April 14, 2005

Running; or In My Father's Den

The screen goes black.

I shut my eyes. The silence is enormous. I open my eyes. I sit still, eyes fixed on the screen. I feel a turmoil of emotion, once so familiar, threatening to turn my eyes wild and my actions reckless: the desire for destruction, the half-understood compulsion to wreck something.

I sit and stare. I stand back from myself, astounded. Pieces are coming together now. Disparate shards fly towards a whole like a breaking glass in reverse.

As I walk out of the theatre my mind becomes focussed. The sliding glass doors open and close shut, and as I pass through I feel the urge to run. The mind becomes empty, no thought or intention dares enter, and the only thing to do is run: find a clear path ahead and run as fast as I can.

I run down Courtenay Place, sidestepping someone as I swerve at speed onto Taranaki Street, passing the doctor’s and the florist and leaping across the road beside the bookstore. Past the Pacific Island church, past the lights, but not much further. My lungs can’t keep up with the pace my legs are setting.

My mind flies when I run. It doesn’t have to do anything but look ahead and keep my limbs moving. Running forces my whole being to focus on pushing forwards, leaving behind, getting to there and away from here.


I had thought I was the only person in the country that hadn't yet seen In My Father's Den, but after mentioning it to a few people it turns out I wasn't. Those of you who haven't seen it, mark the name! While the stunning Central Otago scenery is best viewed on a wide screen, you should make it a priority to see this film in whatever form you can. Simply incredible.


Anonymous Alan said...

I want to see it. I'm from Central Otago, and any film with the scenery in it makes me feel... I don't know.

Of course, from what I'm told the film would work equally well without the scenery... but still.

The award for the NZ film with best pictures of Central Otago (from someone who hasn't seen In my father's Den) goes to Illustrious Energy, a beautifully filmed story about a couple of chinese goldminers.

10:38 PM  
Blogger llew said...

Also haven't seen it yet - but I read the book at Christmas, and that's great.

Although... Central Otago? The book is set in Henderson (or a fictional representation of it).

Illustrious Energy is beautiful.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Huh - so you'd agree its the best ever New Zealand film? Even if we include LOTR as a New Zealand film, which I'd say is a pretty marginal claim anyway - sure it was made here, but it is not in any sense OF New Zealand.

In My Father's Den buys into so much that is quinteseentially New Zealand, even from a film theory perspective, with our classic "cinema of unease" thing. Plus it is simply a great story.

It gets released on DVD next week - I'd say its a keeper. In fact, I might just go see it again on the big screen before then.

2:54 AM  
Blogger llew said...

It's actually on Whitcoull's shelves today!

5:36 AM  
Blogger Jessie said...

Best ever NZ film? Quite possibly.

3:32 AM  
Blogger supergood said...

Its definately a fantastic film, but i'm not sure I could watch it over and over like Goodbye Pork Pie ;-) Oh who am I kidding, best kiwi film I have ever seen.

12:08 PM  

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