Director Sima Urale's follow-up to her Venice-winning short O Tamaiti swaps a Samoan child's eye view for that of an elderly Pākehā couple. In this moving confrontation with the taboos of aging, the husband (John Hancox) struggles to care for his ailing wife (June Bishop) and refuses their children's demands that they move into care. Exquisite attention to details and tender performances mark this tale of love accommodating the reality of death. Still Life was the first Kiwi film to take the top short award at the Montreal Film Festival; it also got a Special Mention at the Locarno fest in Switzerland.
Filmmaking for me is all about exploring emotional and social issues and I wanted to know what it’d be like to be in their shoes. The issue of what to do with our parents as they get older is very universal. Filmmakers should have the ability to cross over into other cultures and explore.– Director Sima Urale reflects on Still Life, in a 2009 Script to Screen ‘Writer’s Room’ session