Not wanting to fall into the shadow of the previous 39 openings of the Auckland International Film Festival, this year’s organizers did a fantastic job at ensuring the 40th opening was going to be great. There was the red carpet, the celebrities, and who could forget long time patron of the festival, our fearless leader Helen Clarke. The scene was set for a memorable opening night.
In the usual fashion of the festival, many films are preceded by a short (film of course) and the opening night was to be no exception. In this particular case Take 3 an offering from Auckland director Roseanne Liang.
Take 3 was a laugh out loud look into the racial stereotypes that many Asian migrants. With a good short film being driven by the onscreen image rather dialogue, Take 3 was cleverly crafted, and well thought out, making the very most of a relatively stark set.
Apron Strings for me however was maybe a little less decisive. Michael is a university student discovering his Indian roots under the guise of a school assignment. This journey very quickly finds him in his estranged Aunt’s (whom he has never met) curry house, trying to gather information about his family without revealing his identity. The film also follows the story of Barry, an alcoholic gambler who never came to terms with his Father’s suicide, who now unemployed spends his days drinking and gambling the money his mother gives him for haircuts away.
The film was always going to be character driven, finding its substance in the characters inter – personal relationships. It was also going to be the first feature for the director, the writers, and many cast and crew. With that, I will say it was certainly a fine first effort, definitely with moments of intensity and brilliance. What happened in between was a little clumsy at times with one or two unnecessary additions to the plot, just to make sure everybody understood exactly what the writers were trying to get at.
Like I said early, definitely a commendable first effort, not stand out by any means, but with a record number of NZ feature films in this years festival it certainly reinforced the fact the NZ film industry is alive and kicking.
With TVNZ funding there is every chance that Apron Strings will make it to the small screen, if it does by all means have a look, and let us know what you think.