Thursday, 21 January 2010

Land of The Long White Cloud: Movie Review

Land of The Long White Cloud: Movie Review

Rating: 7/10
Director: Florian Habicht
In this doco from director Florian Habicht, New Zealand's fishers are put under the microscope.
Shot at the annual Red Snapper Classic at Ninety Mile Beach in the Far North, this genial piece takes in the characters and attitudes which are found over the five day event.
With serious money up for grabs, Habicht wanders round capturing the goings on - both on and off the beach as the event gathers pace.
Land of the Long White Cloud is a fascinating insight into those who'll go for the sport of fishing - one of the greatest events on offer in this country, whether you want to be solo or part of a group.
Part of the charm of this relatively short doco is the personalities of those who inhabit the shores for the event.
There's a languid atmosphere amid the competition - and Habicht gets to pick brains and get the fishermen - and women - to open up and offer up their philosophies as the surf peals around them.
One reveals he'd buy socks with the money after he's spent so long hooking his own by accident while out; another talks about how they're normally a smartly turned out office boy who relishes the chances to throw it all off and stand around waiting to catch the big one.
It's an interesting and entertaining look as Habicht asks some of them if they can remember where they were when they heard Lady Di had died; or even if they watch the news - the danger is the casual viewer will think he's trivializing, but what's revealed is probably a more accurate snapshot of Kiwi life than any survey or census could find out.
The fishermen end up contemplating life against a truly wondrous backdrop of rolling waves and blue skies - and espouse such sentiments as: "Look after those you love." Sure, there's a level of cod philosophy here but you'll forgive it that in spades.
Land of the Long White Cloud will appeal to any of those who want to marvel in the majesty of Ninety Mile Beach and the wondrous bounty of the coastline - the most entertaining part though is definitely the human element - especially as you see them enjoying life after the rods have been put down for the night.

Overall, this is the kind of film which sums up precisely why Aotearoa is such a wonderful country - a heady mix of coast, surf and characters. Just don't be surprised if at the doco's conclusion, you have an overwhelming urge to head out for a day's fishing.

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