Cannes winner Nicole Kidman leads lineup at NZ International Film Festival 2017

Films from 21 countries will screen at 13 centres around the country over three months.

Cannes Film Festival special prize winner Nicole Kidman features in two of the highlights at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF).

She stars in The Beguiled, for which Sofia Coppola received the best director prize. It's an American Civil War drama based on Thomas Cullinan’s novel and was first filmed with Clint Eastwood in 1971. That was directed by action specialist Don Siegel. By contrast, Coppola plays up the feminist angle with Kidman in the starring role as the head of a Virginia girls’ school that shelters a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell).

Kidman also stars in Jane Campion’s follow-up to her award-winning TV series Top of the Lake, set in Queenstown. Top of the Lake: China Girl wasn't made in New Zealand and all eight episodes will be screened ahead of their TV release. 

Kidman, who received a special prize to celebrate Cannes’ 70th anniversary, made two other film appearances there in Killing of a Sacred Deer and How to Talk to Girls at Parties.

Cannes entries usually provide other festival highlights, so it is disappointing no others have featured in the announcement of nine more titles in the "world strand."

This could change when the full festival programme – for Auckland – is unveiled on Monday. Wellington's lineup will be announced on June 30.

Big winners or favourites at Cannes this year included new films from Michael Haneke (Happy End), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Roman Polanski (Based on a True Story), Noah Baumbach (The Meyerowitz Stories), Todd Haynes (Wonderstruck).

Films from 21 countries
NZIFF director Bill Gosden says 21 countries will be represented, including one from Catalonia, a province of northern Spain.

“[It] has delivered one of the year’s unexpected gems in Summer 1993,”  he says. "Our selections always pay close attention to films lavished with praise or box office success from their countries of origin.”

Others in this year’s “world strand” include the Irish romantic-comedy A Date for Mad Mary;  Inuit drama Maliglutit (Searchers); and French drama The Midwife, starring Meryl Streep, Catherine Frot (Marguerite).

Previously announced international features include Casey Affleck in A Ghost Story, a Russian-based Lady Macbeth, The Lost City of Z, 20th Century Women, A Monster Calls, Call Me By Your Name and The Untamed, from Mexico.

Four New Zealand-made features will have premiere screenings: Waru, eight different stories centred on a tangi; Nic Gorman’s thriller Human Traces; Jackie van Beek’s The Inland Roadand Toa Fraser’s 6 Days, about the Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980.

In Auckland, the NZIFF will screen at two new venues, the historic Hollywood Cinema in Avondale and the new ASB Waterfront Theatre.


  • Auckland July 20-August 6
  • Wellington July 28-August 13
  • Christchurch, August 3-20
  • Dunedin, August 8-30

Another nine centres follow in August and September. Full details of films and venues are at nziff2017.

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