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The Elysian Bus

Short Film, 1951 (Full Length)

It's a Wonderful Life meets driver education in this NFU film that aims to scare those who would be careless in bad weather conditions. This now-quaint precursor to 2011's Ghost Chips road safety ad sets up a low-key mystery plot, as five naive unfortunates find themselves at a bus stop in pea-soup fog. Purgatorial befuddlement — the bus goes via 'Infinity Terrace' and a saucy angel is handing out harps — turns to moralizing, complete with flashbacks and a lecture from the weather god, as they discover why they've ended up en route to 'Elysian Fields'.

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Bus Stop

Short Film, 2002 (Full Length)

Notable music video and feature film director Chris Graham (Sione's Wedding, Scribe) made his drama debut with this short film, which finds a bus driver and his passengers lost in their own thoughts on a rainy Wellington night. As they ruminate on incidents in their lives, ranging from confused and sad through to contented and joyous, the driver’s thousand yard stare portends a quiet desperation of his own. Shot in black and white, the largely wordless Bus Stop finds a group of people sharing an experience but completely alone (yes, even pre-iPhone) in their own worlds.

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Artist

The Stereo Bus

The Stereo Bus began and ended with ex Jean-Paul Sartre Experience songwriter David Yetton — although he rarely performed alone. Yetton coined the term "sissy pop" to encompass the band's mixture of sensitivity and massed guitars. The first, garishly-tinted Stereo Bus album emerged in 1997; the louder, Alan Gregg-produced Brand New followed in 1999. It hit number 10 in the local charts, but increasing demand for live gigs perversely left Yetton less interested; he called it a day soon after. Solo album Blow Out the Candles (2005) includes many tracks originally earmarked for a third Stereo Bus album.

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Collection

Better Safe than Sorry

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Long before Ghost Chips, even before "don't use your back like a crane", life in Godzone was fraught with hazards. This collection shows public safety awareness films spanning from the 50s to the 70s. If there's kitsch enjoyment to be had in the looking back (chimps on bikes?!) the lessons remain timeless. Remember: It's better to be safe than sorry.

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Collection

Christchurch

Curated by NZ On Screen team

As a showcase history of Christchurch on screen this collection is backwards looking; but the devastation caused by the earthquakes gives it much more than nostalgic poignancy. As Russell Brown reflects in his introduction, the clips are mementos from, "a place whose face has changed". They testify to the buildings, culture and life of a city now lost, but sure to rise. 

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Touchdown

The Stereo Bus, Music Video, 1999

'Touchdown' was drawn from the second (and final) Stereo Bus album Brand New (1999). The stylishly minimalist video, directed by Alex Sutherland and Michael Lonsdale, appears to be a continuous shot, circling around band members and objects in a white studio set. Biffed chairs and bottles, and singer David Yetton, get up close to the lens while guitarist Jason Fa'afoi (who was co-hosting What Now? at the time) also makes multiple appearances. The slow pan matches the tempo of the band’s textured guitar pop; the promo won Best Music Video at the 2001 NZ Music Awards.

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I Got 2 Babe

Television, 2000 (Full Length)

This TV2 promo is a cover of Sonny and Cher classic ‘I Got You Babe’. A roll call of turn of the century Kiwi celebrities take turns performing, starting with late actor Kevin Smith and actor/sometime Strawpeople singer Stephanie Tauevihi. Other stars include Jay Laga’aia, Havoc and Newsboy, Erika Takacs from band True Bliss, What Now? hosts, Shortland Street's Katrina Devine, and Spike the penguin from Squirt. Also popping by are Bart and Lisa from The Simpsons, and Aussie Portia de Rossi (then appearing on American show Ally McBeal). The promo was made by Saatchi & Saatchi.

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Stop

Short Film, 2013 (Full Length)

Hayley Robertson picked up Best Actress at Tropfest 2013 for her role as a mysterious young woman in this thoughtful short drama set in a bus stop somewhere in rural New Zealand. In gumboots and flannel shirt, her character arrives at the stop to find a confident well-dressed young law student, turning over a $20 bill in his hand. Passing time while waiting, she challenges him to a game; the playing of which slowly reveals their differing approaches to life, and the ourcome leads to the film’s shocking conclusion. Director Nick Garrett also composed the score. 

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Pheno was Here

Short Film, 1982 (Full Length)

In this 1982 short film, Harry (Goodbye Pork Pie's Kelly Johnson) and Pheno (Donogh Rees) are bored Wellington rebels on a crime spree: tagging, stealing art and hijacking a bus to the badlands of nearby Makara Beach. It was the era of Muldoon, Springbok Tour protests, spacies and dole queues. The film captures the disillusionment of its youth, especially in the outcome of the duo's pursuit by a tyro cop (Duncan Smith). Johnson was fresh from Pork Pie, and Donogh Rees a young actor on the rise. Director Richard Riddiford went on to helm features Arriving Tuesday and Zilch.

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Pedestrians or Jaywalkers?

Short Film, 1952 (Full Length)

This NFU public safety film takes a jaunty approach to a serious subject as it shows road crossing dangers via bad examples. Mis-steps include walking off the footpath carelessly, crossing the road at oblique angles, 'dithering', and over-confidence. The humour may be physical and the narration pun-filled, but the lessons remain relevant, as pedestrian accidents on Wellington's and Auckland's 21st Century city bus lanes attest. Despite the big question promise of the title there is no Socratic dialogue about crossing the road or any consideration of chickens.