David Farrier's Tickled documentary set for NZ debut next month

Tickled's co-directors David Farrier and director Dylan Reeve will debut their critically-acclaimed documentary Tickled ...
CHAD HURST

Tickled's co-directors David Farrier and director Dylan Reeve will debut their critically-acclaimed documentary Tickled as part of the NZ Film Festival's Autumn Events programme next month

David Farrier's controversial documentary on "competitive, endurance tickling" will have its New Zealand Premiere at Auckland's Civic Theatre on April 13.

A hit at the Sundance Film Festival, the former Mediaworks' journalist's Tickled (TBC) will also screen at Wellington's Embassy Theatre on April 22, with both one-off screenings part of the New Zealand International Film Festival's Autumn Events programme. Farrier and co-director Dylan Reeve are scheduled to attend both sessions.  

The documentary has been shrouded in mystery, apart from rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Writing for Variety magazine, Dennis Harvey said, "David Farrier and Dylan Reeve's documentary traces the New Zealand duo's investigation of an online tickling-video empire, behind which there lurks a monster of cyberbullying and litigiousness. An alarming cautionary tale about how easy it is in the Internet age to ruin people's lives while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity, the pic boasts a humorously titillating entry hook that soon gives way to engrossing conspiracy-thriller-like content".

Tickled has been shrouded in mystery with only this image to entice prospective viewers
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Tickled has been shrouded in mystery with only this image to entice prospective viewers

The film is scheduled to be released nationwide in May.

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In all, 13 new and classic movies have been announced as featuring in the 2016 Autumn Events schedule which will play out in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin between April 13 and May 22. Tickled is one of four titles that will only play in the North Island venues, the others are a documentary on Russia's world-famous Bolshoi Ballet as it struggles to deal with the fallout from the notorious acid attack on its artistic director (Bolshoi Babylon), an intimate chronicle of the life of acclaimed actress Ingrid Bergman (Ingrid Bergman in her Own Words) and an "emotional journey" to meet the traditional rainmakers of Australia's Great Sandy Desert (Putupurri and the Rainmakers).

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The Witch is part of a new wave of horror films where women are more than just victims.

One of the most eagerly anticipated titles though is 17th Century-set horror film The Witch (R16). Debuting at the Sundance last year, writer-director Robert Eggers'  film is the story of A New England family torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession. "The Witch's greatest asset is its precisely controlled menace, and so even when nothing terrifying is happening, it feels like something ominous could be unleashed at any moment," wrote Screen International's Tim Grierson.

Meanwhile, described as his "sunniest, most upbeat film yet", documentarian Michael Moore's (Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11) latest effort looks at what America can learn from a variety of European and Middle Eastern nations. Where to Invade Next (M) sees "the scourge of corporate America" talk to citizens of countries with generous paid parental leave and a different approach to nutrition education and drug enforcement. "A more stimulating, thought-provoking and entertaining call to arms than anything we are likely to hear from an aspiring President over the next year," wrote Screen International's Allan Hunter.

Music fans are also catered for with the debut of Janis: Little Girl Blue (M). Described as an admiring, perceptive, richly researched and performance-studded celebration of 60s icon and white soul singer supreme Janis Joplin, Amy Berg's (West of Memphis) documentary incorporates revelatory interviews with family, friends, band members and associates with a good deal of stirring live and archive footage. "The satisfying feature-length overview that Joplin's brief, fiercely brilliant career has long merited," wrote Variety magazine's Guy Lodge.

Frances McDormand stars in the Coen Brothers' 1996 cult classic Fargo
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Frances McDormand stars in the Coen Brothers' 1996 cult classic Fargo

Fans of 1980s band Talking Heads will also be overjoyed at a rare chance to see celebrated 1984 concert movie Stop Making Sense (PG) as part of the six-strong line-up of classic films. Billed as a "conceptual and audio-visual triumph", Jonathan Demme's (The Silence of the Lambs) film captures the band and their iconic frontman David Byrne at their infectious peak.

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Music of a different kind features in the 1956 adaptation of Rogers and Hammerstein's musical The King and I (G). Recently preserved and transferred into a digital format, it stars Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner. 

From an even earlier time comes The Philadelphia Story (PG).  Debuting in 1940, the Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart-starrer is known as "the definitive high-society rom-com".

The Philadelphia Story teamed up Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn
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The Philadelphia Story teamed up Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn

More modern comedy comes in the form of the Coen brothers' 1996 "true-crime" tale Fargo (R18). A tale of what happens when murderous goons meet their match in a downhome Minnesota cop, it's sublime cast includes Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi and William H Macy.

Released just three years later, The Iron Giant (PG) is Brad Bird's (The Incredibles) beautifully animated adaptation of Ted Hughes' anti-Cold War children's book. This "Signature Edition" features an additional seven minutes excised from its original release.

Finally, 1985's Ran is Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of William Shakespeare's King Lear, believed by many to be the legendary Japanese director's masterpiece.

For more information and session times, see nziff.co.nz

 - Stuff

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