NZ On Film does Geoff Murphy proud. Really worth watching.
Image: DVD cover for The Quiet Earth.
The origin story of the NZ film renaissance is very different from Australia though both were very masculine. One of its key figures was Geoff Murphy, who started as a trumpet player in a band called BLERTA created by Bruno Lawrence, and went on to write, direct and produce iconic films like Goodbye Pork Pie, Utu and The Quiet Earth, all between 1974 and 1985.
By 1989 he was in Hollywood making Red Queen, White Knight, a telefeature for HBO with Max von Sydow and Helen Mirren. He went on to Young Guns 2, a SF pic called Freejack.. and so on, supported sometimes by HBO until he made Fortress 2 in 1999 and came home to New Zealand. From the age of 62 he did a lot of second unit directing for the three LOTR films, a low budget thriller called Spooked, and finally a mysterious music film based on Edgar Allen Poe, Tales of Mystery and Imagination.
On the occasion of his death, NZ On Screen has created a lovely collection of films and commentary. The whole exuberant movement started pretty well here and then mutated further into the band where Murphy himself mutated into the filmmaker who blew the national mind with Goodbye Pork Pie.
And here we can grieve again for Bruno Lawrence, who died at the age of 54. In the early 1990's he became a cult icon for his performance as the producer in the first series of Frontline.
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