Where two next?

Antipodean travelogue through the eyes of two - one textile and one building lover. It'll be hard to differentiate the two!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This is New Zealand

The New Zealand International Film Festival started its Wellington leg just over a week ago and Sharon and I were keen to take in a few movies. We went to see A Mighty Heart last Tuesday in the Embassy Theatre. I am not sure which we enjoyed more the theatre or the movie!

The Lord of the Rings had its debut in the Embassy and the theatre is a real throw back to the days when going to the cinema was seen as a "night out." The theatre seating is really generous, you don't have to stand up to let someone pass by, and the ergonomics are terrific. No slanting of the head in order to bypass someone else's. The real treat however is the leather seats in the centre of the theatre and if it's "free" seating you'll find people literally queueing up to get them! Here's a few pics which gives you an idea of the theatre.

However it was last Sundays three short movies that interested us the most. This is New Zealand, C'mon to New Zealand and This is Expo made up an hours worth of NZ promotional movies. C'mon to New Zealand was a twenty minute tourist promotional video made in 1969 and was aimed at luring the Aussies over to NZ. It was hilarious! Apart from the side burns, big lapels, flares etc. the airline food got the biggest reaction. There was no cheap flights in those days and if the film was anything to go by the meals were five courses and works of art! Air hostess with sweet trolleys offering the most sumptuous of deserts! Lobster laid out on silver platters to whet the appetite. In short food you would expect in some of the finer establishments around town. Along with the visual quirks of the movie the commentary didn't disappoint either. With the stereo typical "righty-ho chaps" English gent orating for our benefit.

However the film we really wanted to see was This is New Zealand. In 1969 Britain joined the Common Market which meant that NZ had to start promoting itself to the world in order to develop alternative markets for their goods. NZ decided to take part in the 1970 Expo in Osaka Japan. The star attraction of the event was a revolutionary twenty minute film that introduced viewers to New Zealand. It was shot over three screens as per the pic below and I assumed that it was done this way to be more creative. In reality NZ didn't have a 70mm camera so they were forced to use three 35mm cameras instead! Necessity is the mother of invention and what materialised was some amazing collages of images.

The film itself is not as funny as the first movie but what it lacks in jocularity it makes up for in camera work. Although both Sharon and I were surprised that the NZ landscape didn't feature more heavily. After This is New Zealand there was a short documentary about the people working at the NZ pavilion during the Expo.

The film festival goes on until the 5th August here in Wellington and you can check out the web site to see whats on in the coming days. We hope to see a few more movies before The End!


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