NZFF 2011 Day One

Day One: ‘Fire In Babylon’, ‘Guilty Pleasures’, ‘Greensplat’, and ‘Let The Bullets Fly’.

Day One of the 2011 New Zealand International Film Festival (Wellington).

Fire In Babylon

Documentary on the West Indian Cricket Team, 1970s to 1980s. Uplifting as a sports doco; had some good laughs; recommend for those who enjoy cricket, docos at the Film Festival, and those who don’t know about cricket and want to learn a little. Random scenes of West Indian musicians performing songs about cricket: I suppose to show how cricket influenced pop culture, but it was a bit distracting (some good songs though).  4 out of 5.

Guilty Pleasures

Documentary on Mills and Boon/Harlequin. One of the writers, a single middle-aged man in small-town UK; one of the cover art male models living in New York; a Japanese housewife who dreamt of her life turning into one of the Harlequin stories, so she took up Ballroom Dancing; an Indian woman whose husband shacked up with another woman for 5 years, but she thinks they’ll get back together; a married couple in the UK showing their love for each other.

The editor had fun. There are some good laughs to be had. I thought that the director may have built the story a bit too much – the story arcs were too perfect, the endings too happy for real life, the husband character too villanous. A few scenes made me think that it is a director early in her career. Please please do not interview someone on a boat and have the horizon in the background, bobbing up and down. I don’t experience sea-sickness, but I was feeling ill just watching it. 3 out of 5.


11-minute short film before Guilty Pleasures.  Dawn Tuffery talks about growing up in a small town in Cornwall. A personal story with funny animation and archived recordings.

Let The Bullets Fly

Um. Yes.  Chinese film starring Chow Yun-Fat. Bandits in the 1920s descend on a town, the leader claiming to be the Governor. A power struggle breaks out between the Bandit Leader and the local Opium Magnate. They each try to outwit and outplay each other. Some cool effects, some cool ideas … however I think some of it (or a lot of it) was lost in translation. I probably won’t see it again. 2.85 out of 5.

Author: phetheringtonnz

Film Producer, Director, Lecturer. From NZ based in London.