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"It was going to take somebody very particular to tease the drama out of Eleanor Catton’s singular debut novel, The Rehearsal … [luckily] stories of sexual yearning and moral quandaries are [Alison Maclean’s] thing." – Metro NZ

Acclaimed director Alison Maclean (Person of Interest, MIFF 2004; Jesus’ Son, MIFF 2000) returns to New Zealand (home to her breakout feature, Crush) for this highly anticipated adaptation of Booker-prize-winning author Eleanor Catton’s debut novel.

Direct from its world premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival, this compelling psychological drama follows naïve first-year drama student Stanley – James Rolleston, all-grown up from Taika Waititi’s Boy – who begins an affair with the young Isolde (Ella Edward) while being mentored by the charismatic, manipulative department head Hannah (Kerry Fox). But when the drama group exploits a real-life sex scandal involving Isolde’s sister for their performance, Stanley faces a dilemma that will challenge his notions of self and art.

With vibrant performances from its young cast (including Ginger and Rosa’s Alice Englert, a MIFF Accelerator filmmaker this year with The Boyfriend Game) and astute writing and direction, The Rehearsal explores the thrilling moral slipstream when art imitates life on the charged playing field of drama school.

"The Rehearsal mounts an enticing inquisition of performance, identity and moral anxiety with resonance far beyond its hothouse setting ... It’s alive with ambiguity and cinematic verve." – New Zealand International Film Festival