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Gaylene Preston Retrospective @Te Papa, Labour Weekend

Gaylene Preston making Home by Christmas
Gaylene Preston’s so embedded in our New Zealand communities that we sometimes forget that as well as being one of our most prolific and distinguished producer/directors, and a legendary supporter of other filmmakers, she also has global significance as a feminist filmmaker. This Labour Weekend we get a spring-time opportunity to celebrate Gaylene’s life and work, at her retrospective at Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand.

The retrospective will feature a selection of films, including Home by Christmas and War Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us, which foreground the director’s auteurist preoccupations, including the interrogation of documentary form, the interplay of the personal story and the political film, and the use of film to create oral history. Here’s the programme:

Saturday 22 October

EARTHQUAKE! FUND RAISER FOR CHRISTCHURCH
Gaylene Preston has been making feature films and documentaries with a distinctive New Zealand flavour and a strong social message for more than 30 years. Launching our upcoming weekend retrospective, Preston's film, Earthquake!, is a documentary account of the devastating Hawkes Bay earthquake of 1931.

11am / 44mins /
Gold coin donation at the door.

GETTING TO OUR PLACE
This documentary is a view into the crucible that forged Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand, which opened in 1998. Fascinating moments are captured as a new kind of National Museum is conceived.

1:00pm / 72mins/ free

KAI PURAKAU
Keri Hulme talks about her writing and coping with success. Her nextdoor neighbour claims full credit for the bone people, while Leon Narbey's cinematography makes Okarito look like Paradise.

3:00pm / 27mins / free

LOVELY RITA
Renowned New Zealand painter Rita Angus (1908-1970) lived and worked at a time when to be a full time artist was unusual, especially for women. This is a film for all women artists, and for their families, and when I watched it the other day, I loved watching and hearing other artists of various kinds speak about Rita Angus—especially Grahame Sydney and Jacqueline Fahey. Loren Horsley (Taylor) evokes Rita wonderfully, Alun Bollinger’s cinematography’s its usual lovely self, and I love the story about Betty Curnow’s blouse in this renowned image.

Rita Angus Portrait of Betty Curnow 1942 

4:00pm /70mins / free

Film screenings will be followed by a question and answer session with Gaylene.

Sunday 23 October

WAR STORIES OUR MOTHERS NEVER TOLD US
Considered a companion piece to Home by Christmas, War Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us is a documentary and an oral history that presents its audience with consecutive portraits of seven New Zealand women, including the director’s mother, Tui Preston.

11am/ 94 mins / free

HOME BY CHRISTMAS
A true story of romance, secrets and terrible adventure in which Ed Preston, on his way home from rugby practice in 1940, joins the New Zealand Army to go to World War II. His new wife, Tui, is pregnant and distraught, but he tells her not to worry, he’ll be home by Christmas. A remarkable memoir of resilience, determination and love. Chelsie Preston Crayford, Gaylene’s daughter, plays Tui Preston.

1:30pm 95mins / free

ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION: GAYLENE PRESTON AND GUESTS
A round table discussion with Gaylene, Dr Mary Wiles, Lecturer (Cinema Studies, University of Canterbury), Dr Bruce Harding (Ngai Tahu Research Centre, University of Canterbury), and author Dr. Deborah Shepard, with other associates and friends. The discussion is designed to encourage exchange between scholars and film professionals from throughout the New Zealand film community and will offer audiences an exceptional, behind-the-scenes glimpse into Gaylene’s life and work.

3:30pm

4:30 Book signing of Her Life’s Work: Conversations with Five New Zealand Women (Auckland University Press, 2009) with Dr. Deborah Shepard

Monday 24 October

GAYLENE PRESTON MASTER CLASS
Join Gaylene for a discussion about the film restoration and refurbishment of her mini-series, Bread and Roses, followed by the premiere of the restored work.

1pm

BREAD AND ROSES
Originally released to mark the 100 years of women's suffrage in New Zealand, Bread and Roses is based on the autobiography of Sonja Davies. This moving epic story of one woman's experience spans twenty years from 1940 and captures the hopes and aspirations of a young nation.

2pm / 200mins / free

Now and then over the last eight years I’ve helped out with Gaylene’s extraordinary and extensive archive, walking through the Town Belt to her place, to prepare some of her treasures for deposit at the New Zealand Film Archive. And looking at the retrospective in the context of this experience, it’s so so Gaylene. The fundraiser: she’s done many of these over the years. The stories about women, though I wish her features Mr Wrong and Perfect Strangers were included—all Gaylene's work is informed by feminism, but these two have a distinctive dialogue with feminist counter-cinema (and probably deserve their very own retrospective because of this). The discussion's very 'Gaylene' too; it includes her and representatives of her communities, alongside academics. It’ll be a very special weekend. Don’t miss out!

Comments

  1. OMG! My heart almost stopped! This is awesome! Thank you so much for the heads-up! Hope all is well.
    xx
    Anita

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ain't it special? I'm so thrilled, & love your excitement, hoping many others will be excited too, & there for the amazing experience it'll be!

    Hope all's well with you, too-- xx

    ReplyDelete

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