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Flashbacks with Geoff Murphy

Flashbacks with Geoff Murphy

Flashbacks with Geoff Murphy: a Retrospective Trip celebrates the career of one of NZ’s great maverick filmmakers. The ten-film season screens at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision in Wellington throughout November (3-24).

The retrospective offers a unique opportunity to experience on the big screen an overview of Murphy’s output spanning more than 40 years, from 1970 short Tankbusters and the irreverent, never-broadcast children’s series Percy the Policeman, to the restored and re-cut classic Utu Redux from 2013. In between there are ground-breaking movies such as cult sci-fi The Quiet Earth and the iconic NZ road movie Goodbye Pork Pie, without which no Geoff Murphy season could be complete.

While focusing on Murphy’s New Zealand productions, the season also features his first Hollywood feature, Young Guns II (1990). Three further features, Wild Man (1977), Never Say Die (1988) and Spooked (2004), along with two documentaries, The Making of Utu and Blerta: The Return Trip, complete the programme.

“Now that New Zealand’s film icon Geoff Murphy has hung up his director/producer hat it feels right to celebrate his creativity in telling story on film while he is still amongst us,” says programme curator Lawrence Wharerau. “In the film industry, too often we don’t give people the recognition they deserve at the time. Now that Geoff has entered his 80s it's past time to thank him for his contribution to NZ film.”

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“The programme name has also been fully endorsed by Geoff himself.”

Geoff’s creative juices were stimulated and realised during his time at Snoring Waters, the commune based in Waimarama where many talented filmmakers and entertainers grew under the auspices of BLERTA – The Bruno Lawrence Electric Revelation Touring Apparition, along with Fane Flaws, Beaver, Ian Watkins et al.

For full details of all screenings see

The Quiet Earth – 3, 8, 16 November, 7pm. A scientist (Bruno Lawrence) wakes one morning to discover he is alone in the world. The global top-secret energy project, which he has been working on for a year, has changed the world.

Making Utu – 7, 8 November, 12.30pm. The cast and crew of the New Zealand feature film Utu take us behind the scenes during and after production.

Utu Redux – 7, 15 November, 7pm. A restored and re-edited version of Geoff Murphy’s classic Land Wars story, the first New Zealand film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival.

Percy the Policeman & Tank Busters - 9, 15, 16, 22, 29, 30 November, 12.30pm, and 8, 21, 23, 28, 30 November, 5.30pm. Five 6-minute episodes of children's series Percy the Policeman, produced in 1974 but never actually broadcast as they were deemed to show the police force in a bad light. In Tankbusters, five university students plan to rob a safe using the skills of their study subjects.

Wild Man - 9, 14, 16, 22 November, 5.30pm, and 23 November, 12.30pm.
Two itinerant conmen, the Wild Man (Bruno Lawrence) and the Colonel, operate on the West Coast gold mining towns of the 19th century. The nature of their act is for the Colonel to challenge the best man the town has to offer

Goodbye Pork Pie - 9, 28, 30 November, 7pm. Murphy’s tale of two men on the run in a small yellow mini has become one of New Zealand’s most popular and enduring films. It was the first box office hit of the late 70s/early 80s new wave of NZ films and the first locally made feature to gross over $1 million at the New Zealand box office.

Blerta - The Return Trip -10, 17 November, 4.30pm. The story of the maverick group that toured New Zealand in 1970 making music and films, getting by on raw talent. This documentary made by Geoff Murphy and John Clarke is also known as “Blerta Revisited”.

Never Say Die – 14, 22 November, 7pm. When investigative journalist Alf Winters (Temuera Morrison in his first big screen starring role) and his beautiful girlfriend Melissa Jones (Lisa Eilbacher of Beverly Hills Cop fame) return home to New Zealand, they narrowly escape death when their home is blown up.

Young Guns II – 17, 21, 23 November, 7pm. Murphy’s first American feature follows Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) in the years following the Lincoln County war in which Billy was part of “The Regulators” – a group of highly skilled gunmen avenging the death of John Tunstall – and the years leading up to Billy’s documented death.

Spooked – 24 November, 7pm. A conspiracy thriller arising from the mysterious death of Kevin Jones, who thinks he’s just buying second-hand computers until he looks at the data left on the discs. Was Kev murdered, or did he simply get drunk and crash his car? Investigating journalist Mort Whitman will find out if it kills him.


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