8:00 PM, 9th August, 2013
If you are a filmgoer of my generation (i.e. Gen X) or older, and you were into the alternative movie scene in the 80s, then chances are you will remember the classic movies Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi. Or maybe this director’s other major film, Baraka. If so, then you will not need me to explain this film, as I will just say that it is of that ilk. However, if you are not familiar with them, then be prepared for a cinema experience that will blow your mind.
There is no plot. There is no narration. There is only photography. Some of it is epic. Other parts of it are intimate. All of it is beautiful, and when put together, it actually has a story to tell, or rather, a point to make. It will challenge you, engage you and take your breath away. It will swing between sweeping shots of desert landscapes to inside looks at food production, from time-lapse photography of the evening sky to sex dolls coming off the manufacturing line. And every single scene has something to say about humanity, but you will need to see it for yourself to work out exactly what.
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I will say that this is a movie that everyone needs to see. And it absolutely has to be seen on the big screen – not a big screen in your home theatre, but THE big screen where you can be enveloped in its vastness. Don’t miss it!
9:53 PM, 9th August, 2013
If the title sounds familiar, that’s probably because we’re screening another film entitled Kon-Tiki just the week before this one. Not to be confused with that version, but equally notable, this film is the 1950 Norwegian documentary of the same story and was the first (and so far only) film from Norway to win a feature-length Oscar (Best Documentary Feature in 1951).
Kon-Tiki was the name of a wooden raft used by six Scandinavian scientists, led by Thor Heyerdahl, to make a 101-day journey of over 6,900 km from South America to the Polynesian Islands. Heyerdahl wanted to prove his theory that the Polynesian Islands were populated from the east, from Peru in fact. The boat was made from balsa wood and hemp ropes by local craftsmen using only the materials and technologies available to those people in pre-Columbian times.
The movie has an introduction explaining Heyerdahl's theory, then shows diagrams and images explaining the building of the raft and its launch from Peru. Thereafter it is film of the crew on board, shot by themselves, with commentary written by Heyerdahl and translated. The whole film is black and white, shot on a single 16mm camera.
Come and see this film in 2013 but remember that this was done over 60 years ago without all the amazing technology and knowledge that we have today. Admire the science and the courage of these men.
Fans of the documentary genre should attend in large numbers to encourage more of such screenings.