Insiders list pick of NZ flicks

By Brendan Manning

NZ On Screen's top 10 films show `New Zealanders to ourselves and to a world stage'.

Boy, Goodbye Pork Pie and Heavenly Creatures had international success telling New Zealand stories.
Boy, Goodbye Pork Pie and Heavenly Creatures had international success telling New Zealand stories.

Peter Jackson's finest work occurred in 1994, according to a new list of New Zealand's finest feature films.

The list - compiled by NZ On Screen - was not ranked but rated Heavenly Creatures as our most famous director's finest work.

"The film that saw splatter-king Peter Jackson lauded by a whole new audience was born from partner Fran Walsh's fascination with a matricide in 50s Christchurch," the list's selectors state.

"Their kinetic vision of a tragic teen friendship gained art-house acclaim, Oscar nods and praise for newbies Lynskey and Winslet."

NZ On Screen content director Irene Gardiner said our movies show New Zealanders to ourselves and to a world stage.

Have your say on the top ten list here.

"Blondini and the yellow Mini, Beth Heke and Jake the Mus - reflect the culture."

Top 10 lists had been done before, but they've always been someone else's picks, Ms Gardiner said.

"After five years in existence I think we can confidently stick our necks out and say 'these are the best 10 New Zealand feature films according to NZ On Screen'."

The list was chosen by a combination of "gut feelings and opinions", feedback and the impact of the films themselves - awards, box office, reviews, international success, and the extent to which they have passed into the Kiwi consciousness.

Boy (2010)
Boy (2010)

Goodbye Pork Pie, Utu, Once Were Warriors, The Piano, Whale Rider and Boy all made the list as well as some lesser-known titles. Hobbits were conspicuous by their absence.

Brad McGann's adaptation of Maurice Gee's In My Father's Den was arguably the film in the list which attracted the least fanfare, Ms Gardiner said.

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"But it is nonetheless special as a quietly powerful, personal 'little' film that is well-regarded by many."

For a small country, New Zealand has gained disproportionately impressive international recognition for its films, and many of our directors, actors and crew members have gone on to overseas success, Ms Gardiner said.

Good Bye Pork Pie (1981)
Good Bye Pork Pie (1981)

"With the exception of the late McGann, whose premature death from cancer sadly robbed him of the chance, all of the directors whose films feature in our Top 10 have worked internationally."

The list was timed to coincide with the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards on December 10.

The list (in chronological order)

*Goodbye Pork Pie (1981)
*Smash Palace (1981)
*Utu (1983)
*Vigil (1984)
*The Piano (1993)
*Heavenly Creatures (1994)
*Once Were Warriors (1994)
*Whale Rider (2002)
*In My Father's Den (2004)
*Boy (2010)

- NZ Herald

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