Must-sees at the World Cinema Showcase

Must-sees at the World Cinema Showcase

The World Cinema Showcase is back in town, and boy are there a lot of good movies to be seen! The baby version of the New Zealand International Film Festival, the WCS is running from April 19-May 2. The great thing about film festivals, apart from being able to go to the movies in the middle of the day without feeling like a weirdo, is that there is always something for everyone: foreign language films (essential study time for that French paper you’re taking); documentaries featuring musicians, far-away lands, inspirational personalities and projects; and some good old drama and comedy to round it out. But quick! Four days of the festival have already gone, so get along to the Regent for a film or two (or four) to enjoy the huge screen and beautiful surroundings. To make things a bit easier, Sarah Baillie has picked out a few must-sees for the showcase. You can also check out the fine selection of films at

Damsels in Distress

The director of this film, Whit Stillman, has not once made a bad movie. Damsels in Distress features Greta Gerwig and her girl gang who set out to make their college, dominated by “male barbarism”, a happier place by dating uncool guys, gifting donuts to suicidal teens and encouraging tap-dancing as a form of therapy. (Tuesday 24th, 4.30pm)

Chico & Rita

Featuring the music of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and the jazz scenes of Havana, New York City and Paris in the 1940s and 1950s, Chico & Rita has got to be the most sophisticated animated film to hit the screens for a long time. Just watching it will probably make you cooler. It is also Spanish – double cool. (Saturday 28, 6.15pm; Tuesday May 1, 8.30pm)

The Swell Season

Remember Once? The film about the Irish busker and the Czech girl? The Swell Season is a documentary about the two stars of the film, who found fame (and love – with each other!) when Once hit the big time. The chemistry between these two musicians is absorbing and the music they create, magical. (Monday 23rd, 2.15pm)

Under African Skies

Paul Simon visited South Africa at a time of heightened political tension to make one of the best albums of all time, Graceland. Returning to South Africa for a 25-year reunion concert, Simon reconnects with his old friends, revisits the political issues of the time and his inspiration for the unique fusion of South African music and his own style. This documentary offers a personal insight into the creation of the songs of the album and features amazing studio and concert footage from the 1980s. Definitely a must-see for any fan of Paul Simon and Graceland. (OK, so you missed out on this one, but hunt it down – it’s amazing!)

Hara-Kiri 3D

Death of a Samurai: A remake of the 1964 classic samurai film, Hara-Kiri is in 3D! Action-packed as samurai films already are, I can imagine that the action takes on another level with the samurais jumping out of the screen and what-not. Pretty freakin’ awesome. (At Rialto, Sunday 22nd, 8.45pm; Monday 30th, 8.45pm)

Mental Notes

An exploration of the dark days of the New Zealand mental health system, Mental Notes is the story of five ex-patients of “lunatic asylums”, as they were officially named. Tackling an almost forgotten and hidden part of our history, Mental Notes sheds some light on what it was really like in a time when mental health patients were treated as second-class citizens and thrown in the “loony bins” to be kept out of the public eye. (Monday 23rd, 6.15pm; Tuesday 24th, 11.15am)


Urbanized looks at an issue of ever-increasing importance – what makes a city sustainable and liveable in the face of escalating populations? From Tokyo, to Detroit, to Paris to Bogatá in Columbia, this documentary shows us what works in urban design, and what doesn’t. An interesting film for students of design, planning and people who want to see how cities are made. (Monday 23rd, 12.45 pm)

AnDa Union

This documentary follows the 10 members of “Mongolia’s most famous band”, AnDa Union (yeah, I hadn’t heard of them either), as they travel 10,000km performing for each of the members’ families in remote destinations. A road trip around Mongolia with a ten-piece band? I’m intrigued. (Saturday 28th 1.30pm; Tuesday May 1, 12.00pm)
This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2012.
Posted 5:04pm Sunday 22nd April 2012 by Sarah Baillie .