nofofo fextival blue 2020

NOFOMO Film Festival

Welcome to the NOFOMO Film Festival!

We love Kanopy, but sometimes it’s not simple to decide what to watch, especially when you have over 30,000 films and documentaries to choose from. But help is at hand with our ongoing NOFOMO Film Festival – we’ll be regularly hand-picking our favourites and sharing them with you – so you’ll have No Fear Of Missing Out on great films.

Get started with our featured film below, or click here to see the list of all the previous films from the Festival.

Featured Film

Memories of Murder | Kanopy

Memories of a Murder

For anyone who enjoyed Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite, this will be a treat. This 2003 film is one of his earliest -  a thriller and dark satire, which helped catch South Korea’s most notorious serial killer. The film is based on the Hwaseong serial murders of the late 1980s, which remained unsolved until this film came out, sparking renewed interest in the case and leading to the identification of the culprit in 2019. 

It is a very Korean version of a serial killer procedural, with inept local cops trying to solve the case fast with a policeman transferred from Seoul brought into help, but also out of his depth. The initial shots of the crime scene investigation, which is hopelessly compromised, characterises the investigation to come.  False accusations flow fast and the killer is evidently enjoying being able to out-wit the police, with inevitable results. The director develops the characters and plot well, building towards a memorable final scene. Not as sophisticated as Parasite, but a very worthwhile watch.



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Previous NOFOMO Film Festival Featured Films

Blue Valentine (2010) - Watch on Mubi, Tubi, PlutoTV, IMDb TV, and  Streaming Online | Reelgood

Blue Valentine 

Blue Valentine is a bittersweet love story that poignantly captures how the innocence, joy, and trust of young love become embittered by the passing of time and the realities of everyday life.

Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are perfect and utterly believable in the lead roles of Dean and Cindy, as the story moves back and forth between two very different times in their relationship. We can feel much more for their older and less attractive characters by having them juxtaposed against their younger selves, and see how the qualities that initially attract them to each other become ones that repulse. Cindy falls in love with Dean’s freewheeling and idiosyncratic nature, but her view of him hardens until she can only view him as a loser.  This is a fair assessment of him in some ways, but Blue Valentine keeps the complexities of each character and their relationship open to question, and provides a fresh and endearing perspective on the perennial tale of love gone sour.

Werewolf, Ashley McKenzie

Werewolf

On one level, this is a bleak and uneventful tale of two young methadone addicts, Blaise and Nessa, in a small Nova Scotia town that would prefer to turn their back on them. After 10 minutes, I nearly switched it off, questioning if I was going to get anything out of this except feeling uncomfortably voyeuristic and depressed. But the film drew me in and revealed itself as a beautifully composed and powerful naturalist film that isn't 'poverty porn' - it really engages with the protagonists and leaves you caring and wondering about their backstories and the wider story of how our society operates. 

Bhreagh Macneil has won several Best Actress awards for her exceptional performance as Nessa, who emerges as the main protagonist. Greasy-haired and acne-scarred, she barely strings full sentences together - not your typical heroine. But the film manages to reveal something beyond appearances and her suffocating circumstances, and I came to view her as radiating a certain dignity, stoicism, and a will to a better future, encapsulated in a stunning last scene.

Werewolf is a gem of a film and well worth your time.

Reviewed by Jodie

51 Birch Street

A fascinating and loving exploration of the mystery of family by the renowned documentary maker, Doug Block. He turns the spotlight on his own family after the sudden death of his mother, and the announcement from his emotionally reticent 83 year old father that he’s fallen in love with Kitty, his secretary from 35 years ago, and is moving to the other side of the country to be with her. Doug returns to 51 Birch Street, their family home since the 1950’s, to help pack things up. Through a series of old home movies, interviews with his Dad and sisters, and the discovery of decades of his mother’s intimate journals, Doug uncovers a completely new picture of his parents’ marriage and reflects on his own relationships. If this leaves you in the mood for imagining the unknowable stories behind other people’s lives, then follow it with The Family Album , a haunting and playful one hour documentary of rare 16mm home movies from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.

 

Reviewed by Jodie

Gomorrah | Kanopy

Gamorrah

Gamorrah (2008) is a thrilling and disturbing Italian family crime drama that exposes Southern Italy's criminal underbelly by telling five stories of individuals who think they can make their own compact with the Camorra, the area's Mafia, with devastating results.  This syndicate has created a fortune out of cocaine, corruption, and chemical waste. The exploitation of the disposal industry is particularly shocking, as huge areas of the country are polluted by reckless digging and dumping of poisonous industrial waste. The film is based on a book of the same name and spawned a follow-up TV series. Shocking but enlightening.

