Good stuff, James. I'm really looking forward to the Ward and the Habicht. I'd say that at times both Christine Jeffs and Niki Caro -- esp in Sylvia and Memory and Desire, respectively -- have got to the poetic level you ascribe to Ward, Habicht and (I'm less convinced) Greg King. But it's all subjective.
This is my first festival in Chch. It's interesting to see how much better the North Island does with its festival line-ups than the South. Over the course of a year, from reading magazines and the net, one builds up an unofficial list of films you'd really like to see in the festival come July. This year, mine might have gone like this:
The Man From London
Diary of the Dead
And exactly none of them are playing down here. Never mind. There's a lot to be going on with.
It's a testament to the quality of our festival that I hardly ever seem to see the same films as anyone else... yet I'm seeing seventeen this year. Five down, twelve to go.
(That 1938 Errol Flynn Robin Hood was jolly japes all round. And so many pairs of tights!)
My non-authoritative interview with Florian Habicht is here. He's a very interesting man.
Understand the reluctance at assigning Greg to the poetry basket.
Not so much kitchen sink, as toilet bowl. Perhaps I'm responding to his dedication to risk-taking images, stories and ... importantly ... characterisations. But hey - what use poetry, if not risk?
Has anyone read The Man From London novel?
Oh an much as I love Niki's films, I do remember her telling Pavement Mag ...
"I'm not sure if Elam's stamped it out yet, but when I was there, there was a bunch of us who only wanted to make narrative-based films" or similar.
nice reviews james,
currently the film festival links dont work. an extra space in there maybe?
this kind of tribal history is something we need more of, and the more and the sooner, the better. It’s still too easy to consign New Zealand history to a single story of colonial exploitation.
Agreed, we need to do it before it's all been buried deeper. Looking forward to the new Ward film, long been fascinated with Rua Kenana and Tuhoe country. I'm currently a history undergrad and it keeps amazing me how much history we do have - so many stories to tell. It's still in the air, traces and echoes, especially outside the cities where it hasn't been paved over. Pave Paradise, put up a parking lot and all that...
Work and parenthood are limiting further cine fun. Mates have cajoled me into the Ashes of Time Redux wahoo fun powpow!
Oh boy... you're in for a hell of a shock. Wong Kar-Wai doesn't do 'wahoo fun powpow' more delicate melancholy and eye-poppingly luscious, highly stylized visuals. Ashes of Time is a real oddity, and I promise it's not like any wuxia films you've ever seen or ever will.
And be warned -- In The Mood for Love and 2046 are two of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen, but Wong doesn't do linear narrative. Or happy endings.
Well described, Craig. I'm looking forward to Ashes of Time too. It's on at the Embassy in Wellington this avo.
The one aspect of the film festival that I feel you've overlooked James and its an easy omission to make because the festival has grown so large.
This year there is an incredible contingent of Asian films after a disappointing Asian component last year. But Bill is back (after a year away) and he makes Asian cinema a real point of distinction.
And within that is the retrospective of Edward Yang films. I've seen YiYi which is wonderful. For me this is a fantastic opportunity to see his others. He's reputedly up there with Hou Hsiao Hsien another famous Taiwanese director (anyone who has seen Millennium Mambo will know what I'm talking about) but sadly we wont be seeing more films by Yang because he died last year. Bring them on.
My pick of the Fest this year is Time Crimes - caught it at the Movie Marathon last year and fell in love straight away, it's a deceptively simple time travel movie (no surprises there) that's logical, internally consistent, and plain old fun.
It's playing this arvo in Auckland if you can sneak outta work a little early, and again Monday night.
Other goodies so far have been King of Kong (which I've somehow avoided despite it floating around on burnt discs for aaages) and In Bruges surprisingly - hilarious, intelligent and profane, and what's more I actually liked Colin Farrell for the first EVER time.
I saw "Man On Wire" at the Wellington FF opening. It's a documentary about Philippe Petit's wire-walk across the Word Trade Center towers in 1974.
I loved it! The doco playfully styles itself as a heist movie, complete with a "man on the inside". The shadow of 9/11 looms, but the film lets the wire-walk be the focus. Though it's nice to see the WTC in its infancy, just as New York was coming to grips with this strange new building.
Lesson learned: all your dreams can come true, but don't expect to keep all your friendships/relationships.
I saw "Man On Wire" at the Wellington FF opening.
Snap! Weird film for a big law firm like Russell McVeagh to sponsor but (free drinks + free food) > odd film choice.
And within that is the retrospective of Edward Yang films.
I saw Taipei Story on Wednesday and enjoyed it very much. Yang has a lovely way of expressing very big themes through normal person-to-person conversation. (A key lesson learned from that film: if a character is listening to Kenny Loggins, they'll end up being a bad 'un.)
I saw "Man On Wire" at the Wellington FF opening.
It was pretty damn good - but I found it deeply frustrating that two major questions the film raised (how did he learn to do this? How can he afford to fly himself and his friends around the world doing it?) were never addressed.
Wong Kar-Wai doesn't do 'wahoo fun powpow' more delicate melancholy and eye-poppingly luscious, highly stylized visuals.
True enough, and well supported by You Tube cheat clips. And the programme note wasn't kidding re. egg-yolk yellow desert.
Still, eye-ball popping, egg yolk-yellow visuals should be ok of a sunday morn.
Agree on the return of the Asian component.
I found it deeply frustrating that two major questions the film raised (how did he learn to do this? How can he afford to fly himself and his friends around the world doing it?) were never addressed.
Yes, I had this discussion with many people after the film.
I think he mentioned in the film that he was essentially self-taught. As the film was mainly about the WTC walk, it didn't dwell too much on his past, but there was so much technical stuff involved - where did that knowledge come from.
As for the money, I did some googling. He funded his smaller, investigative trips through the money he earned from performing. He'd go to New York and perform in public places in between WTC scouting.
The big job - which obviously would have needed some serious cash behind it - was funded by an older man, a patron, who Philippe talked into sponsoring them. I think he's dead now so couldn't have been in the film.
But it's very interesting that this wasn't mentioned at all. Almost as if doing a crazy wire walk is something that anyone could do with common household items.
Bargain hunters may be interested to know that a double DVD of Vigil & The Navigator (plus the rarely seen In Spring One Plants Alone) was spotted at New World Chaffers for only $24.99.
Speaking of DVDs and things, does anyone know if The Bridge has been released on DVD? I missed seeing it at the festival last year, and was so disappointed.
Aw, I missed out on Ashes of Time.
Did anyone else see A Complete History of My Sexual Failures? It was hilarious, if outrageously outrageous. It starts off as a cringefest, but before you know it, it becomes exponentially more obscene and downright upsetting than that naked wrestling scene in Borat. *Exponentially*.
How does it rate against the Aristocrats?
I saw Ashes of Time years ago (presume it's the same one - is it in the film festival again?). I confess I found it tedious.
Well I'll be - the director's cut. The late Lesley cheung? What happened to him? (rhetorical q, I'll google him.)
Jackie -- The Bridge can't be in NZ outside of a festival or academic context. I imagine it's for the obvious reasons but I can't seem to find any decisions on the Chief Censor's website. It is on DVD in Australia and Google video (of course).