Archive | 11:11 am

The Other State: Film news and etcetera from New Zealand – July 2009

1 Aug
Because it wouldn't be 'Kiwi' without a sheep joke?

Separation City - because it wouldn't be 'Kiwi' without a sheep joke?

The Film

Separation City unfortunately looks like an average romantic comedy. But I will reserve judgement until I see it. Or rent it on DVD. Or catch it on TV…

The Trailer

The Vintner’s Luck is Niki Caro’s latest – a not very New Zealand tale of a peasant’s quest for the perfect wine vintage in 19th century France. The kiwi element, though not in the story is all over the film: it stars Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider), it is based on regarded New Zealand writer Elizabeth Knox’s novel and is in part funded by the New Zealand Film Commission. I’m going to see this film just for the wings…

The Talent

New Zealand film talent – this article is a short rundown of some of the Kiwis showing films at the NZFF. Though it only covers short films. To see some feature length filmmaking talent at work check out the team behind The Strength of Water: Armagan Ballantyne (director) and Briar Grace-Smith (writer).

And in a case of ‘Hey! I went to school with her!’ – Zoe McIntosh’s documentary Lost in Wonderland made its (film commission funding free) debut at the NZFF as well.

Miss Alice...or Rob.

Lost in Wonderland with Rob... aka Miss Alice

The Peter Jackson Empire

Peter Jackson is furthering his empire – though this time through fostering other filmmaker’s talents. His latest project is Neill Blomkamp’s feature debut – a Sci-Fi film about alien apartheid. It has a viral marketing campaign already in full swing, and Jackson is taking the buzz to San Diego’s Comic Con for maximum ‘geek exposure’. Having been made for a relatively modest US $30 million, I predict this to be a decent success.

The Festival

I’ll leave you with an interview with Bill Gosden, director of the New Zealand Film Festival – he’s been with the festival longer than I’ve been alive. He also seems to know what he’s doing, and rumour has it ticket sales this year at the Auckland Film Fest have been really positive. I helped and saw 5. I would have seen more films but for the work/schedule/bank balance conflicts and it’s the first time in 5 years I haven’t worked for a film festival. Anyway, I managed to catch:

Adventureland – Awesome soundtrack, but perhaps best viewed as a night-in DVD rental?

The Strength of Water – a surprising kiwi film about loss and grief. But with little pockets of humour which really made it for me.  Beautifully shot.

Cleo from 5 to 7 – new print of an Agnes Varda classic. A fun and thoughtful ride around 1960s Paris.

We Live in Public – an incredible documentary about a mad millionaire who spent his fortune on art/surveillance projects and ends up broke in Ethiopia. Director Ondi Timoner said she couldn’t write this stuff if she tried.

Antichrist – Hmm. I’m yet to find a point. The conversation post-film went something like this:

A: So basically Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character had PMS?

B: No, it was about Lars Von Trier’s hatred of women. I wonder what happened to him?

C: Maybe he just needs a hug?

B: I wouldn’t go near the guy. Every actress in his ‘USA’ films hates him.

A: And he’s never been to the States. He’s like Hitler in that regard – he had an obsession with cowboys.

B: did you just compare Lars von Trier to Hitler?

A: um. Apparently.

B: Hitler had lady issues too.

A: Yup.

B: Oh Lars, women aren’t the antichrist!

C: yeah, he probably just needs a hug…

Until next time!

– Morgan Stewart


Heaven’s Gate (1980): Minute by minute: part 8

1 Aug

Not even MIFF can fatigue or distract Simon as he dissects and vitalizes Michael Cimino’s maligned epic, Heaven’s Gate.

8 of 229

It is abundantly clear that “behove” is a word which is not used oft’ enough in modern cinema. I personally believe it behoves all hairdressers to watch this 60,000,000,000 nanoseconds of film as the side part count is through the roof! The tally is kept on a large scoreboard atop the hall where the class of ’70 are congregated. A large scaffold surrounds the board as it is being renovated thanks to the kind donations of Mrs. Herbert Slone. Of course, the scoreboard isn’t shown and Mrs. Slone is never mentioned, but their existence is implied by the way Kris Kristofferson blinks. It’s a testament to Kristofferson’s acting. Was Brando able to imply a large score keeping device on a roof by merely closing his eyes momentarily? I think not! Well, maybe once… certainly in On the Waterfront, possibly in Superman and about nine times during the Godfather – but that’s all!

I can’t wait to experience what else Kristofferson’s involuntary facial movements convey.


sidepart, hidden by hats

Read the rest of heaven’s gate here.