 

Reviewed by Nicola

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Deaf Out Loud

 Deaf Out Loud follows three American families as they navigate new stages of life and challenges within the Deaf community.

Garcia, Posner and Mansfield all communicate in different ways, some by speech, some by American Sign Language, and some a mixture of both. We follow the families as they navigate new challenges in their lives, with some children beginning new schools and others weighing up the pros and cons of the controversial cochlear implants. Regardless of the choices the families make, the scrutiny they face from within the Deaf community, the wider hearing community, and their own families and friends is intense, and parents everywhere will recognise the hard-fought battles they face. An insightful and tear-jerking watch.

 

Reviewed by Lucy

 

Tampopo

A 1985 classic from the Japanese director Juzo Itami, this film has everything! 

Tampopo is a recently widowed noodle chef, who enlists the help of a passing truck driver, Goro, to revitalise her ailing business. The main story plays like a spaghetti western with Goro in the role of Clint Eastwood and Tampopo a sweet natured and vulnerable heroine in need of help, but who discovers her strength and independence during the course of the film. There are also numerous strange and funny sub-plots, a dominant one following the love affair of a gangster and his mistress. Their tragedy tinged love affair has a Great Gatsby-like gorgeousness but the food fuelled eroticism is something else! 

Tampopo is a wildly inventive delight, a very funny and entertaining celebration of sensuality, cinema, life, and the perfect bowl of noodles.

Reviewed by Jodie

 On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach 

Based on the book of the same name by Ian McEwan, this film was well summarised in the Guardian as a “muted elegy to emotional waste.” In 1962, newlyweds Edward and Florence, both in their early 20s and also both virgins, spend their honeymoon at Chesil Beach, preoccupied and terrified by the upcoming consummation of their marriage. The film has been criticised for being over restrained, and overly dependent on flashbacks. However, I found it a tender and poignant recreation of the book and of a doomed relationship, exploring as it does, the painful consequences of English sexual inhibition at the start of the 1960’s. It is beautifully acted by Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howell.

Reviewed by Nicola

 

Touching the Void

A brilliant docu-drama which, when I first saw it, made me determined not to try mountaineering. 

It is based on the true story of two young climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, who, in 1985 set out to be the first to reach the summit of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. They succeed, but disaster strikes on the treacherous descent down the mountain.  Simpson breaks his leg in a fall, leaving Yates to lower him the rest of the way with ropes. When a storm threatens both their lives, Yates is forced to cut the rope and risk Simpson's likely death. Yates escapes the mountain, assuming Simpson is dead. Simpson’s dramatic self-rescue, as, severely injured, he drags himself off the mountain in treacherous weather, is both thrilling and shocking. The scenes are recreated, but fully bring to life the danger, tension and drama of the situation.

It is widely, and probably deservedly, regarded as one of the best documentaries of all time. 

Reviewed by Nicola

 

The Other Side of Hope

The other side of hope is set in Helsinki and tells the thoughtful, funny and enjoyable tale of a restaurateur and a refugee, whose lives unexpectedly connect. 

Wikstrom has spent his life as a shirt salesman, but sells up and buys an ailing restaurant, whose most popular offering is beer. He also assumes responsibility for its three hapless employees and the resident kitchen dog, who he tells must be ‘gone by tomorrow’, but somehow you know it’s future is secure in this newly formed family.  

Small acts of kindness are a recurrent theme, as is the humour and dignity in the lives of everyday people. It makes you feel that the harshness and racism, that form part of Khaled’s refugee experience, won’t win.  

Reviewed by Jodie

 

Mandy

Sitting pretty right in the sweet spot of 80's pulp horror culture, this story is about Red Miller, who embarks on a blood-streaked revenge quest against a drug-crazed gang of new-age prophet worshippers. 

With a killer score by a team of Scandinavian rock legends and some brilliantly retro-style cinematography, this is a primal, dark, violent, and strangely lonesome movie that picks you up and chews you up. Totally aces!

Reviewed by Dan

 

Border

Tina has a rough time of it with life, and although she has some value to her town for her almost spooky-level sense of smell (used to best effect in her work as a customs officer), she's lonely and depressed.

