Sunday, September 4, 2011


I missed out on seeing any Auckland Film Festival films this year.  But I have seen…

Bill Cunningham New York
I admire creative people. I wish I could be more imaginative.  I envy those who work daily with their passion in life.  This charming documentary follows Bill Cunningham, a photographer in his eighties, as he rides his pedal bike or stands on street corners snapping people who catch his eye, covering society events and capturing the city’s nightlife for the New York Times.  Fashion is Bill’s passion in life and he lives it obsessively.  Attending numerous events (and turning down quite a collection of invites too) such is his integrity that he doesn’t accept even a glass of water whilst working as he does not want to be obliged to anyone.  What a breath of fresh air.  I stepped out onto the street after the movie smiling and wanting to be kind to people.  It has that effect.  It has such heart.  Go see it.

Afternoons with Margueritte
Yes, I spelt Margueritte correctly – it’s Margueritte with two t’s as the little old lady points out. 

Treated as the village idiot by other inhabitants and even worse by his own mother, Germain (Gerard Depardieu) meets a petite, elegant lady in her 90s in a park he frequents to feed the birds.  A friendship develops and Margueritte introduces him to the world of books.

Friends who’d seen this French movie all recommended it. I don’t know, perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood but I found it slightly irritating, ponderous, at times implausible and verging on slapstick.  Did Gerard Depardieu write into his contract that he had to have a very young lover?  I can’t think of another reason why a sexy and attractive young woman would be in a relationship with this character – sorry, it was bordering on creepy.  Does a supposedly barely literate man start reading effortlessly in such a short time, gliding over each word without pause?  I thought not.  Perhaps I’m just too cynical?  But you don’t have to listen to me.  Apparently I’m in the minority, so view it for yourself.

I should have gone to see this film instead.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Finally I got to see this at the Rialto in Newmarket, Auckland.   I recommend an early morning sitting if, like me, you want to avoid the texting, feet on seats, talking, giggling at inappropriate moments audience you might normally find at such films (they’re still in their beds).  Bliss - there was only one other person present (adult with no apparent cellphone nor restless foot and mouth), and I had a lovely coffee to sip. 

And the film? I’m always apprehensive I will dislike movies I have high hopes for.  No disappointments here.  The stylized darkness of more recent HP films is still evident – a disarming bird’s eye shot of the Hogwarts’ rampart with dark, sombre students almost frog marching was quite chilling.  There's enough action but not excessive. I’m not much into action films.  Is it just me or has there been a glut of giant trolls in films since Lord of the Rings?  Oh yes, I know, the script called for giants.  Groan.  Every time I see one I think of Weta workshop and there goes the magic!

The sad moments were mercifully consigned to the background (well, Dobbie dying in the last one was enough for me, thanks) and although it was a more serious chapter, the humour was still evident.

And that’s it, the end of the books and the films.  I have lost my voice on occasions or choked back tears reading the books to my daughter when she was younger.  It was a lovely connection we had together and now it’s all over.  Bye bye Harry Potter, we loved you!

If you’d like some more film reviews, visit this link to Plum Kitchen and see how she uses  “tractor” ratings to rank movies  – very amusing. 

And read this book.

Hand Me Down World
Lloyd Jones

I purchased this book at midday one day, starting reading it at 4 o’clock to get in a few hours reading.  Next day, I sat in the sun at lunch reading for half an hour, then read solid for two hours when I got home.  By 6pm I had closed the last page.  Whew!  But why?  Well, to be in time to discuss it at book club, that’s why.  Like me, one of our book club members had done the same.  We’d both read reviews that implied there was a twist to the tale.  So the dilemma – do we limit everyone to talking around the book and avoiding spoiling it for us?  Or, do we push to finish it. This was the kind of book that made me want to keep turning the pages.  Drawn in from the start, I was captivated.  It was satisfying to devour it in a couple of sessions as a continuous flow without forgetting where I’d got to in the plot the last time I put it down.  

The novel is the story of a mysterious woman, whose child is taken from her, and we follow her journey from Tunisia to Berlin to find the boy.  Except she’s not telling the story.  The author uses people the woman meets along the way to recount her journey.  The truth or versions of the truth unfold slowly.  Finally, readers get to hear the woman’s own personal account.  This is a beautifully written, haunting story about identity, other people’s perceptions, survival and motherhood that you will want to read again. 

1 comment:

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