Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin

Over the last 15 years Francesca Rudkin has been working in the media as a film and music reviewer (NZ Herald, Breakfast TV), a television presenter and producer, and voice over artist. Recently, Francesca joined Rialto Channel as their resident blogger, allowing her to indulge in her love of world cinema. Her next challenge is to convince her young children that being a “Cinephile” is a legitimate profession.

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Francesca’s Picks for the Week 8th September

Posted on Monday 9/8/2014 September, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

Danish romantic comedy film directed by Susanne Bier and starring Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm.

It’s Scandinavian month here on Rialto Channel. Not only is Rialto World screening a film from Scandinavia every Monday night (such as Love is All You Need and Le Havre ), but on Tuesday night, you can also catch series one of Morden: Camilla Lackberg’s Fjallbacka Murders. This month expect comedy, drama and plenty of Scandi-noir!

Here are my highlights for the week.


Posted on Tuesday 9/2/2014 September, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

Camilla Lackberg is a popular Swedish crime writer whose books, set in the tiny west coast fishing village of Fjällbacka, have sold over 10 million books in 55 countries. Lackberg attended the Auckland Writers Festival in May, and shared with the audience the story of how she began her crime-writing career - at the tender age of four years old. The story she wrote began with Santa and Mrs. Claus happily holding hands, and ended with Mrs. Claus lying on the ground, beaten to death, blood running from her Santa hat.

From that grisly start, Lackberg has gone on to become one of Sweden’s most profitable authors selling more books than Stieg Larsson, author of the Millennium Trilogy. Her novels center around writer and amateur sleuth Erica Falck and her husband Patrick Hedström, a local cop who together solve a series of grim murders that take place in picturesque Fjällbacka.

Not surprisingly, these novels have now been turned into a series of feature film length television movies that kick off on Rialto Channel tonight (Tuesday 2ndSeptember, 8.30pm), and they’re a must see for murder–mystery fans.

Camilla Lackberg kindly took the time to have a quick chat about CAMILLA LACKBERG’S FJALLBACKA MURDERS.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 1st September

Posted on Tuesday 9/2/2014 September, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

Actresses have for years lamented the lack of quality lead roles for women in Hollywood. While it’s been an issue for dramatic roles, the documentary genre has had little problem finding complex, fascinating woman living interesting lives. In fact, it’s where we find some of the most intriguing female characters on screen today. Rialto Channel celebrates some of these women this September with a selection of female skewed documentaries about women who live, or lived, a different kind of life. Kicking the series off this Thursday is the stunning and thought provoking The World Before Her. 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 25th August

Posted on Monday 8/25/2014 August, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

Two iconic figures are at the centre of the films I’ve chosen to highlight this week. The critically acclaimed documentary Marley tells the definitive story of legendary Jamaican musician Bob Marley, and the controversial melodrama Diana tells the juicy story of Princess Diana’s relationship with Pakistan born cardiologist Dr. Hasnat Khan. Two quite different rebels, two quite different films!

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 18th August

Posted on Monday 8/18/2014 August, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

There’s no rest for the wicked in the third series of the gritty French cop drama Braquo that launches this week, hot on the heels of series 2. A combination of The Shield and a dark, twisted Scandinavian crime novel series Braquo isn’t the most plausible crime series around, but it’s one of the most addictive. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I watched the entire series in 48 hours!


Francesca’s Picks for the Week 11th August

Posted on Monday 8/11/2014 August, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

An eclectic array of films feature on my pick-list this week; there’s a British comedy, an earnest and elusive art house film set in Oklahoma and finally a period drama set in 17th century Japan. They may all hail from different continents and genres, but they all feature similar themes of family and loyalty.