When a dangerous stranger comes to town, her world is set to be shaken to the core as she comes to realise her own power and just who (and what) she really is! 4/5

Reviewed by Dan

 

Josephine and the Roach

Josephine and the Roach is a short film that tells a simple love story, albeit between an unusual couple.

The director, Jonathan Langer, was inspired to create the story after having to wipe out an infestation of cockroaches in his New York apartment. He wanted to show a different side to the vilified bugs, and the Roach of this story is a violin playing sensitive soul with a determination to win the love of the woman he shares an apartment with.

The film is a combination of live-action and stop-motion animation: set in a Parisian apartment, its atmosphere reminded me of 'Amelie', and its offbeat charm is matched by a great narrative.

Reviewed by Jodie

 

The Party

An all-star cast and a brilliant premise collide in this 1hr black and white tragic comedy.

Janet has landed the job of a lifetime but at the celebratory party, her husband Bill shares some revelatory news that sends the party and its revellers into a spiral of epic proportions.

As supremely funny as it is, it's also deeper than it lets on, shining a light on the absurdity of first-world problems and the vanity of ego. Great score too.  

Reviewed by Dan

You the Living

The Swedish director, Roy Andersson, has only made a handful of films in his long career, but his unique vision has established him as one of the most important film directors of our time.

You, the Living, is a comically absurd film, but with a deep and empathic pathos. The series of interconnected vignettes and quietly despairing characters, gave me a sense of hopefulness about our human condition. Often it feels like we move in a world of social facades, and when the veil is lifted to reveal a world beyond this, it can feel freeing for the pretence to be dropped.

If you do choose to watch it, I welcome any suggestions as to why all the characters are so terribly pale.

Reviewed by Jodie

 

Jasper Jones

Based on the 2009 Australian novel by Craig Silvey this is the story of Charlie, a young privileged boy living in rural Western Australia in the late 1960's. Charlie's world is turned upside down when Jasper, a mixed race and rebellious boy living in the fringes, knocks on his window one night and shows Charlie a thing so shocking that he can't ignore it.

A bildungsroman about race, courage, friendship, and strength of character. 

Reviewed by Dan

Nosferatu and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night 

Need something to get your teeth into this Halloween? Well here's a double bill of vampire gothicness. 

Firstly, the very first vampire film, the eerie, haunting, and highly influential masterpiece of German silent cinema - Nosferatu. Count Orlok is certainly not the prettiest vampire to have graced our screens, surely that's Frank Langella in the unforgettable 1979 reincarnation of Dracula, but the imagery is unforgettable. All copies of the film were ordered to be burnt after Bram Stoker's widow successfully sued for copyright infringement, but thankfully one copy escaped its fiery fate.

Jumping ahead nearly a century, we have A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. Billed as 'the first Iranian vampire western' (but filmed in California) this film also packs an atmospheric punch. It's black and white cinematography and punkish pop soundtrack illuminate a simple storyline (alienated female teenage vampire seeks justice and meaning, meets boy) and the urban decay and shadowy nights of a fictional Iranian ghost town. 

Still hungry?  Then Kanopy also has the gorgeously seductive Only Lovers Left Alive.

Reviewed by Jodie 

 

Prospect

Who doesn't love a good space western?! And this one is very well done indeed!

A low budget and a small cast of characters make this tale of redemption and survival rely heavily on the imaginative concept at its heart; a girl lost in space, her father is dead, and she's doomed to be marooned unless she teams up with a shady character that she doesn't trust. Big shout out to the amazingly simple-but-awesome special effects (the dust!) and the space-age/retro sounds from the composer! 

Reviewed by Dan

 

Marjorie Prime

Marjorie lives in a house by the beach with her daughter and son-in-law. To help her memory, she talks to a hologram of her much younger, deceased ex-husband, Walter. Together they share stories and memories. 

Marjorie Prime consists of mostly talking, but it’s a fascinating look at how artificial intelligence can help us remember and reconstruct events of the past.

