Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to eyeCONTACT, a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. I'm John Hurrell its editor, a New Zealand writer, artist and curator. While Creative New Zealand and other supporters are generously paying me and other contributors to review exhibitions over the following year, all expressed opinions are entirely our own.

Friday, July 17, 2009

For Auckland readers who like me, are film nuts

(hey, most art lovers are) Saturday afternoon (1.00) is your last chance to see Albert Serra's brilliant Birdsong. It's part of the International Film Festival, and I think critic/curator Richard Dale lobbied for its inclusion. Thank God he did.

Steve Garden (a wonderful film writer on The Lumiere Reader) also loves it. It's easy to see why. It's exceptional. The best of the eight I've seen so far. A mysterious, moody, yet hilarious, spectacularly beautiful movie about three bumbling Kings traipsing across the barren Icelandic landscape in search of the baby J. It has overtones of Pasolini, Rossellini and others. It also includes superb night-time photography. It's b/w and digital, transferred to film. And the Catalan director is at the screenings to answer questions. Very special.

Also being screened on Saturday (3.30) is Mark Peranson's movie about Birdsong's making, Waiting For Sancho. Peranson is in Auckland with Serra. They came to Daniel Malone's performance on Friday night at Gambia Castle.

The Festival seems quite remarkable this year and is well supported. Lots of packed houses. In times of recession, films are a substitute for travel perhaps? It's also good for the imagination and you don't screw up the ozone layer or waste global resources. More importantly, some of it is great art. Stuff to think about for years to come, that often will never get to your local video/DVD library. A great opportunity.

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