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By Cinema and Wellington

Holy Hell! I just got back from tak­ing my Ma and Niece to Horton Hears a Who! at Readings and got stung for $42.60 (includ­ing one small pop­corn). For a Thursday morn­ing matinée!

It just goes to show how out of touch I am (my usu­al vora­cious movie-going is 100% sub­sid­ised by dis­trib­ut­ors and cinemas) but “Ouch”. How do nor­mal civil­ians cope?

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not com­plain­ing – I know first-hand what the costs are in run­ning a cinema. I’m just sur­prised. And broke.

Hey, I made it in to the Dom-Post

By Cricket and NZ

Well, the web site any­way (Hamish McDouall’s crick­et blog to be precise):

Here is my friend Dan, seeth­ing with vol­can­ic energy, about the Napier test:

I’m still furi­ous about Sunday afternoon’s col­lapse, not because it was so unne­ces­sary (and not because I’d just texted a friend say­ing lit­er­ally “we won’t bat again in this game”) but because the day before a 19-year-old had bowled his heart out, and us in to a win­ning pos­i­tion, and the seni­or play­ers – the guys he should be look­ing up to and learn­ing from – showed him that he needn’t have bothered. They demon­strated once again that mediocrity and a “near enough is good enough” atti­tude will get you in this team and keep you there and that no amount of drive, com­mit­ment, tal­ent and spunk will prompt your team­mates to raise their game.

Imagine if Southee had joined the Australian team – every­one around him would be driv­ing him to get bet­ter and achieve more. For the Black Caps he’s already good enough to be picked for as long as he wants.

Where’s the motiv­a­tion going to come from? If McCullum’s out on Sunday is any­thing to go by it won’t be from the vice-captain. But then I’ve nev­er for­giv­en him for this: McCullum c Silva b Muralitharan 0(1)”

Now that’s writ­ing that bristles with so much fis­sion it could power Donetsk or oth­er indus­tri­al East European conurbations.

Cheers, Hamish.

Barry Barclay: an appreciation

By Cinema, NZ, TV and Wellington

Documentary film­maker, and Dom-Post movie review­er, Graeme Tuckett kindly gave me per­mis­sion to post this lovely appre­ci­ation of Barry Barclay:

Tangata Whenua director Barry Barclay during the filming of The Neglected Miracle in 1985Its been a couple of days now since the phone rang, and I heard from his sis­ter Pauline that Barry Barclay had died. Barry was – and remains – an abso­lute giant in New Zealand and the World’s film com­munit­ies. He is widely and fam­ously regarded as the first mem­ber of an Indigenous nation to dir­ect a fea­ture film, and often held up in New Zealand as being pos­sibly our greatest and most influ­en­tial doc­u­ment­ary maker. But I think its import­ant to remem­ber now that Barry’s more cel­eb­rated achieve­ments -Ngati, The Tangata Whenua series, The Feathers of Peace- were foun­ded on the back of a long and com­pas­sion­ate jour­ney of dis­cov­ery of self, of oth­ers and a rig­or­ous, vig­or­ous, dis­arm­ingly play­ful and pun­ish­ingly sharp mind. “Barry is a thinker” was one decept­ively obvi­ous little nug­get that cropped up dur­ing an inter­view in Auckland a few months ago. Obvious on the face of it; but how many people can we really apply the epi­thet to? Barry was cap­able – and though he would nev­er men­tion it, he had both the train­ing and the firepower- of great and ori­gin­al philo­soph­ic­al thought. Get your­self a copy of Mana Tuturu- I’m sure Unity books will have them in a win­dow dis­play by now, even if Whitcoulls can not bring them­selves to stock it – and read the open­ing chapters. Marvel and laugh as Barry affec­tion­ately and accur­ately accuses Captain Cook of ‘home inva­sion’- and then goes on to con­vin­cingly and eleg­antly prove bey­ond any talk­back hosts wild­est polem­ic exactly why ‘coun­try’ and ‘nation’ are two very dif­fer­ent con­cepts. All of that in the open­ing pages, and there’s still 300 to go…Enjoy. Or make the pil­grim­age to the film archive’s base­ment, and treat your­self to a view­ing of Barry’s early and wildly exper­i­ment­al doco’s Ashes, Autumn Fires, or The Town That Lost a Miracle. They are still head and shoulders above most of the pub­lic­ally fun­ded obvi­ous­ness that gets passed off as doc­u­ment­ary today, and so far bey­ond the grasp of any­thing our cur­rent crop of ‘pro­viders and fun­ders’ would ever con­tem­plate as to beg­gar belief. Not just records of anoth­er time; these films roll out like broad­casts from anoth­er plan­et: A place where ‘pitch­ing con­tests’ and ‘expec­ted out­comes’ would be classed as crim­in­al activ­it­ies. Barry made films from the pos­i­tion that the film­maker was abso­lute; that everything was in the ser­vice of the film, and that the film (and its makers) served only truth. His approach to doc­u­ment­ary espe­cially was com­pletely uncom­prom­ising, but some­how still mal­le­able, adapt­able, chaot­ic, and funny as all hell. His shoots were char­ac­ter­ised by great humour and a con­stant sense of winging it with the best of them- but the res­ults were sear­ingly intel­li­gent, pro­voc­at­ive, idio­syn­crat­ic and time­less. I nev­er actu­ally heard Bazz say ‘Damn the Torpedoes’ – though I know he loved the sen­ti­ment – but I cer­tainly heard him mut­ter ‘bug­ger the producer/broadcaster/funder a few times.

Barry BarclayIn his last couple of years, Bazz was hit­ting his straps with a gentle fury that prob­ably looked like fun to the unini­ti­ated. He was migh­tily enthused by the pos­sib­il­it­ies of cheap digit­al cam­er­as and edit­ing sys­tems, and by the know­ledge that soon the film­makers would have everything they needed to make a fea­ture or a doc­u­ment­ary right in their own – or their communities- hands. He had a dream of a cam­era, an edit suite, and a broad­band con­nec­tion avail­able to every marae, and a cent­ral server- admin­istered from the NZ Film Archive- that could col­late and store every second of foot­age that came down the pipe. I don’t doubt for a moment that, gran­ted anoth­er year or two of life, Bazz would have made it hap­pen. Will one of us pick up that load now?

Over the last few days- and I guess a few more times in the days ahead, you’ll hear and read a bunch of trib­utes that will invari­ably begin ‘Barry Barclay, the dir­ect­or of the film Ngati…” Well yes, Ngati is a stag­ger­ing and gor­geous achieve­ment (Hell, Bazz die­ing might even spur the NZFC into finally mak­ing it avail­able on DVD…) But right now, maybe its time to acknow­ledge some of the man’s work that might be about to van­ish into the base­ments and memor­ies of the many of us that he made friends of. I was a bar­man when I first met him, I saw the tail end of the deluge, and I’ve heard some­thing of the dam­age and grief that a man of Bazz’s size can cause when he’s blun­der­ing in the fog. But for me its the jokes, the games of chess, the (ginger) beers, the sly charm, the right­eous anger and the per­fectly uncon­tra­dicted Marxism and spir­itu­al­ity that seemed to me to inform every word he spoke and frame he com­posed. They say ‑well, someone does- that the best way to mourn a man is to carry on his work. It’ll take all of us and then some to do a half of what Bazz might have done. But that’s no reas­on not to try.

Tama Poata, John O’Shea, Wi Kuki Kaa, Michael King and now Barry. There is a clear­ing where a forest once stood.

Graeme has just com­pleted a doc­u­ment­ary about Barry for Maori TV.