This feature tells the true story of the notorious 1941 manhunt for Stanley Graham. The West Coast farmer went bush after a shooting spree that followed police pressure to have him hand over his firearms. Seven men were ultimately killed. Written by Kiwi-born Andrew Brown (from Harold Willis’ book), Bad Blood was made during the tax break era for UK TV, but was released in NZ cinemas. Directed by Brit Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral), it won strong reviews. Aussie legend Jack Thompson and compatriot Carol Burns star as the isolated Bonnie and Clyde coasters.
This short film follows a five-year-old child (Elizabeth Morris), after her mother's paranoid delusions reach breaking point and she is put in a mental hospital. Writer/director Belinda Schmid's aim was to show how children can respond to situations partly without emotional upset, "because we have no other measure for the ways things are supposed to be, and partly by coping in ways that help us survive at the time". Jennifer Ward-Lealand plays the mother. Nominated for Best Short at the 2000 NZ Film Awards, The Painted Lady was invited to a number of international film festivals.
When traumatised soldier Matiu returns from service overseas, he struggles to reconnect with his wife and children. In this episode of te reo series Aroha, the marriage between Matiu (Te Kauri Wihongi) and Wai (Rena Owen) mirrors the Māori legend of Niwareka and Mataora, a union between spiritual and earthly worlds. Matiu decides to seek out his ghosts; he symbolises his reunion with his family through a facial tā moko performed by his father-in-law (Wi Kuki Kaa). Mataroa was written by Aroha co-creator Karen Sidney. It won an award at Canadian festival ImagineNATIVE.
A State of Siege is the story of a retired art teacher dealing with isolation and loneliness, culminating in a stormy, terrifying night. This is a six-minute excerpt. Vincent Ward's acclaimed short — adapted from a Janet Frame novel — was made when he was at Ilam art school. The Evening Post called it "the most sensitive and intelligent film that has ever been made in New Zealand". San Francisco Chronicle praised: "Ward creates more horror in this low budget movie with his play of light and shadow than Stanley Kubrick was able to create in the whole of The Shining."
Stalin’s Sickle takes Kiwi suburban paranoia to unexpected places as nine-year-old Daniel imagines his neighbour is feared Russian dictator Joseph Stalin. Set amidst 1962 Cold War conservatism, Daniel spots the south seas’ Stalin at church, spies on him to confirm his suspicions and schemes to send him on his way. But Daniel’s civil defence plan goes awry, leaving him with a worse threat to deal with. Based on the short story by Michael Morrissey, the Costa Botes-directed film won the Grand Jury Prize at Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival.
The video for 'Cool World' melds a mood of paranoia — including flashes of recording equipment, and worried words about surveillance — with numerous images of a model in a silver halter top, dealing to a punching bag. The Samoan brothers Ioasa create a smoothly percussive sound, which echoes overseas bands like Roxy Music and The Blue Nile much more strongly than other music coming out of Aotearoa in this period (1995). The song is taken from Grace's only album Black Sand Shore, which writer Nick Bollinger later rated as one of New Zealand's 100 finest.
A Swanndri clad Lawrence Arabia (aka James Milne) goes back to nature in this video directed by Stephen Ballantyne and shot at Arthur's Pass in Canterbury. A 60s tinged number from his first solo album, 'Talk about the Good Times' is a scathing dismissal of a former friendship anchored in an urban setting of gyms, box shaped apartments and expensive coffee. Fresh air, the bush, the wide open spaces of the river bed and Greg Chapman's Disney-esque animated animals make for a pastoral idyll to counteract the falseness and paranoia of city life.
‘Deb’s Night Out’ was a single from Shihad’s breakout second album Killjoy (1995). Director Chris Mauger’s video bypasses a literal take on the lyrics’ relationship paranoia for a deadpan depiction of cross-generational spirit. A young, sullen Jon Toogood is stuck in his denim jacket in the backseat with a couple of wine-guzzling oldies, en route to a suburban hall shin-dig. There the band gets down for some country and limbo dancing, the family-fun visuals contrasting with the song’s grinding guitar. Mauger’s stylistic touches include a canapé-cam.
With its video filmed in a cramped Auckland flat, 'Pedestrian Support League' was the lead single off Street Chant’s long-awaited second album, Hauora. As the band play on, a psychedelic array of everyday kitchenware flies by in the background. The claustrophobic flat is appropriate — lead singer Emily Littler describes the lyrics as about “just your typical Kiwi shithole flat life filled with paranoia, depression and anxiety.” The album received critical praise upon its release, and the single was was one of five finalists for the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Songwriting award.
A plasticine masterpiece by Chris and sculptor Barbara Ward (with whom he shares two children) comes in the twisted style we have come to know and love. High/low-lights include a gruesome impaling and spit roasting, self mutilation on a grand scale (including extreme acupuncture) and general addled paranoia. God bless CK.