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JH

A Thin Slice of NZIFF 2019 So Far

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Image from 'Capital in the 21st Century'. The film is based on Thomas Piketty's book and directed by Justin Pemberton

'Capital in the 21st Century' is a visual and cerebral feast that, despite its extremely alarming content (Piketty says that gains in more equable global wealth distribution are now reversing), you don't want to end. Very different experientially (of course) from Piketty's dense and lengthy book, it is a brilliantly accessible, panoramic introduction to his ideas. Pithy and sensual, it is essential viewing: Pemberton's magnificent achievement.

Auckland

 

New Zealand International Film Festival

Various cinemas around Auckland City


18 July - 4 August 2019

The four films I viewed on Saturday and Sunday at the NZIFF 2019 were all fantastic.

The first one I saw, on Escher (by Robin Lutz), was fascinating with its excerpts from the Dutch printmaker’s intimate letters (he once claimed to be not an artist but a mathematician), family interviews, home movies when on holiday, statements of shock at unauthorised reproductions and mutilations (by adding ‘psychedelic’ colour) by American hippies of his labours, and wonderful film of him working at his woodcuts in his studio.

Olivier Assayas’ Non-Fiction is a wordy, very entertaining French comedy about intersecting treacheries on sexual, literary and technological fronts; witty and impressively contemporary with its satire on Parisian publishing. Looking at different couples in the arts, it is a buoyant and refreshing look at French domestic and cultural life, intertwined.

Hail Satan is a wonderful doco by Penny Lane about a group of ‘Satanists’ (they are actually no such thing; they are a group of heavy-metal loving activists who enjoy tormenting the Christian ‘right—both Catholic and Protestant—and who basically are atheists who despise Christian suppression of alternative world-views). It looks at methods of civic provocation, and issues of religious freedom (and religious avoidance) referenced in the American Constitution, and the determination and bravery of The Satan Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves.

The best of the four is New Zealander Justin Pemberton‘s ‘translation’ of French philosopher Thomas Piketty’s structured history of capitalism, a sumptuous montage of news film, specialist interviews, popular but pertinent television and film clips, economic and historical studies, and philosophical bytes.

Capital in the 21st Century is a visual and cerebral feast that, despite its extremely alarming content (Piketty says that gains in more equable global wealth distribution are now reversing), you don’t want to end. Very different experientially (of course) from Piketty’s dense and lengthy book, it is a brilliantly accessible, panoramic introduction to his ideas. Pithy and sensual, it is essential viewing: Pemberton’s magnificent achievement.

John Hurrell

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