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Utu Redux

UTU Poster 5508x3508

Director Geoff Murphy

Producer Don Blakeney, David Carson-Parker, Kerry Robins, Graeme Cowley

Editor Michael Horton

Screenplay Keith Aberdein, Geoff Murphy

With Music by John Charles

Cinematography Graeme Cowley

Curated by Annabel Cooper

Featured Anzac Wallace, Bruno Lawrence, Tim Elliott, Kelly Johnson, Wi Kuki Kaa, Tania Bristowe, Ilona Rodgers, Merata Mita

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is delighted to co-present this screening with the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata in support of the exhibition He Riri Awatea: Filming the New Zealand Wars . This screening will be introduced by cinematographer Graeme Cowley and filmmaker Dame Gaylene Preston.

In 1870s New Zealand, Te Wheke, a scout for the colonial troops, finds his tribe massacred by the army he is working for. Anguished and betrayed, he vows to exact retribution – utu – on the Pākehā. Geoff Murphy’s iconic ‘puha western’ subverts traditional film genres with a fictional story set during the New Zealand Wars featuring characters based on nineteenth-century Māori leaders. 

'Utu, I think, is absolutely hands down the best New Zealand movie of all time.’ - Quentin Tarantino, interviewed on Radio New Zealand, 21/01/2016.

'The glorious peak achievement of the new feature film culture that burgeoned here in the 70s, Geoff Murphy’s 1983 Utu is unveiled afresh in its ravishing, pictorial splendour. Here it is, our own turbulent history transcribed with cinematic élan – and an elegiac, absurdist vision of the devil’s mischief in paradise... Utu traces the interwoven trajectories of several vividly etched characters caught up in the wake of the vengeful Te Wheke, whose people have been massacred in a British military blunder. Thirty years ago, we thought such a copious panorama of the Land Wars might be where our movies were headed. Now that we have a feature film industry, Utu looks like a miracle.' – NZ International Film Festival on the release of Utu Redux, 2013.

GRAEME COWLEY has worked as cinematographer on many iconic New Zealand films, including Utu, Mauri, Smash Palace, Carry Me Back, and Nutcase. He spearheaded the restoration, reediting and remixing of the Utu Redux at Park Road Post in 2013.

DAME GAYLENE PRESTON is a national treasure, with an exceptional career over more than four decades. An innovative writer, director, and producer, Gaylene has insisted that it is possible to live in New Zealand and contribute New Zealand stories to global cinema, and her award-winning work has screened extensively at international festivals including Venice, Sundance, and Toronto.

ANNABEL COOPER is co-curator for the exhibition He Riri Awatea: Filming the New Zealand Wars and author of Filming the Colonial Past: The New Zealand Wars on Screen (Otago University Press, 2018).

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