Nick Paris is a familiar figure to film fans in Christchurch – long term resident maven at Alice in Videoland. He has been involved in the New Zealand International Film Festival for many years and has taken time out to give us his picks for the festival.
First up he is particularly pleased about the 12 sessions which will be showing on the big screen at Riccarton Hoyts. Christchurch is at a disadvantage compared with Auckland and Wellington which have big screen venues in classic buildings, so to be able to do some special films justice is great. Riccarton will host the ultimate spaghetti western – Sergio Leone’s Once upon a time in the West where “nobody gets out alive except Claudia Cardinale”. The specially restored print is a project of director Martin Scorsese.
Also showing will be Oceans – an epic exploration of the world’s oceans featuring some of the most amazing life forms on the planet. Going back to Riccarton is going back to the festival’s roots 34 years ago when the first festival took place in the now demolished Avenue cinema on Riccarton Road (The theatre disappeared in the 80s, Winz now occupies a building on the site).
Jacques Audiard’s crimeworld drama A Prophet also gets a run at Riccarton as does Four Lions which is a satirical look at British wannabe jihadis by comedian Chris Morris.
Nick recommends some home grown documentaries – The Free China Junk – amazing film of five young Taiwanese fishermen who crossed the Pacific in an old junk in 1955. One of them, Tai Chi master Loo-Chi Hu, has lived in Christchurch for many years. The documentary captures the spirit of adventure in the five young men. Gordonia looks at one man’s struggle with the Waitakere Council to save his car wrecking business and the unique collection of outcasts whom he lets live on his land.
He is also keen about the documentary Teenage Paparazzo which features a 12 year old photographer and When You’re Strange – a collage of performance footage of the Doors, narrated by Johnny Depp.
A restored print of the classic The Red Shoes also has Nick excited – a film that moved him to tears the first time he saw it. Animated film The Illusionist is also a pick, as is the anime Summer Wars. Nick is also pleased with the Animation for Kids programme which is an opportunity for kids to see something a bit different and more imaginative than the usual high gloss Hollywood offerings.
Finally the Opening night – yet another Ronald Hugh Morrieson book brought to the screen – Jason Stutter directs Predicament – starring Jemaine Clement, Heath Franklin, Hayden Frost and Tim Finn among others.
Have you made your festival choices yet? What particularly excites you?
I’m thrilled that there are some “big screen” options showing at Riccarton. I’m looking forward to Oceans showing there.
My long list of 22 has been whittled to 6 … with some more decisions pending. It’ll depend on $$ and a decent ratio of sleep to waking hours during the festival weeks.
I have my tickets for 17 but need to pop out to Riccarton because The Runaways (Joan Jett! Mullets! K-Stew! Dakota! – I am reasonably excited)is showing there, and so is A Prophet. So it might be 19, or 20, or 21.