I won’t repeat the review part here, but it is well worth reading and so are the comments.
However ‘maps’ has pointed out in his post, the great bit of political and social irony of having a documentary about resources, culture and climate change at the Skycity theatre this weekend.
Despite our best intentions, Skyler and I arrived at Sky City too late to join in the rowdy trade union demonstration outside the National Party conference’s Sunday morning breakfast. I noticed a couple of cops still hanging about the building’s southern entrance as we slipped inside – one of them was nodding sagely as the other made a series of vigorous motions with his arms, as if he were illustrating one of the more vicious moves he had used earlier in the morning on a protester.
The John Key fan club had retreated into a closed session, though one or two puffy-faced Young Nats hung about the bottom of the stairs, their delegate ID badges prominently displayed on their expensive Tory-blue suits. (Were they hoping that some stray journalist might mistake them for backbench MPs, and take their photos?) Next door to the vast room where the National faithful had assembled, overweight shabby men banged away at pokie machines which hummed and buzzed and flashed obediently, and slim, suited men barked orders at dealers, whose arms moved backwards and forwards robotically over sea-green tables, dropping cards and scooping up chips.
As we reached the third floor of Sky City, leaving the buzzing machines and barking blackjackers behind and walking into a performance by Polynesian dancers and drummers, I was struck by the incongruity of the location that Auckland Film Festival organisers had selected for the New Zealand premiere of There Once Was An Island: Te Henua E Noho, Briar March’s film about the people of the remote and imperilled Polynesian atoll of Takuu.
It would be hard to pick a better symbol of the decadence of twenty-first century capitalism than Sky City last Sunday, where National Party staffers on a quarter of a million a year salaries sat in well-stuffed chairs and discussed new ways of disciplining beneficiaries and the poorest workers, while nearby the psychic victims of previous attacks on the working class poured their benefits and low wage jobs into machines that robbed them with noisy efficiency. Was Film Festival supremo Bill Gosden perhaps trying to underscore the moral as well as physical distance between our decadent city and the pristine subsistence society of tropical Takuu, when he booked Briar March’s film into the theatre on Sky City’s third floor?
An excellent description of how I was feeling on Sunday. I was at the protest about the bloated advocates of slave labour in conference. Some of whom have been commenting quite explicitly here over the weekend about how they’d like people to be enslaved by their employers. Their advocate, John Key, was speaking at the conference. This resulted in police cars being strewn all over the area as a result of some kind of panic reaction to the largely peaceful protest, blocking buses and cars.
Then onto helping organize for the showing. This including trying to find edible food for Briar and Lyn which forced me into the bowels of Skycity with the desperate and their slot machines (first time I’ve been in the casino).
Finally watching a documentary about a people with few material possessions, who were having their way of life destroyed by the idiotic greed of the types of self-centered short-term unthinking people present at the National party conference.
The confluence of the various social and political themes was surreal. I felt like I was inside of one of the Gibson or Sterling cyberpunk near future novels. But this wasn’t science-fiction. This is current reality – delivered to you by the types of people at the Nat’s conference.
Anyway, back to helping to promote the documentary again (because I can and it is worth seeing) …
Wednesday July 21, 11.15am, Skycity Theatre
Sunday 25 Jul, 3:45pm Rialto Cinemas Dunedin
Tuesday 27 Jul, 6:15pm Paramount
Saturday July 31, 6.00pm Regent on Worcester
Monday August 2, 12.00pm Regent on Worcester