d SQUEEGEE BANDIT e
fantastic Kiwi doco releases at Academy in Auckland and
Paramount in Wellington on the 1st of Feb. See below for more details and director's notes
on this doco.
This bold new film by Sándor Lau is a documentary about Starfish, who survives by washing car windows at intersections on the mean streets of South Auckland. He's a born hustler with an extreme personality, magnetic charisma, infectious humour, and a vicious temper.
SQUEEGEE BANDIT follows Starfish's struggles (at pace, with a kick-ass sound track) through nine months, three cars, two women, thirty residences, three weeks of homelessness, a hundred run-ins with the cops, one court date, a kilo of marijuana, a closet full of skeletons, finding God and the Zen of window washing.
Rated: R16 violence,
offensive language, drug use
Run Time: 75 minutes
Releases: 1 February 2007
Film is an emotional experience, not a logical one. You cannot make a film about injustice. Or colonialism. Or poverty. They’re too big—impossible to cover in two hours or two years. The only way to address any issue is to tell a human story.
SQUEEGEE BANDIT is a story about Kevin Whana, a.k.a. Starfish: window washer. He earns his living by washing car windows at traffic lights, living off the scraps of people’s generosity, guilt and fear.
As a Mäori man, tangata whenua since his ancestors stepped off the Aotea canoe, Starfish is landless, penniless, and semi-homeless in his own country. As one of his mates puts it, the colonial situation in New Zealand is one where the tenant has evicted the landlord. As Starfish puts it, prison is just a second home for the Mäori people.
SQUEEGEE BANDIT is a story about sin and redemption, one man’s life of struggle with crime, drugs and despair—a struggle he’s fighting with humour and positivity to pull himself out of. But it’s not just one man’s story. This is the story of every angry young man fighting to survive in a life with the deck stacked against him.
In a country as rich as New Zealand, Starfish has resorted to stealing food to feed his family. His story is not just his own but the story of the Mäori people, colonized, disenfranchised, aliens in their own country, but also strangers to themselves—as disconnected from their own culture as they are from European culture. Unable to speak “proper” English or his own language, Starfish feels like a plastic Mäori.
More than the story of one man or even the Mäori people, SQUEEGEE BANDIT is a story of the world. Mäori people don’t have a monopoly on living at the bottom of the totem pole—almost anywhere in the world where there is traffic and poverty come together, a young man is out washing windows trying to scrape by.
Starfish’s story is not only his, but the story of the Aboriginal people of Australia, of Native Americans, of African Americans and African Africans, of people in India, the Philippines, Eastern Europe and South America. It’s the story of the world as we know it where a handful of ultra-rich own nearly everything, and a mountain of poor own almost nothing. The story of one is the story of many.
But as I said, this is not a film about poverty, injustice, or colonialism. It’s a story about one guy who washes windows. He’s got drug problems, crime problems, and a vicious temper. He’s also an absolute charmer with a killer sense of humour that would have Adolf Hitler rolling in the aisles. He’s a sinner striving to be a saint, and a born movie star if there ever was one.
SQUEEGEE BANDIT is an intense and intelligent film that will appeal to the arthouse audiences who can’t get enough political documentary. But it’s also a roaring comedy with street cred and a hip soundtrack that will appeal as much to Ngäti Otara as to Ngäti Latté.
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