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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, No. 1, March 1, 1976


page 15


Drawing of a film projector
This year, to increasingly inform students of the culture and entertainment available to them, Salient will be pre-viewing the VUWSA film programme. Each week Salient will give its ideas, criticism, and summary of the films to be screened during that week. The programme for VUWSA films in 1976 is:
Date Film
First term
Tu 2 March Airport
W 3 March The Adventures of Barry McKenzie
Th 4 March Let It Be
Th 11 March The Sting
W 17 March Deliverance
Th 25 March The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
W 31 March Dirty Harry
Th 8 April The Birds
W 14 April Sunday Bloody Sunday
Th 22 April Papillon
Tu 27 April Fistful of Dollars
W 28 April Every Home Should Have One
Th 29 April Khartoum
Second term
Th 20 May Women in Love
W 26 May Bonnie and Clyde
Th 3 June Let's Scare Jessica to Death
W 9 June The Devils
Th 17 June Zulu
W 23 June Jesus Christ Superstar
Th 1 July Billy Jack
W 7 July Little Big Man
Th 15 July Catch 22
W 21 July Bullitt
Th 29 July Waterloo
W 4 Aug The Godfather
Th 12 Aug Romeo and Juliet
Third term
W 1 Sept True Grit
Th 2 Sept Blazing Saddles
Th 9 Sept The Exorcist
W 15 Sept Let the Good Times Roll
Th 23 Sept Day of the Jackal
W 29 Sept To Kill a Mockingbird

—VUWSA Films


(Screening Tuesday, 2nd March)

Many would say this marked the beginning of a new era for the film industry in America, where all the ingredients for massive popularity are included. This era has not finished yet. It is still booming with films such as "Towering Inferno", "Jaws" and "Earthquake".

"Airport" is a 'wild night at the international airport with the runnways snowed up, a mad bomber loose on the Rome flight, and a little old lady stowaway dodging security checks.

"Adventures of Barry McKenzie"

(screening Wednesday, 3rd March)

The film that started the successful Australian film industry. A very appealing comedy that is perhaps funnier to New Zealanders more than to anyone else because we have an understanding of Aussies without identifying with them. The language is incredible, the stunts are amazing. Bazza and his mates put out a fire by urinating on it after drinking dozens of "chubes" of Fosters. He "chunders" on the head of his psychoanalyst.

It is all about Barry's visit to London and his brief whack at the recording industry. He travels with his Aunt (female impersonator Barry Humphries who also plays other roles in the film). The film stars Barry Crocker as "Bazza", Barry Humphries, Peter Cook, Spike Milligan and William Rushton.

It is worth seeing again even if it is just to catch up on the hundreds of witty pieces of dialogue: Like "she bangs like a shit-house door in a southerly gale."

Let It Be"

(Screening Thursday, 4th March)

A straight documentary on the Beatles as they informally rehearse some of their best songs. "The songs are smashing" (Sight and Sound). Anyone who is at all interested in the development of modern song should see this film for its revelations about the personalities of the men who have made the greatest impact on music since the fifties. To what extent were there discords and harmonies within the group? - See it first hand. Director: Michael Lindsay Hogg.

"The Pioneers"

— a colour feature film in Chinese (with English translation) screening in LB1 at 7.30pm, Thursday 4th March.

This film depicts how, in the early 60 s, Chinese oil workers led by the Chinese Communist Party fought against imperialism and social-imperialism. The battle manifests itself in the struggle between two political lines - the revisionist line calling for dependence on foreign "aid" to help develop a big oilfield, the other revolutionary line advocating development independently through self-reliance.

The film portrays revolutionary heroism and will, and shows the drive and power of the Chinese oil workers with their clear understanding of the revolutionary ideology of the Communist Party ("Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought") who are acutely aware of the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. It is interesting to see this film at a time when China is becoming increasingly recognised as a major potential oil-producing country in the world.

Last Grave at Dimbaza

(Screening 12 noon and 1p.m., Friday 5th March).

The film "Last Grave at Dimbaza" is one which many Wellingtonians will see over the next few months.

It is being shown in many of the city's suburbs by the local Hart groups and it is designed to make people aware of the situation in South Africa today.

The film was illegally shot by black Africans in South Africa, and it portrays the grim reality of life for the blacks under apartheid

Some time is devoted to describing the South African Government's policy of Separate Development. The inhumanity of these policies is shown in many ways:
  • the mass removals of blacks from homes in which they have lived for decades.
  • the breakup of families caused by the migratory labour policies of the government.
  • the lack of educational political and economic opportunity for the black majority.

Perhaps the most graphic feature portrayed in the film is the sense of hopelessness and despair that Blacks feel when confronted by the inhumanity of the system of apartheid.

