Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival Reviews
The Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival has done its dash in Auckland, and now heads to Wellington, followed by Dunedin and then Christchurch. We went along to a couple of the movies. Here’s what we thought:
Original Copy is a documentary by German film makers Georg Heinzen and Florian Heinzen-Ziob about the last movie poster painter in India.
Sheikh Rehman is the resident painter at South Mumbai’s Alfred Talkies, which shows a constant stream of Bollywood B-Movies to seemingly full houses. As well as being a deep-dive into the process Rehman and his team take to pull off this 6 metre-long masterpiece, it is also a portrait of the daily life of the cinema, from the security guard moving the doorway opium smokers on, through the theatre’s patrons, old and young, human and animal, to the owners who seem constantly on the brink of financial ruin, but also feel an enormous responsibility to their employees.
Rehman himself learned the art of poster painting from his father, despite being warned to choose a different career, in case the bottom fell out of the industry. He a charismatic character, often playing up to the stereotype of the difficult artist, with great lines like, “If you use green, think about what will match. That’s why we call it ‘layout’”. We meet his small team who are like family, particularly young Sunil, who he guides and chastises in equal measure. What does Sunil’s future look like when printed posters have entirely replaced his art?
It’s a melancholic documentary with no sweet ending – no saviour of the theatre, no Rehman exhibition – and the fate of the painting at the end is particularly heart-breaking.
If you get a chance to see it in Wellington, Dunedin or Christchurch, I thoroughly recommend it.
The Happy Film
This much-anticipated doco on Sagmeister’s quest for everlasting happiness goes way beyond the realms of graphic design, exploring the fundamental, existential yearning we all share — to simply experience more joy in our lives. Beautifully shot and edited, with the expected high and purposefully low-budget typographic celebrations, it gives real insight into what makes Sagmeister tick. It also clearly demonstrates what I believe to be one of the key components of genius — the ability to both be creatively generative while simultaneously distancing yourself from your own practice in order to theoretically and objectively critique it, ie to be both inside and outside of your own creative process at the same time.
The film tracks Stefan over the course of several years as he undergoes a series of experiments upon himself, based on ‘scientific’ theories about happiness. His adherence to the rules of each experiment are questionable, and his results arguably skewed due to many variables, inconsistencies and conscious manipulations, but to be given the opportunity to witness his journey, which soon into the film evolves into a search for love, is a delight. You can’t help but become completely entranced by Sagmeister and his experiences, and are warmed by his wry reflections upon them. I totally recommend this film.
Auckland: May 04–17
Wellington: May 18–June 04
Dunedin: June 08–18
Christchurch: June 29–July 12
All booking information and access to the downloadable programme can be found here.