Reviewed by James

 

Lean on Pete

It's always a daunting prospect when one of your all-time favourite books/authors gets made into a film. But when it's done with the utmost care and appreciation for the content, it’s a wondrous thing, and this version of Lean On Pete is a winner! Lean On Pete is the story of a young man named Charlie, slowly finding his way in life, living with his loving father, and who through no fault of his own finds himself alone and having to negotiate a journey across America to locate his aunt. His companion for this trip is a broken-down old racehorse, who was doomed to be destroyed before Charlie liberated him. We get a look at single fatherhood, grief, loneliness, and the seedy culture of the American horse racing industry. The story is undoubtedly sad, but it also takes a grim hold on you like a trauma you can't take your eyes from. The dialogue in the film is sparse and meaningful - exactly how the author himself writes - the cinematography is stunningly beautiful, and beneath it all is a beautifully understated soundtrack from British composer James Edward Barker. 

Reviewed by Dan

 Where Are We? Our Trip Through America Poster

 Where Are We?: Our Trip Through America

If you’re as baffled, fascinated and worried by the USA as I am, then do check out this documentary. Directed by acclaimed filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, it takes the form of a road trip the San Francisco pair took across the American South in 1993, shortly after the Persian Gulf War. Interviewing ordinary people about their lives and dreams, from preachers and housewives to casino owners, returned veterans and the homeless, the directors stay mainly in the background, but imbue the film with a quiet compassion that’s heightened by a dreamlike use of music.  

Reviewed by Jodie

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Gumby Loves Music

Look, there’s more on Kanopy than just moody think pieces about bus driving poets, and men with beards working through their issues, so why not treat yourself to seven minutes of childlike whimsy from visionary stop motion animator Art Clokey.

Sit back and enjoy Gumby’s adventures as he discovers a love of music and does his best to cheer up his good friends Too and Loo with such an accomplished performance of musicianship that makes the kid from Whiplash look a bit rubbish.

Definitely a film for lovers of music, animation and fun.

Reviewed by Steve

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Tokyo Story

This was voted  ‘the greatest film ever made’ in a 2012 poll of movie directors, but don’t let that put you off!

If you’ve yet to watch a film by the great Japanese Director Yasujiro Ozu, then this is a perfect place to start. I say start, as you may well feel such affection for this simple bittersweet tale of families, love and duty, that you’ll be wanting to return to Ozu’s beautifully acted and uniquely realised world very soon.

Reviewed by Jodie

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Black Orpheus

This 1959 romantic tragedy in Portuguese, filmed in Brazil by a French director, is delightful in many ways. The film is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in the modern context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. The film is wonderfully colourful - filled with the music and dance of the Carnaval. The film won the Palme D’Or in Cannes, and its style, music and dance made a big impact. It has been criticised for exoticising “child-like” blacks (as per Barack Obama’s critique on his mother’s favourite film) but that is perhaps too harsh. Enjoy, and indulge it,  as a classic film of its time – and then think about why Barack Obama disliked it, and what this says about racial stereotyping!

Reviewed by Nicola

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What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

Kicking off a trend of films showing that men could only deal with a maximum of two challenging situations per day that continued well into the 2000s with films such as American Beauty and Fight Club, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape tells the story of a handsome young man, who is gainfully employed, has two women competing for his affections, and a massive house, yet is still unhappy because he has to do stuff that he thinks his Mum should be doing, like looking after family members and grocery shopping.

It’s watchable if you like your heroes brooding and your dream girls to be manic pixies. Leonardo DiCaprio gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Arnie, Gilbert’s brother, but unfortunately lost to the guy from The Fugitive who said “I don’t care” really empathetically.

Reviewed by Steve

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Cold War


If you didn’t see this when it screened in Nelson not so long ago, make sure you watch it on Kanopy.

Based on the lives of the Polish film director’s parents, this is a powerful cold war love story, where the politics never quite succeeds in getting in the way of the passion.

It is fascinating historically as well as being extremely beautiful to watch.

Reviewed by Nicola

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Una

This stunning film is about the aftermath of a relationship between a 13yo girl and her 40yo neighbour. It is disturbing and bit creepy, but the two lead actors are astonishingly good - Ben Mendelsohn picks some amazing roles for himself these days! The girl is now an adult and tracks down the man, now moved on after serving his years in prison, and confronts him in his place of work. It is quite moving and kind of like a slow-motion train crash that you can't not watch, with the snippets from the past revealing ever more truth about the incident as the film progresses. Good story but not for the faint-hearted about such matters. 

Reviewed by Dan

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Toni Erdmann

This film is quite unique. A German comedy that is also melancholic, surreal, and critically observant of contemporary life and globalisation.

It’s long running time (162 minutes) allows us to really develop an intimacy and understanding of the father and daughter whose difficulty in connecting with each other is so magnificently explored.

