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The Guv’ner

By NZ and TV

A couple of years ago, while I was run­ning the bar at Downstage, I was lucky enough to share a couple of con­ver­sa­tions with act­ing legend (and Laureate) George Henare who was play­ing Dracula at the time. He told us some tales of shoot­ing the New Zealand his­tor­ic­al epic “The Governor” back in the late 70s and I asked him why it was so dif­fi­cult to actu­ally see. He told me that the act­ors’ con­tracts stated that any fur­ther screen­ings meant that they got to be paid again – at the fairly extraordin­ary rate of 100%. I asked him wheth­er he felt sad that so many New Zealanders would­n’t be able to see such an import­ant piece of work – not just the colo­ni­al his­tory but the tele­vi­sion his­tory. “No,” said George, “You want to do some­thing with it, pay me. That was the deal.”

And fair enough, too. Actors have been doing it tough in NZ for years and nowadays they don’t even get prop­er resid­uals or have to threaten to quit so that they don’t become ring tones without per­mis­sion.

But ima­gine my sur­prise when @publicaddress announced that the long lost first epis­ode of “The Governor” was avail­able to watch online at NZ On Screen. Which is awe­some. I just hope that someone remembered George.


By Asides and Wellington

I rarely, if ever, have any­thing to give away here at Funerals & Snakes but my pals and col­leagues at Welingtonista have a jolly expens­ive Nokia 5800 smart phone to give away (cour­tesy of Vodafone). Click here for more info.

Preview: World Cinema Showcase

By Cinema and Wellington

Too late to be more than 50% use­ful to any­one, here’s my World Cinema Showcase preview:

WSC 09 StarAs sum­mer gives way to autumn, and Daylight Saving Time gently releases its grip on our pri­or­it­ies, the first sig­ni­fic­ant film fest­iv­al of the year returns to take up res­id­ence at the Paramount. The World Cinema Showcase is two very tidy weeks of great filmgo­ing, almost as if the grand, winter, Festival has been dis­tilled down to a man­age­able essence.

Within, 33 fea­tures (and one omni­bus col­lec­tion of shorts) com­pete for your atten­tion and, luck­ily, the long Easter week­end allows you take full advant­age. A few of the titles were made avail­able to crit­ics as pre­views, but many more are on my list of films I simply must see on the big screen and, depend­ing on your tastes and interests, noth­ing is un-recommendable.

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FilmSoc: Another year of great value film watching

By Cinema and Wellington

Film Society logo eyeThose of us that try and take cinema ser­i­ously have very few for­ums where we can truly express our pas­sion and the Monday even­ing screen­ings at the Wellington Film Society are the alter at which we worship.

For over 60 years Wellingtonians have been gath­er­ing to watch flick­er­ing images from all over the world. In the days before the words nerd or geek we were called buffs (and were proud of it) and we still gath­er in our hun­dreds at the Paramount pic­ture theatre to bathe in the glory of a rect­an­gu­lar image on a sil­ver screen – shad­ows cast by films from exot­ic places (and some from less far afield).

This year’s Feb-Nov pro­gramme kicks-off on Monday with a real treat – Garden of Earthly Delights is the first screen­ing in a series of films by acclaimed Polish film­maker Lech Majewski and it’s a prime example of the kind of screen­ing that only the Film Society can provide. It’s an award-winning art movie about love, loss, mor­bid­ity and cre­ation and the dir­ect­or will be present at the screen­ing to take questions.

Other high­lights in this year’s broadly cur­ated pro­gramme include a couple of early films by Gus Van Sant (Milk), recent doc­u­ment­ar­ies Manufactured Landscapes and Darwin’s Nightmare and rare 35mm present­a­tions of fest­iv­al favour­ites La Sentinelle (1992), Diva (1981) and Paradzhanov’s mas­ter­piece The Colour of Pomegranates (1979).

Printed in Wellington’s Capital Times on Wednesday 4 March, 2009.

While filling in for Graeme Tuckett on Nine to Noon this morn­ing I gave the Film Society a bit of a deserved plug. It really is a treas­ure. You can listen here (or down­load):


More Ebert

By Asides, Dinner for One and Wellington

Roger Ebert on the per­son­al, private places he loves (and the joys of being alone with them, as well as the occa­sion­al pleas­ures to be found in shar­ing them):

I first vis­ited the Moscow Arms near Pembridge Square in 1970, when the room fee at the hotel now named the Blue Bells was £4 a night. I have nev­er met any­body in that pub. I always sit in the same corner booth. There is a man who comes in every lunch­time, tat­tooed, bald, and wear­ing a motor­cycle jack­et. He is nearly 40 years older now, but he is still there, and it looks like it’s still the same jack­et. Has he noticed me cross­ing his field of vis­ion 50 or 75 times in his life­time? Certainly not. But if he still comes at lunch­time every day, it is my duty to bear wit­ness, because by now I have become the only per­son in the Moscow Arms who knows how long he has been doing this, or cares. I believe this includes him.

I too enjoy sit­ting alone in cafés, res­taur­ants and bars. Indeed this very morn­ing I took brunch at The Cheeky Pipi in Island Bay and, des­pite the average-ness of the cof­fee and the meal, I enjoyed the sit­ting, the read­ing and the watching.