Here are my highlights for the week.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 4th August

Posted on Monday 8/4/2014 August, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

Melanie Lynskey proves she’s leading lady material in Hello, I Must Be Going, Arthur Fogel proves you can become one of the most important people in the music industry today by being a good guy, and in Brooklyn Castle, a cast of talented, underprivileged kids prove that being good at chess is cool.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 28th July

Posted on Monday 7/28/2014 July, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

This week on Rialto Channel catch Martin Scorsese’s tribute to the ‘Quiet Beatle’ George Harrison in George Harrison: Living in the Material World. Over the last month, Rialto Documentary has been screening films about some of the world’s greatest bands and musicians from The Rise and Fall of the Clash to The Stone Roses: Made of Stone. If like me you love music and film, then keep an eye out for the limited repeat screenings of these documentaries – there are plenty of good stories to enjoy.

Here are my highlights for the week.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 21st July

Posted on Monday 7/21/2014 July, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

No one has ever questioned Joaquin Phoenix’s ability as an actor. From his early role in the classic
Gladiator, to his portrayal of Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, to his most recent role in Spike Jonze’s fabulous Her, this thrice Oscar nominated actor is always brooding and impressive. However in 2010 many did question his sanity when he decided to retire from acting to become a very average hip hop artist, a venture captured in the documentary I’m Still Here. Turns out Phoenix was just acting, although this time, his performance left a bitter taste in some critic’s mouths. See what all the fuss was about on Wednesday in Rialto New Wave. Here are my picks for the week. 

I’m Still Here

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Antony Langdon & Carey Perloff
Directed by: Casey Affleck
Screening: Rialto New Wave, Wednesday 23rd July, 8.30pm                                                                                                    

So, as mentioned, in 2008 Joaquin Phoenix announced he was retiring from acting to pursue a career as a hip-hop artist. His brother-in-law, actor Casey Affleck, kindly offered to film Phoenix’s career transition that involved convincing Sean "Diddy" Combs to produce his debut album and behavior that would lead most people to believe the guy had completely lost the plot. Critics and audiences alike didn’t quite know how to react to this film when it was released in 2010, especially if it was in fact real. If Phoenix really was unraveling in this “portrait of an artist at a crossroads” it was deemed insensitive to be filming it. It wasn’t long before Affleck admitted his directing debut was fake – making I’m Still Here one of the most polarizing mockumentaries ever made.

In the House

Starring: Kristen Scott Thomas, Fabrice Luchini & Emmanuelle Seigner
Directed by: Francois Ozon
Screening: Rialto Selection, Monday 21st July, 8.30pm

Director Francois Ozon has come along way from his days as the enfant terrible of the French film industry in the 1990s, directing almost a film a year since his feature film debut in 1997. Ozon is widely known for Under the Sand starring Charlotte Rampling, the ensemble piece 8 Women, the kitsch comedy Potiche and recently In the House which won the International Critics' Award at the Toronto Film Festival in 2012. Fabrice Luchini stars as Germain, a literature teacher who becomes infatuated with the work of one of his talented 16-year old students who writes about his sexual relationship with his best friend’s mother. Part black comedy, part social satire and part psychological drama In the House is a slightly uneven comedy but an entertaining romp all the same. 

Lola Versus
Greta Gerwig, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pulman and Debra Winger
Directed by: Daryl Wein
Screening: Rialto Selection, Saturday 19th July, 8.30pm

Another comedy about a young woman finding her feet in New York City, in Lola Versus Gerwig plays a 29 year old PHD student studying ‘silence in poetry’, who is ditched by her artist fiancée just before their wedding. She moves out of their lovely apartment and back into her tiny sublet, and flutters between friends and potential dates, caught up in her misery, until it all comes crashing down. Lola Versus is filled with characters with too much time to think about themselves, but Gerwig is always watchable, spitting out great lines like, “I’m slutty, but I’m a good person!”

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 14th July

Posted on Monday 7/14/2014 July, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin


K2 is the second highest and most dangerous mountain to climb in the world. As I discovered in the documentary The Summit, one of four who try to reach its summit will die in the attempt. I don’t expect to ever find myself in the “Death Zone” above 8,000 metres on the 8,611-metre peak, but those who have taken that risk fascinate me. The Summit is a breathtaking insight into the reality of mountain climbing and those willing to take it on, and it’s my first highlight this week.    

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