Free Parking for improvisation in multiple environments.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

In My Father's Den

I have finally seen In My Father's Den, and it was a shame that I waited until the DVD release, rather than seeing it in the cinema. I think it is a completely stunning film, and does full justice to the novel by Maurice Gee.

The intrigue of the film reveals itself in a slow and measured way. What starts as a story about the return of a (prodigal?) son to his hometown after years overseas prompted by his father's death, becomes a rumination on the pain of confronting our past. The mystery deepens when a key character disappears, and it is only at the end of the film that we find out just how close together all the protagonists are bound.

For New Zealanders, it is easy to view this as an archtypal kiwi film. There are certainly aspects of this work that will resonate strongly with a native audience: the need to escape our islands, the sense of landscape, the particular characters in the community, and the accents of the actors. For kiwis of a certain age, there is even a "Dougal Stevenson" moment.

Director Brad McGann (currently battling cancer again) has done a great job capturing the landscape of inland Otago, and reflecting the culture of a small town in New Zealand's South Island. But this is a film that anyone, anywhere will enjoy. Beautiful to look at, and genuinely moving.

I know there are many non-NZ readers of this blog. If your experience of NZ cinema begins and ends with Peter Jackson, this film is well worth seeking out.

Crowded House - She Goes On
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  • At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Shama said…

    I am not a Kiwi but I loved this film.


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