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existence

Review: Existence, Song of the Kauri, Magic Mike, Bel Ami, The Princess of Montpensier

By Cinema, Reviews

Update (2 Aug 2012): The unfin­ished screen­er of Song of the Kauri that I watched had a cap­tion that stated that New Zealand impor­ted more tim­ber than it expor­ted. It turns out that this isn’t actu­ally true and that the cap­tion does­n’t appear in the fin­ished ver­sion of the film that screens in NZFF. Director Mathurin Molgat emailed me last night:

This was a fact that my research proved to be incor­rect. We import exot­ic hard­woods but our exports of Pinus Radiata far out­strip our total imports. In the fin­ished film that state­ment is not included.

Funerals & Snakes apo­lo­gies for any incon­veni­ence the error might have caused.

End of update.

Existence posterIn a bleak and windswept envir­on­ment, high in the hills sur­roun­ded by for­bid­ding wind tur­bines, a ragged band of out­casts work tire­lessy togeth­er to make some­thing out of almost noth­ing. They are resource­ful and determ­ined – bat­tling extreme con­di­tions and over­com­ing impossible odds. I’m talk­ing about the char­ac­ters in new Wellington fea­ture film Existence which gets its première in Wellington on Friday night, but I might as well be describ­ing the film­makers them­selves who shot the film in the hills around Belmont and Makara in 2011. Existence is the first product of the NZ Film Commission’s low budget Escalator pro­gramme and is a test­a­ment to the depth of tal­ent in the industry here.

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Preview: New Zealand International Film Festival 2012

By Cinema, Reviews

It’s extremely quiet in terms of new releases in cinemas at the moment. The major inter­na­tion­al dis­trib­ut­ors are keep­ing well clear of the over­whelm­ing force that will be The Dark Knight Rises and the indies know that all the art­house money is going into film fest­iv­al tickets.

This year – for a change – I’m not book­ing in advance for any­thing. There’s so much good­ness in the pro­gramme – and my faith in serendip­ity needs a bit of a boost – that I’ll just see what hap­pens to be play­ing whenev­er I get a spare moment and then give it a go. With well over 150 indi­vidu­al films and short pro­grammes to choose from I’m sure there’ll always be some­thing on that’s going to chal­lenge and enlight­en me.

Rampart posterIt helps that, thanks to fest­iv­al man­age­ment, I’ve already seen ten of what’s on offer – ten films that might be easy to miss when flick­ing from one end of the 80 page book to the oth­er. In Rampart, Woody Harrelson finally lays to rest the ghosts of Cheers with a lacer­at­ing per­form­ance as an LA cop who’s as tor­men­ted and cor­rup­ted as Harvey Keitel’s legendary Bad Lieutenant. Collaborating once again with writer-director Oren Moverman (the bril­liant and under-seen The Messenger), Harrelson plays a char­ac­ter so awful that 108 minutes later you are amazed to find you actu­ally care about him.

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