Museums, we love them. Movies, they're great. Conventions, never been to one but apparently they make a lot of money so everyone thinks we should create a space to hold them. We're lucky because some bright sparks have decided to roll them all into one and build a new movie-cum-convention centre complex structure institution. Cool for them, them being Sir Peter Jackson, Sir Richard Taylor and the grateful residents of Wellington. Now, I'm sounding curmudgeonly but it's only because, as I have mentioned, I love museums and I love movies, and I do not love this idea. Reason one being The Great War Exhibition as it is rolled out as a reason why J&T should be given reign of another museological project. I found TGWE to be not so much an educative, awe-inspiring experience so much as a traipse through some realistic-looking film sets full of (for the most part) replicas and a tenuous narrative structure. Reason two being money. I find it galling that Jackson and Taylor who are both worth a lot of money get to Smaug it all to themselves while the grateful ratepayers of Wellington get to pay for them to exhibit their memorabilia. I haven't seen word of any other content for the J&T Museum but maybe they should reflect a more diverse array of the movie industry than just these two men's work.
Which gets me to the Five of my Fast Five Friday, here are five Aotearoa movie personalities/works I would much rather see in a museum:
1. MERATA MITA
This post was inspired in equal part by my dismay of the proposed museum and this excellent essay by Chloe Cull about director Merata Mita for Enjoy Gallery's Love Feminisms journal. What a woman. It's no surprise that her legacy has been reflected in the Merata Mita Fellowship at the Sundance Film Festival which will be open to Native or Indigenous filmmakers around the world.
2. Lee Tamahori
We all know Tamahori's work thanks to Once Were Warriors (and I have to make a plug for screenwriters to be included in my dream museum because Riwia Brown's treatment of the book is amazing and I'm so glad she *SPOILER ALERT* avoided the ambiguity around who raped Gracie and cut out the weird ending) but did you know that he also directed an episode of The Sopranos? He also is the director of the soon-to-be released Mahana which is a film adaptation of Witi Ihimaera's Bulibasha. Which I love. So, I'm looking forward to this soooo much. Trailer to build anticipation:
That actually gave me a real bad buzz with its heavy Māori male saves the whānau skew: "A man fights for his family Simeon." So do women. (Will still watch.)
3. Barry Barclay
I first watched Ngati as a kid and was so happy to see Māori and Māori kids in particular onscreen. Bearing in mind that some of the storylines are tino, tino bleak, I still loved it as a kid. Also, it meant that the soundtrack featured a lot of waiata Māori and I would force my older brother to sing Paikea to me over and over again as we're not from Ngāti Porou and I didn't know the words. The wide usage of non-actors gives it a realism that pangs at my heart and tugs me back home. Follow this link for an excerpt featuring Tama Ngākau Marie and the late great Wi Kuki Kaa. The friendship of the two little boys is just so heartbreaking, makes me so sad.
4. Eliane Koller
I'd never heard of this woman before today but when the story of her film about Tupaia popped up on Radio New Zealand International's twitter, I had to include her. The internet helpfully informed me that Eliane is German, has a degree in Cultural Anthropology and possibly lives in Tahiti. It is her intention with Tupaia that the overwhelming history of great European ocean navigators is tempered with acknowledgement of the great Polynesian ocean navigators that went before them and/or helped to them to 'discover' landforms. Also, fuck the 'good savage' narrative (my words not hers).
5. Toa Fraser
I've included Fraser mainly because of the breadth of work that he has done, not all of which I appreciate. I saw No 2 at the cinema and looooved it, it also happened to coincide with my obsession with Hollie Smith. It is the story of *SPOILER ALERT* a matriarch looking for her replacement and all the men in the family butt heads trying to prove why they should be chosen only to be overlooked for the hard-working, silently suffering but getting shit done sister. Fraser also worked on the screenplay to River Queen which I've only ever heard negative opinions about and concur heartily with the sentiment that it is terrible. Then there was Giselle which I've never seen but want to see it really badly as I was a fan of that reality show about the ballet. Also, tenuous link to my teenage years with Centre Stage. Then there was Deadlands which I only watched because I was forced to by my husband. It was hugely disappointing and did nothing but perpetuate this warrior narrative and Māori male authority that is just so not my reality or interest. There was one female character that I remembered and she was a double-patu wielding badass. *SPOILER ALERT* Until she fucking died after the comic return from the depths of the river of Lawrence Makoare's character. But at least Fraser's work challenges me as a viewer and keeps me interested.
On that note, happy Friday. If you're enjoying some enduring summer weather, I hope you have a river to cool off in: