This fictionalised account of pioneering 19th century photographers the Burton brothers is set partly in Dunedin during the closing stages of the New Zealand Wars. Walter 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 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.
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.– Nick Roddick in the Monthly Film Bulletin, October 1982
Presented with thanks to the Aotearoa New Zealand Film Heritage Trust – Te Puna Ataata