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Review: Rubbings from a Live Man

Review: Rubbings from a Live Man

Scoop Review: Auckland International Film Festival

By Natasha Burling

PREMIERE NEWS Florian Habicht’s film Rubbings from a Live Man about performer Warwick Broadhead premiered yesterday July 20 to a full-house at Sky City Theatre in Auckland.

Auckland’s fine arts community was out in full force to support their colleague Habicht.

Festival Director Bill Gosden said that seeing one of Habicht’s films was always a “joyous occasion” and said that even Warwick Broadhead walking along the street was an event.

Habicht said he admired the fact that Broadhead never compromised his art and thus retained his artistic integrity.

The film received a standing ovation and Broadhead, flanked by his family and film crew members, sang “Great Pretender” after he had given his thank you speech.

REVIEW Rubbings from a Live Man is a dramatised documentary of the life of one-of-a-kind veteran performer Warwick Broadhead.

Broadhead’s discovery at a young age that putting a tea-cosy on his head could entertain others and get him the attention he craved led him to pursue a life of dramatic arts.

The documentary includes Broadhead’s early life in suburban Auckland, his debauched times in San Francisco and later life back in New Zealand.

Contrasts abound in this distinctive film with pathos and hilarity alternating throughout.

Broadhead struggles with loneliness, loss and religion, and somehow manages to overcome the tragedies that are dealt to him in life.

The performer has a unique worldview, finding even dustmites fascinating and somehow good company. He also offers some acute insights into love and life.

Broadhead plays himself in the film, along with a myriad of other characters including God.

The projected backdrops to his performances are stunning and skilfully integrated into each piece.

The cinematography is sharp and observant, although I am not sure about the jump shots. But perhaps there is freedom to have those in an artistic piece.

A strong but unobtrusive musical score by Marc Chesterman carries the documentary powerfully.

In a life characterised by pretense, Broadhead has wrenched off the mask and let us see something of the man within.

New Zealand 2008

Director: Florian Habicht

Producers: Phillipa Campbell, Florian Habicht

Photography: Christopher Pryor

Sound: Ray Beentjes

Original Music: Marc Chesterman

With: Warwick Broadhead

75 minutes

See for screenings around the country


Natasha Burling is an AUT journalism student doing the Graduate Diploma in Journalism. She has lived in Colombia, France and Scotland.


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