100 Men

Posted Sunday 02 Jul 2017

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Vincent Burke is the producer behind 100 Men, a window onto four decades of gay history and an exploration of how it has affected personal lives.

100 Men
Director: Paul Oremland
2017, 94 minutes, World Premiere

100 Men fast-tracks through 40 years of gay history via a countdown of filmmaker Paul Oremland's most memorable shags. The significance of the 100 men varies, but all have lingered in Paul's mind for some small or, ahem, big reason. Most of the men feature only as a descriptive nickname; some appear on camera. Although the film does ask whether gay men are too fixated on sex, Paul is more interested in these men's lives, emphasising the collective experience of the isolation of growing up gay.

Paul recounts how a religious upbringing in New Zealand fuelled an inner struggle and how his first heartbreak led to a move to the UK. It's there that he met John, the love of his life. Their on/off-again romance gets major screen time, with Paul unpicking their decision to eschew monogamy for an open relationship. The polyamorous life is a major talking point of the film. In the days before gay marriage seemed even remotely possible, the rejection of monogamy was a defining feature of gay culture, and the film explores the effects it had on men's lives.

This thoughtful film looks forward as much as it does back, leaving us to ponder the intricacies of gay identity today. - Chris Tse

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My Year with Helen

Posted Sunday 02 Jul 2017

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Gaylene Preston directed, co-produced and co-photographed, and Catherine Madigan co-produced, this fascinating portrait of Helen Clark on a mission - and a laconic account of the exasperating circumstances wherein she hit the glass ceiling at the United Nations.

After its gala screening at the Sydney Film Festival, get along to see it at Auckland's glorious Civic, and at its regional screenings in four centres.

My Year with Helen
2017, 93 minutes
Festivals: Sydney 2017
Director/co-producer: Gaylene Preston
Co-producer: Catherine Madigan

Early in the film the former PM spells out her primary professional objective: find herself a job where she can "do a power of good". Keen to discover what that might look like in 2015, Preston followed Clark to Botswana in her third top-ranked position at the UN, heading up the UN Development Programme. She didn't know that in the year that followed Clark would also be campaigning for the position of secretary general.

The election of the UN's top official had once been so secretive that not even the candidates knew they were in the running. For 2016 the UN announced that the contest would be much more transparent. Considering the organisation's remits around gender equality, the time felt ripe for the first female secretary general in its 80-year history. Clark was one of seven women to announce their candidacy.

The media love a horse race, and politicians, diplomats and feminist organisations were immediately abuzz with speculation and opinion. Shuttling between a forthright Clark and official UN briefings which reveal nothing, Preston singles out a wealth of clued-up commentators and shrewdly observes multiple angles to the story. Nothing anyone has to say is intended to convince you that this was a transparent process, or even, in fact, a race.

Clark is dignified and resilient in the face of loss. She can always congratulate herself on having had Preston on hand to mine her disappointing experience and discover in it the fuel for future fire.

Website: http://www.myyearwithhelen.com
Trailer: http://www.vimeo.com/164667465