Pictures

Film
A pensive, oddly querulous tribute to New Zealand's 19th century pioneer stills photographers, the Burton Brothers, this is weighed down with a gravely simple lesson in political history that sacrifices both character and drama to sketchy schematics. In the aftermath of the Maori wars, idealistic settler Walter Burton (Vere-Jones) documents the misery of a dying culture while becoming increasingly estranged from his own: he's less the misunderstood artist, though, than one all too well understood by the colonial authorities bent on censoring him. Brother Alfred (Wilson) arrives later, trading on his reputation as a society portraitist and landscape romanticist to give the governmental patrons the images they want. Supporting stereotypes abound, and the ironies are trowelled on. It's handsome and well-meaning enough, but there's hardly a spark of cinema to it.

By: PT

Release details

Duration:
87 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Michael Black
Screenwriter:
Robert Lord, John O'Shea
Cast:
Kevin J Wilson
Peter Vere-Jones
Helen Moulder
Elizabeth Coulter
Terence Bayler
Matiu Mareikura
Ron Lynn
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