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New Zealand International Film Festival

July to November NZ wide | TVNZ

Sam Hunt: Purple Balloon & other stories: Film Festival

Sam Hunt: Purple Balloon & other stories

New Zealand 2010, 83m
Director: Tim Rose

If every New Zealander over a certain age feels familiar enough with Sam Hunt to say gidday to the guy, this vivid, unvarnished portrait, which contains that suggestion, might give us pause.

Tim Rose and Jim Scott have assembled their film from several sessions with the ever-loquacious, rock'n'roll bard; telling testimony from his friends, relatives and other experts; and screeds of lively footage from television archives dating back to 1970.

Contradictions abound: he never spoke until he was four. An inspiring teacher himself, and clearly respected by decades of teachers who've taken him into their classrooms, he mocks teachers for analysing poetry, then himself spells out the metaphor of the de-winged butterfly. It's a startlingly honest portrait of a man in a state of constant agitation with himself, but who's long since known that he was a poet. He owns up to the booze and the bullshit, no worries, while plying his mordant commentaries on the body politic and his lyrical gift for brushing up against the mysteries of existence. - BG