— Town Films

"Barry Lyndon"

It is not often on the commercial circuit that New Zealand audiences get to see a film of the calibre of "Barry Lyndon". While there may not be such a thing as a perfect film, Kubrick's latest offering excels in all departments of the film art.

This time around, Kubrick takes a fairly lacklustre 19th century Thackeray novel and gives it his 'treatment'. His previous films delved into the futuristic and surrealistic. Not so "Barry Lyndon" which highlights not only his consistency but also his diversity.

The plot of "Barry Lyndon" is not over-strong and consists basically of the adventures of Redmond Barry, an Irish village boy who leaves home after killing (supposedly) an English army officer in a duel. The film traces the small historical accidents that shape the course of Barry's life - his first love, recruitment into the army, his aborted attempt to enter high society. Kubrick highlights that our experiences form our life, and many of these experiences are outside our control and purely accidental.

The character of the film changes constantly. It is full of comical situation, pathetic scenes and ironic incidents. All are handled with the same crafts man like technique and the film rarely becomes boring, despite its great length.

Visually, the film is a marvel, Kubrick uses the beauty of the Irish countryside and the splendor of English and Euopean architecture to build a superb photographic composition. All the tricks of camera art are employed without ever seeming overdone or gimmicky (in contrast to his earlier films). Each shot seemed meticulously planned. Good use of light effects and effective cutting make "Barry Lyndon" a cellulose tapestry.

The acting in the film was generally good. Ryan O'Neal as Barry turns in a competent performance (if you can overcome memories of "Peyton Place" and "Love Story"), even if his accent is suspect at times.

As always, Stanley Kubrick tops off his visuals with effective music. The standard of the music is such that I'm sure that it would be good enough to stand by itself. It not only fitted the film well, but accentuated the impact of the visuals.

On thing is certain. "Barry Lyndon" is Kubrick's trip. It is as if he wanted a weak plot to make the film seem more amazing. The film was too long - the first half alone lasting 105 minutes - taking much of the effect out of the later parts.

In total, one could forget the characters and the plot, but not the sheer sensory brilliance of this classic production.

David Murray

"JAWS" - Film Review.

Now in it's 3rd record month screening in Wellington and having the same incredible success elsewhere, one wonders just what sets JAWS apart from most other ceiling busters.

It is expensive ($8 million), elaborate, and technically intricate, and yet though Peter Berchley's novel was in itself a proven commodity, the well-over budget and schedule screenplay might have just as easily flopped.

Part of a stream of high adventure films, like "Earthquake', JAWS is a fantasy relying on the immediacy of illusion, taking a panic-producing disaster and showing how a representative cross-section of humanity responds to it. On the screen the menace comes horrifyingly close putting everyone it seems, into imminent danger.

Yet the audience revels in its own terror, subconsciously aware that fear alone is what it's all about. There is security in the knowledge that, like the heroes, they will return alive.

Having previously enjoyed the novel the film-goer is immediately aware of a lack of similar padding in the way of sub-plots; the exploring around with age-old phenomena such as the uneasy marriage, the adulterous wife, the clever seducer, is eliminated.

Police Chief Brody (Roy Schrieder) must still fight the town's mayor, who is fearful that closing the beaches after the first shark attacks will ruin his resort's economy. He still joins forces with Quint the professional shark killer (Robert Shaw, who tends to play the part of excess) and a youthful ichthyologist named Hooper. Richard Dreyfus in this part perfects a cheeky charm which humourizes the picture without altogether overshadowing the ever-essential symbol of evil.

At sea in Quint's leaky craft, the three are confident of destroying this great white horror which gradually shows itself to be far more cunning, far larger and stronger than even Quint could have believed. Throughout the whole film are the classic sequences of suspense; always present is the unknowable. Steven Spielberg as director works us up with false alarms, giving us the real thing with heart-stopping suddenness. The end is explosive.

The shark-attack scenes at the beginning were handled in the never-failing Hitchcock manner, sure to cause audience reaction; what's to be expected when an audience has knowledge of lurking danger and yet is unable to shout effective warning to obvious victims?

But realism at times tended to border on the ridiculous whereby, after initial horror the spell was inevitably broken. For instance, I found the appearance of a severed head through the bottom of a sunken craft, while being a grotesque reminder of the evil effectiveness of an as yet unknown quantity, too much to bear.

Finally the appearance of "Jaws", played by a 24foot mechanical monster, and ultimately Quint's fateful end destroyed the illusions I had previously had. I found myself comparing the film rather unfavourably with the novel which was thankfully forced to leave much more to the imagination.

The soundtrack, on its own a success due to its appeal to the more morbid is indeed one of the film's great assets.

On the whole the film is over rated and yet as such will continue to attract audiences who are bound to be gripped, with only the more detached being critical enough to notice any short comings at the time.