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Mahana

Mahana, a movie based on renowned author Witi Ihimaera’s much-loved book Bulisbasha, opens this week in cinemas and I am extremely excited to see it. Here’s the trailer, which is bound to get you excited to see it too:

It was first hinted at over a year ago (we told you about it here!) and it is so great to finally see it hitting cinemas.

If you want to read the book before you see the movie, we recommend you get in quick as it’s already proving popular! Place your reserves here:

Cover from SyndeticsBulibasha : king of the gypsies / Witi Ihimaera.
“Witi Ihimaera’s first novel for six years. Two patriarchs on the East Coast of New Zealand fight for the title of king, and their families are involved in conflict in sport and culture, and in the Golden Fleece contest. Simeon, a teenager, is caught in the middle of the struggle. The novel was written when Witi Ihimaera was Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton.” (Syndetics summary)

Also, another Ihimaera book which has been made into a world-famous film:

Syndetics book coverThe whale rider / Witi Ihimaera.
“Witi Ihimaera’s timeless story tells how the courage of one girl in standing against the tide of tradition enables her tribe to become reconnected with their ancestral life force. The Whale Rider has become one of Witi Ihimaera’s best-loved stories, capturing readers with its universal themes of conflict between generations and genders, respect for nature, family love and personal courage. Now the movie adaptation, Whale Rider, has brought the story to an international audience. This special edition of Ihimaera’s original novel includes a section of photos from the movie, a bonus for moviegoers and readers alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Cover from Aro VideoWhale rider [videorecording] / a film by Niki Caro.
“A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.” (Library catalogue)

Ihimaera’s novel Nights in the Gardens of Spain was also developed into a feature film called Kawa (originally also titled Nights in the Gardens of Spain) and is most definitely worth a watch (and a read!). You can get them both out here:

Nights in the gardens of SpainNights in the gardens of Spain / Witi Ihimaera.
“A novel in which David Munro, the narrator, seems successful in marriage and in his career as a lecturer in film studies. He leads a double life, being married and gay, and the novel explores the resolution of the dilemma, the conflicting loyalties he has to deal with. The novel describes aspects of gay life, and the difficulties of developing relationships. It is very aware of the devastation of AIDS. The novel was written while Witi Ihimaera was Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton.” (Syndetics summary)

Cover from Aro VideoNights in the gardens of Spain [videorecording] / Cinco Cine Film Productions Ltd and Conbrio Media Ltd.
“This feature film adaptation of Witi Ihimaera’s iconic novel about David, a successful businessman who inexplicably estranges himself from his wife and children. Turns out, he is having an affair with a young male actor and is torn between living that life or the one that he is expected to live by his immediate and extended family. Complicating matters is his family’s deep roots in the Maori culture, which disapproves of homosexuality. For a while, the family suspects that David is seeing a woman. But one night, the actor unexpectedly shows up at David’s family compound, where his mother catches the two in a passionate embrace. She immediately banishes David from the compound, leading him to reveal the truth to all who are important to him.” (Library catalogue)

Tim Winton’s The Turning: A must see film adaptation

Syndetics book cover
Now showing in Wellington for a limited time is the new film, The Turning based on the collection of short stories by award winning Australian writer and environmentalist Tim Winton. Centered on issues described by the main character Gail and set in a small Australian seaside community, with a wonderful array of diverse characters that populate these stories, so typical of Tim Winton’s work, this film used 17 different directors for each overlapping and linking story.
His first novel, An Open Swimmer won the Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1981.
Tim Winton has won the Australian Miles Franklin Award four times, for Shallows in 1984, Cloudstreet in 1992, Dirt Music in 2002 and Breath in 2009.

Conversations with Movies

Have a conversation with extraordinary people from the movie industry; from the director to the gossip writer.

Syndetics book coverConversations with Scorsese / Richard Schickel [interviewer]. “Martin Scorsese’s career is a dense map of critical darlings and experimentalfilms–from “Mean Streets” to “Shutter Island.” Now fans are given the chance to see all of his movies, and moviemaking in general, through the eyes of the master director himself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Faber book of French cinema / Charles Drazin. “Producing such distinctive film-makers as Jean Renoir, Marcel Pagnol, Sachy Guitry and Julien Duvivier, the French cinema’s Golden Age boasted an intelligence, maturity and flair that classical Hollywood could admire but struggle to emulate. Suggesting a Gallic attitude that has always considered the cinema to be as much a cause as a business, Drazin looks at the extraordinary resilience of the French film industry during the Second World War when, in spite of the national catastrophe of defeat and occupation, it was still able to produce such classics as Le Corbeau and Les Enfants du Paradis. Finally, he traces its remarkable post-war regeneration. He seeks to capture the essence of the French film tradition and why it continues to matter to anyone who cares about the cinema…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverArthur Penn : American director / Nat Segaloff ; foreword by Jonathan Demme. “If director Arthur Penn (1922-2010) had made no other films, he would still be well known today for 1967′s Bonnie and Clyde, now considered a groundbreaking movie. Although he did other credible motion picture work, he never considered it his preferred medium. He had a distinguished career in early 1950s’ live television and in theatre, boasting such directing credits as The Miracle Worker, Toys in the Attic, and Wait Until Dark. His prickly personality, which did not suffer fools gladly, at times worked against him. Segaloff (Hurricane Billy: The Stormy Life and Films of William Friedkin) was a friend of Penn and obviously had great access to him, but the result is that almost everything in this biography seems filtered through the director’s eyes. It reads somewhat like an autobiography that lacks profound analysis. (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverDavid Hartnell : memoirs of a gossip columnist / [in collaboration with] Hazel Phillips. David is well-known by all New Zealanders. His gossip columns and much awaited annual ‘Best and Worst Dressed’ lists are legendary, and we read with bated breath his behind-the-scenes Hollywood tattletale reports in the weekly magazines! David Hartnell is David’s life story in his own words.  Bursting with remarkable photos and stories of his encounters, including a surprise lunch with Alfred Hitchcock and Bette Davis, his close friendship with the legendary Phyllis Diller, little-known secrets about the Royal Family’s crown jewels and many, many more, this book is for anyone who loves behind-the-scenes gossip and enjoys a rollicking good read. (Drawn from the summary at Fishpond.co.nz)

Syndetics book coverJoan Crawford : the enduring star / Peter Cowie ; foreword by Mick Lasalle ; afterword by George Cukor. Joan Crawford’s classic beauty, dazzling confidence, and sheer toughness made her the very definition of a star; her formidable talent won her an Oscar for Mildred Pierce and shines through in other classics such as Grand Hotel and The Women. Focusing on the often overlooked first half of her career, this is the first visual book to reclaim her place in the canon of glamour. Crawford pioneered a new depth that had not been seen before in roles for women. Her domineering charisma gave audiences a new kind of heroine, laying the path for today’s actresses from Meryl Streep to Cate Blanchett. (Syndetics annotation)


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