Tuesday, September 27, 2005

World of Wearable Art

Rachel pointed out recently that since we had called the blog "films and more" there was scope for writing about things other than films. So I thought I'd write about going to the opening night of the Montana World of Wearable Art Award Show last Friday.All the shows for 2005 are booked out but anyone reading this should definitely put it on the list of things to do next year.

This show has the kind of universal appeal that a fireworks display has because it's so good to look at. It's not a coincidence that its called WOW for short because it has loads of flair and panache and excitement. The costumes are just amazing and the choreography is great. You couldn't not like it - an hour and 45 minutes just whips past.

My favourite part was the bizarre bra section. An Elvis imported from Las Vegas stood on a podium in the centre of the stage and sang several numbers while the models jived. The girl had 3/4 length black trousers to complement their bra) and the guys wore jean with big turnups with theirs. I noticed there wasn't a hairy chest in sight,so they must have waxed - such devotion to duty! The winning bra was a pair of kiwifruit which opened up into a concertina of slices. You can check it (and other winning entries) out at http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/dominionpost/0,2106,0a15076a207146,00.html

Other sections were almost as enchanting. The pacifica section began with a volcano, out of which a model erupted and ascended to the ceiling in a swathe of orange silk. Another section had costumes which were designed to be viewed in the ultraviolet lights that lined the stage. There was opera music, pacific music, classical music. There was a troupe of male dancers with billowing red silk skirts and bare chests. There was a section which began with upside-down dancers in what looked like tutus, but turned out to be luminous silver dresses.Models descended from the ceiling and sported amazing tights and hats.It made enchanting viewing and it made me proud that such a creative idea was home-grwon in New Zealand.

Friday night was the actual prize-giving so famous personages (like the PM) handed out the cheques. While this was mildly diverting, I'm sure the show on other nights would be equally worthwhile.

I know this wasn't a film but it rates 5/5 anyway.


Now, we have been to more films lately than the blog would suggest, so it's clearly time to write about some. Wellington had a Middle Eastern festival in early September called the Date Palm Festival and we went several movies. The best one, I think, was Private. This is the story of a Palestinian family (Mum, Dad and five kids) who live on a hill in the West Bank, situated between an Israeli settlement and a refugee camp. Their two-storey house wouldn't win any architectural awards, being an un-preposessing concrete block box but it is a very nice home inside with all mod cons. Dad is a school headmaster and drives the kids to school in the Mercedes everyday.

The Israeli army decide to occupy the family home because of its strategic position and they take over the top floor, while allowing the family the live on the ground floor. At night, they lock the family into the lounge to sleep, and let them out again in the morning. They aren't allowed visitors, but during the day can come and go fairly freely.

The family dynamics in this movie are just great, and so is watching how each family member deals with the situations. Mum (who is alone in the house during the day with half a dozen soldiers overhead) is dying to move out. By contrast, staunch Dad would rather die than move out. Middle son arranges to move in with one of his schoolmates in the refugee camp but his father forbids it. Oldest son toys with planting a grenade in their makeshift garden greenhouse which the Israelis keep demolishing. Oldest daughter argues with her parents about their plan to send her to med school in Germany, because she'd rather "stay and fight" in Palestine. Littlest son is devastatingly cute and he struggles to understand what is going on.

Watching this film really makes you think about the different levels of publicity human rights violations get, depending on where and when in history they take place. There have been dozens of movies which feature anti-semitic atrocities in WWII, but until recently I'd never seen a movie which involved Israelis maltreating Palestinians. So, Private is well-acted, suspenseful and provides food for thought.

Anne's rating 4/5 Ian's rating 4/5