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Preview: 2013 New Zealand International Film Festival

By Cinema and Reviews

04

Now, I’m risk­ing the ire of the extremely help­ful and gen­er­ous New Zealand International Film Festival team here, but I’m going to recom­mend an approach to festival-going that will prob­ably reward you more than it will them. Here goes: don’t book for any­thing. Don’t plan your life around any par­tic­u­lar screen­ing of any par­tic­u­lar film. Especially, don’t book for any­thing because that’s the one all your mates are going to.

Try this instead. Wake up on any giv­en morn­ing dur­ing the fest­iv­al, feel like watch­ing a movie, have a look through the fest­iv­al cal­en­dar in the middle of the pro­gramme (or the handy-sized mini-guide, avail­able soon) and pick a some­thing you fancy based on the title. Or the cinema closest to you. Or the cinema fur­thest away. Or close your eyes and jab a fin­ger at the page. Either way, step out of your com­fort zone and try some­thing new. You won’t regret it. Well, you might, but prob­ably not for long.

Every year, this is kind of what I do when I ask the fest­iv­al pub­li­city team for help with this pre­view. Give me a stack of screen­er DVDs, I say, or those new-fangled inter­net links where I have to watch a film sit­ting at my desk. No, don’t tell me what they are. Let me guess. Some of my favour­ite fest­iv­al exper­i­ences have come watch­ing films I knew noth­ing about, but for those of you who are going to ignore my advice and, um, take my advice, here are some notes on the films I’ve already seen, in no par­tic­u­lar order.

The House of Radio posterI’m a radio-head from my child­hood. I love radio, listen­ing to it, appear­ing on it, mak­ing it. I love look­ing at stu­di­os, per­ving at micro­phones, the red lights that go on when the mics are live, the silently tick­ing clocks. Watching Nicolas Philibert’s The House of Radio, I was a pig in shit. I don’t think I’ve been as blissed out as this watch­ing a film for ages. It’s one day in the life of Radio France, where seem­ingly dozens of sta­tions share a giant Parisian cathed­ral ded­ic­ated to the wire­less. News, talk, cul­ture, music – clas­sic­al, jazz and hip-hop. Philibert’s polite cam­era peers into their stu­di­os and their offices, even the Tour de France cor­res­pond­ent report­ing live from the back of a motorbike.

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