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Film, 1981 (Drama, War)

 Pictures

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Clips (2)

  1. A 10 minute excerpt from this feature film.

  2. The credits for this film.

Synopsis

This fictionalised account of pioneering 19th century photographers the Burton brothers is set in early Dunedin during the closing stages of the New Zealand Wars. William and Alfred take contrasting approaches to representing their subjects — and are treated accordingly by the authorities, who are attempting to attract new settlers while brutally suppressing Māori. Produced by veteran filmmaker John O'Shea (who co-wrote with playwright Robert Lord), the tale of art, commerce and colonisation was largely well received as a thoughtful essay at revisionist history. 

Credits (22)

 Michael  Black
 John O'Shea
 Robert Lord

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Comments (1)

 Happy Chappy

Happy Chappy

Just wanted to say wow! This film has members of my family in it, including my grandmother Wiki Thompson who passed away before it was shown back in 1983. Its nice to see it is still remembered.

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Quotes

Another photographer. By royal appointment, I see. Rather different from your brother. He came up north with me and took a lot of photos of Maoris in the mud. 
The reassessment of history is never an easy task, especially a history as clouded with noble self-deception as the colonisation of New Zealand. All credit, then, to Pictures, for tackling the subject, and for bringing to its reassessment a remarkable clarity and a considerable complexity of perspective. 
The theatricality builds up an excellent sense of European staginess — of just how unreal, in a way, British civilization must have been, planted out here. The magnificent shot of Dunedin Railway Station is the same: on film it becomes the statement it originally was — of power, endurance, economic assertion. It spells out in words of granite: We Are Here to Stay. It is in this sense of carefully chosen images that Pictures succeeds. It manages to build up a coherent sense of a society, and uses the framework of photography to ask questions about early New Zealand. All credit then 

Awards

1981 Moscow Film Festival
Press Award for Humanism

1982 Asian Film Festival
Best Music, Best Editing