Salient: At Victoria University College, Wellington, N. Z. Vol. 24, No. 10. 1961.
At the Pictures
At the Pictures
Sir,—We have been asked why we show so many "foreign" films, why we don't get something like War and Peace, why we show so many films that are full of propaganda, and why do we get so many old films. Well, my answer would be that it is not our aim to show films that are commercially easy to see—we leave that to the cinemas in town—and if a film is exceptional for some reason or other; what does it matter where it is made? As for propaganda, presumably this refers to the fact that some of the films from Russia, Germany. Poland and Czechoslovakia tend to push the party line a bit. This is unfortunately true, but then it can be said for many films from most countries; the most sickening examples c me from the National Film Unit if it comes to that. Whereas the New Zealand audience (bless its complacent, ignorant little mind) snickers audibly at the bull that is thrown around in British. American and Australian newsreels, when it comes to the New Zealand product, well then, "Hooray for us!"
As to the complaints about old films, I suppose this means mainly the silent ones and others of the early 'thirties. Fair enough, I suppose, but these early films (but not all of them, of course), are not i necessarily only museum pieces or stepping stones in the progress towards today's improved technical products; they are still live works of art which can stand on their I own feet with no need for apology. Later in the year we shall be showing some of the greatest films ever made—The End of St. Petersburg, Mother (both from Russia), The Passion of Joan of Arc (France), and The Last Laugh (Germany). These are all silent but will" be shown with musical soundtracks. The loss for anyone who can't be bothered making the effort to re-adjust to the silent medium, will be theirs, not ours or the films'.
A. W. Everard.