Re: [-empyre-] speaking of film.. and global art industry

Well, I gotta start somewhere.  Lee Tamahori is a genius.

I remember Mr Tamahori when I was working on the underrated Savage
Islands (I severly sprained both ankles when I was required to stand
in for Tommy Lee Jones' hands - nobody dared to ask him to do a
crucial scene that hadn't been thought of when it should have been -
no wonder he smoked so much dope, its stressful being the star) even
though it was a bit of a pot-boiler, and a few other films perhaps
including the very excellent Came a Hot Friday with the oh so
delicious Marise Wipani, I could see very plainly that Mr Tamahori was
a very focused guy (and talented with it).

Next time I met him I was doing my day at Fingers in another side
interest of mine and the bastard remembered my name and by then he had
worked with hundreds of people and no doubt remembered all of their

Once Were Warriors was a more brilliant movie than I recognised at the
time, but I did think that it was brilliant.  Of course it was a bit
like a long clever TVC.  Of course there are political reasons for
disputing its worth or its effect but as a focused work of
imagination, a construct that ate my mind and gave it back to me in
better shape that it was before it is 'up' there with the best and I
don't mean the most export dollars, or work and career for New

Like Whale Rider, as has been suggested earlier in this discussion,
and Map of the Human Heart, and Brain Dead (but not like LOTR), and
like anything by Jane Campion, we are dealing with 'product' that if
we are weak enough to want to compare it with anything else can only
be compared with the best.

(Of course I am, and we are, talking relative mainstream here.  This
is stuff that got as far as being made and distributed and critically
approved AND I think is way better than good. And we are only talking

In case anyone is wondering what 'the best' is ... [pause] ... 'the
best' has no name, it even, in my experience, often starts off as
something you don't like at all, like a Blackberry....and then you
realise that you are inside someone elses fucking fascinating mind.

Not that anybody should feel bigheaded about having a brilliant mind. 
What are you looking at when you see anything amazing, anything with
wow factor to burn?  Like my buttoh stripper friend, as a good
example. Yes, you are looking into someone's brain, you are living in
someone elses imagination, and you are looking at the stars and they
are talking to you...and it makes sense.

More later...


On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 20:50:18 +1300, Helen Varley Jamieson
<> wrote:
> "once were warriors" is/was our biggest selling local movie - i guess
> it's been eclipsed by LOTR by now, altho LOTR is a bit different bcos
> of outside funding & stars - but i think warriors was the first time
> an nz movie beat mainstream imports at the box office. it also did
> well overseas - i was surprised to meet people in uruguay & argentina
> who had seen it on TV (renamed "the passion & the fury" in spanish ;
> )  it caused some controversy here, partly because the writer (of the
> original novel) is a bit of a stirrer, & also because many maori
> people felt that it was painting a bad picture of maori generally.
> but it reached out to a huge young audience who were seeing their
> first nz-made film, & showed that great films could be made in here,
> with our own stories. "heavenly creatures" was't as much of a
> mainstream hit, but it was still a significant film & very well
> received here.
> of course "once were warriors" didn't come out of nowhere, we have a
> pretty good film tradition & have exported many directors (jane
> campion to australia, roger donaldson to hollywood) & actors, & lots
> have stayed as well. peter jackson has made a point of staying in
> wellington which has been really good for the local film industry.
> there are lots of other great nz films like "mr wrong" (dir gaylene
> preston), "goodbye pork pie (dir geoff murphy)", "smash palace" (dir
> roger donaldson), "vigil" (dir vincent ward), new release "in my
> father's den" (dir brad mcgann),  etc  ... see the nz film commission
> for more,
> nz has been used as a film location for a long time. a number of big
> hollywood productions have been made here - recently "the last
> samurai" (tom cruise apparently loves taranaki ... ), "the lion, the
> witch & the wardrobe", parts of "sylvia", "vertical limit", & i
> forget what else, lots of hollywood action films made around central
> otago. & of course the tv series "xena" & "hercules" were filmed in
> nz. there are a few companies whose business is assisting overseas
> production companies to find locations & crew here (eg
> as well as having a good variety of scenery
> we're also cheap & there's not too many local folk to get in the way.
> it's been going on for some time now & i don't think it has had a
> negative effect on the local film industry - if anything, it's
> enabled film people to exist between local productions, & not have to
> go overseas to develop their careers.
> h : )
> >speaking of  film - one of the first nz films i saw was  Lee Tamahori's
> >"once were warriors"  -a look at  a contemporary Maori family in urban New
> >Zealand, replete with domestic violence, amazing  intensity,  intimacy , and
> >hope.. . another  was "heavenly creatures" the true story about the two
> >white teenage girls who killed one of their mothers with a brick. .. both
> >great insightful movies.. how were they received locally ?
> >
> >in fact, now i think about it your film industry has produced lots of quirky
> >and fabulous  movies...  but i guess "lord of the rings" is the thing which
> >has bought spectacular international attention.. and i assume will now mean
> >that us film companies  will want to shoot lots of stuff in nz using the
> >high quality  but relatively cheap labour and facilities, just  as they do
> >in Australia.
> >
> >This i think has helped killed off the smaller great films from our
> >Australian film industry. i haven't seen much at all  emerge locally since
> >big budgets like matrix, Moulin rouge etc  stared being made here. (film
> >people please show me i am wrong!) .there have been lots of great short
> >shorts,  but relatively few  features.  so that stated goal of art
> >practices.. ie visibility and "making it on a world stage" which im sure we
> >all hear proudly proclaimed in dreary speeches at numerous launches, seems
> >rather counter productive as the result seem to be smothering  rather than
> >liberating.
> >
> >speaking as an Australian i think there is a very  great  advantage to being
> >a relatively small and peripherally positioned blended culture. i see this
> >in terms of freedom from either the weight of European, Indian or eastern
> >art history and philosophy, or the mainstream expectations of the US global
> >culture machine;  and in terms  of the innovation and creative solutions
> >which can arise in an off centred  space...   this freedom  humility and
> >perspective gained form not thinking one is the centre of  universal culture
> >makes for great art practices, in whatever form they manifest.
> >
> >Melinda
> >
> --
> ____________________________________________________________
> helen varley jamieson: creative catalyst
> ____________________________________________________________
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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