The Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

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The what-a-people? Full of memorable, quotable lines that are all the funnier for being in a Kiwi accent, there is nothing really to dislike about this sweet New Zealand comic drama by Taika Waititi, director of What We Do in the Shadows and Boy, two of my favourite Kiwi films. You’ll recognise Taika as he also often features in his films – Viago in Shadows, Alamein in Boy and the minister in Wilderpeople. Continue reading

The Rehearsal (2016)

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MIFF announced some surprise screenings on the last day. These are films that weren’t part of the festival program and were a mixture of classics – Abbas Kiarostami’s A Taste of Cherry to mark his passing last month – and new films like this New Zealand drama that had just premiered at the NZ Film Festival and been chosen for the New York Film Festival. It’s based on a book by Eleanor Catton, author of the much better know The Luminaries so it has some credentials. Overall it was a pleasant experience though I was left wondering what the film was really about. Continue reading

Mahana (The Patriarch) (2016)

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MAHANA-1Lee Tamahori, who directed Once Were Warriors, brings Temuera Morrison back to the screen, this time in a family-friendly poignant tale of patriarchy, set in 1950s rural New Zealand and based on a novel by Whale Rider author, Witi Ihimaera. The warm tones, beautiful rendering of the rural life of the time and great characters make this an enjoyable and thought-provoking tale. Continue reading

The Piano (1993)

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Yes I know this film is nearly 25 years old – can you believe that? – but I am implementing an ad hoc program to introduce my girls to significant films from the past. Ron’s doing the same, Terminator 2 has become Tallulah’s favourite action film.

I haven’t seen The Piano for about 20 years and I remember having mixed feelings about it. I was a serious photography student at the time and the visual aesthetic and music had a big impact on me and on many other visual artists at the time. I remember being a bit uncomfortable about the gender roles but not enough to think negatively about the film. Continue reading

The Ground We Won (2015)

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I admit that I booked this film because it was filmed in black and white and from New Zealand. I knew it was about rugby in a rural town but that was about all. When it began I thought, “Oh Lordy, what have I done. I’m watching a film about sport.” I’m so glad I booked it. Continue reading