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.
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.