documentary watching

Unexpectedly have seen three documentaries at the movies in the last week or so.

This Way of Life

Film about a family in the East Coast of NZ, doing their best to live off the land and independently of the system. Fascinating as a case study in the balance between integrity and survival. Sort of a car-wreck as crazy shit occurs in their lives. Pretty choice, though the narrative feels like it has pieces missing.

The Road to Jerusalem

Film about J.K. Baxter. Told as a mix of his poems, and recollections and interviews with family and friends. Paints an interesting portarait. I didn’t really know much about Baxter beforehand. This is definitely a useful coverage. Seems like a sincere spiritual man with raw talent. His trip to India in the 1950s seems pivotal in his development.


In the 1960s in Australia they were testing rockets. They were supposed to burn up then land in an uninhabited desert region. The government sent out a patrol to make sure no one was there, and discovered about the last aborigines living in the desert. The patrol had a video camera… The kids among the aborigines are now elders, and they tell the story of first contact with the whitefellas. The juxtaposition between giant computers and rockets and naked in the desert is pretty mind-blowing. A fascinating wee movie, though sort of no more than what it is.

Contact is on at the Documentary Edge festival and shows again on Thursday.

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