It won the Best European Film at the European Film Awards.

Reviewed by Jodie

 

You Were Never Really Here

I love this Scottish film director’s work (Ratcatcher, we need to think about Kevin). It is often disturbing, violent, but also quite mesmerising. This one is no different.

It has been described as a “nightmarish vision of a killer’s quest for redemption” as the man in question cares for his elderly mother, while taking on a job to reunite a stolen child with her father, using any method he can.

Not for everyone, with the Johnny Greenwood score ramping up the tension throughout.

Reviewed by Nicola

 

Toyland

A very short film (13 mins) but it packs the punch of a feature length movie.

Set in Germany during the war, it tells the story of a mother trying to protect her son from the looming horrors around them.  

Her courage and compassion keep this story from becoming morbid and the powerful ending keeps these images memorable for a long time

Reviewed by Diana

Spookers

A candid look inside the big business of Spookers - the haunted house empire 50kms south of Auckland. In this film we meet the owners and discover their personal journey on the way to success, and also the stories of some of the performers, all of whom find a unique sense of community within this unusual team environment. 

It's a story of love, support, togetherness, and code browns, all mixed in with some fright! 

Reviewed by Dan

Colossal

A science fiction black comedy with great lead roles.  Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, a city smart but emotionally immature alcoholic who is forced to return to her backwater childhood home and into the orbit of her left-behind friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). A giant monster starts attacking Seoul, Gloria realises it’s connected to her, and then things really start going wrong!

The premise may sound far-fetched, but the emotional life of the characters has real substance, and it all adds up very convincingly.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) - IMDb

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

This is the story of a disturbed teenager who ingratiates himself into the family of a surgeon who once operated on his father.  Barry Keoghan (as the teenager) is both brilliant and utterly chilling. All the cast give great performances although there are times the characters can be difficult to relate to as their behaviour and reactions are often strange.    The film initially appears low key but gradually spirals into a tragedy.  It is beautifully filmed but not for the faint hearted.   

Reviewed by Diana

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No Men Beyond This Point

What if all our leaders were female? This hilarious mockumentary explores a world in which, because of an evolutionary twist back in the 1950s, men were ruled out of the childbirth equation and all babies born were female. By 2015, few men remain - most of them elderly and living in male sanctuaries. The extinction of men is looking certain. I found this film to be a light-hearted escape but it raised many good questions. How would our planet be different if we had all female leaders for the last 60 years? Would we be facing the same or different world problems? This film is sure to give men and women lots to talk about. 

Reviewed by Mitzi

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A Ghost Story

A brilliant and haunting meditation on death and life. A man dies young and returns as a ghost to console his grieving wife. Great direction and performances in this haunting – excuse the pun - and considered film. It’s all very atmospheric and brooding as our main character travels through the lives of others while waiting for.... something.  

 Reviewed by Dan

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Urbanized

Be inspired by watching this thought-provoking and entertaining documentary on urban design, featuring stunning examples of how community engagement and consultation has transformed cities around the world – and a very personable Columbian Mayor!

Reviewed by Jodie

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Finding Vivian Maier 

 An intriguing documentary about a woman who spent her life taking beautiful photos that were only discovered after her death. As her work is assessed by the art world and increasingly appreciated by the general public, the documentary maker seeks out information about who this woman was and tries to answer the question ‘why did she take these photos and then never show anyone?’ 

Reviewed by Clare

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Rosalie Blum

A charming, warm-hearted French comedy of Vincent who leads a life of quiet desperation until a chance encounter at a grocery store one day. The cast of characters are quirky and varied but totally believable, which makes for a wonderfully entertaining movie. If you have never watched French cinema before this is a wonderful start.  Highly recommended. 

Reviewed by Diana

Stray

A stunning film from Aotearoa following two young people recently released from separate institutions for reasons that will be drawn out across the story. Superbly shot in the mountain regions of NZ it uses silence to incredibly good effect. Two lost souls drawn together under their own different and difficult circumstances. A great piece of kiwi cinema. 

Reviewed by Dan

Kedi (2016) - IMDb

Kedi

A delightful documentary which showed at the International Film Festival in Nelson a few years back. A city explored through its very colourful cats. The city is Istanbul, and if you have been there, or dream of being there, this is a wonderful way to conjure up the character of the place and its people. It is occasionally a bit cute, but overall a lovely feel-good film for these times.

Reviewed by Nicola