear award for Best Director.

Cannes Film Festival Award Winners
Palme d’Or Winner: Titane (closing night film)
France 2021
Director/Screenplay: Julia Ducournou
A body horror thriller film following a mentally disturbed serial killer who is impregnated by a car.

Grand Prix Winner: A Hero (Ghahreman)
Iran 2021
Director/Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi
Rahim is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum. But things don’t go as planned.

Grand Prix Winner: Compartment No. 6 (Hytti nro 6)
Finland, Germany, Estonia, Russia 2021
Director: Juho Kuosmanen
As a train weaves its way up to the arctic circle, two strangers share a journey that will change their perspective on life.

Un Certain Regard Award Winner: Unclenching the Fists (Razzhimaya kulaki) Russia 2021
Director: Kira Kovalenko
In a former mining town in North Ossetia, a young woman struggles to escape the stifling hold of the family she loves as much as she rejects.

Camera D’Or Winner (Best debut feature): Murina
Croatia 2021
Director/Screenplay: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović
Railing against an oppressive, overbearing father, a teenage girl embraces independence and flirts with desire over the course of a formative weekend in this sunny, sinister Croatian drama.

Venice International Film Festival Award Winners
Golden Lion Winner: Happening (L’événement)
France 2021
Director: Audrey Diwan
An adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s eponymous novel, looking back on her experience with abortion when it was still illegal in France in the 1960s.

Grand Jury Prize ‘Silver Lion’ Winner: The Hand of God (È stata la mano di Dio) Italy 2021
Director/Screenplay: Paolo Sorrentino
The story of a boy in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s. Sorrentino’s most personal film yet is a tale of fate and family, sports and cinema, love and loss.

Berlin Award Winners
Golden Bear Winner: Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc) Romania 2021
Director/Screenplay: Radu Jude
When teacher, Emi, finds her career and reputation under threat after a personal sex tape is leaked on the internet, she refuses to surrender to the pressure of parents demanding her dismissal.

Grand Jury Prize Winner: Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Guzen to sozo)
Japan 2021
Director: Hamaguchi Ryusuke
An unexpected love triangle, a failed seduction trap and an encounter that results from a misunderstanding, told in three movements to depict three female characters, and trace the trajectories between their choices and regrets.

Jury Prize Winner: Mr Bachmann and His Class (Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse) Germany 2021
Director/Screenplay: Maria Speth
An absorbing documentary about the inspiring story of one teacher making a difference in the lives of migrant children in rural Germany.

Silver Bear Winner: Natural Light (Természetes fény)
Hungary, 2021
Director: Dénes Nagy
World War II occupied Soviet Union: István Semetka is a simple Hungarian farmer who serves as a Sub-Lieutenant in a special unit scouting for partisan groups. On their way to a remote village, his company falls under enemy fire. As the commander is killed, Semetka must overcome his fears and take command of the unit as he is dragged into a chaos that he cannot control.