Friday, July 28, 2006


More reviews from the Jaocbunny...


Claustrophobia. I remember having this intense feeling, occasionally, growing up. At the bottom of a ruck in a schoolboy rugby game; the time my brother shut me in my wardrobe which only had a handle on the outside; once when some friends put me in the boot of their car as part of making a short film. It was feeling of being smothered, of not being able to escape, of being confronted with a situation outside of my ability to control. This very real feeling is what filmmaker Lodge Kerrigan evokes, slowly but surely, in his latest directorial effort, Keane...
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Black Gold

The first documentary on my festival list this year was Black Gold. I must admit that this was one I put on my list more because I felt I should see it (being the great consumer of coffee that I am) than because I wanted to, or thought it would be a great film. Happily for me I was proved wrong... [read more]

The Method

The Method [NEW]Marcelo Piñeyro/USA/Italy/France/2005 Worlds of DifferenceA LOW BUDGET psychological thriller which explores the dark, competitive side of human nature, a la Lord of the Flies, Piñeyro’s film does not so much stir our thinking as it does raise our eyebrows. Seven executives apply for a high level job and are put through a bizarre interview process which turns into a ramped up ego-fest competition. The ‘survival of the cruellest’ concept in itself, though not new, is certainly rich enough to support any number of explorations, but Piñeyro fails to capitalise, producing a series of ill-conceived character interactions that are neither convincing, nor particularly poignant. It plays more like a Spanish soap opera.—JP

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


To those interested individuals...

Jacob's latest offering to Lumiere has been posted.


Monday, July 17, 2006

It’s been a weird week.

It all started Wednesday morning when I managed to put a hole in my stockings and spill berocca on my white cotton shirt in the 10mins before I left the house for work. Maybe I should have seen the weirdness coming after that. But I don’t really believe in omens. So I simply brushed it off and got on with the day – just in a different outfit than the one I’d intended.

Thursday evening Jacob and I headed off to the TNZIFF official opening function, and the premiere screening of ‘The Wind that Shakes the Barley’, one of the centrepiece films for this year’s festival. The film, which explores the birth of the IRA, weaves a complex story centring on the relationship between two brothers. True to director Ken Loach’s signature style, there are no 2 dimensional straw-men in this story. There are no heroes or villains. There are only fragile human beings, desperately attempting to make the best possible choices in the worst of circumstances. It was certainly not an easy watch. But having seen a number of Loach films before, and knowing the subject matter, I expected this. However it was all apparently too much for me. Early in the film there is a torture scene. Now, as I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I’m a bit soft. So the moment a British soldier began waving a pair of pliers threateningly in the direction of a captured IRA soldier, I knew it was time to shut my eyes. Apparently this wasn’t enough.

After dry reaching a couple of times, I blacked out.

I can’t really explain the reaction. Maybe it was because I couldn’t escape the sound. No threatening music in the background, just the sound of the chair on the floor, the sound of the pliers, and the screaming. Loach has an unnerving ability to bring the action so close that you feel like you are actually in the room. It took me about 10mins with my head between my legs to properly regain my equilibrium. Nothing like that has ever happened to me while watching a film before, and I have to say the experience un-nerved me. I don’t even think it was the most difficult scene to watch in the film, nor do I think the level of violence was gratuitous. The story is after all based on events that have been historically verified by both sides of the equation. Perhaps that was what made it so difficult for me to stomach; the knowledge that this was not just a movie. Real people, not unlike you and me inflicted this level of violence on one another. Both believing that their ‘side’ was justified in behaving the way they did. And then came the Civil War, further blurring the lines between who was right and who was wrong, pitting brother against brother; literally in this story. It felt somewhat ironic to me that I was in the midst of preparing a sermon entitled; ‘Forgiveness is the New Revenge.’

I spent Friday feeling slightly dazed. I got home around ten past five, only to find that I didn’t have my house keys. Jacob was at a movie and the Ritchie’s were away on holiday, so I camped out on our patio in the cold and the quickly descending dark and attempted to work on my sermon without the aid of my computer, my notes, or any of the books I had been reading. Jacob got home around 6:30pm - just as I was beginning to lose feeling in my toes. I have never been so grateful to be inside and in front of a heater!

After guzzling a hastily made panang curry, I headed off to the going away party of a friend of mine. It was a while since I had seen her so it was great to catch up with her before she heads off to the thriving metropolis of Hamilton. But, after my weird week thus far, I was not in the best or most patient of moods, and I was feeling a tad unsociable, even for me. So finding myself in a room full of people I had never met, (there were literally only three people in the room whom I had ever met, two of them only in passing on a couple of occasions), was more than a little overwhelming. I tried to stick with polite niceties, but unfortunately some curious person asked me the inevitable question – “So what do you do?”

I hate being asked about my job. It’s hard to explain why. It is certainly not because I don’t like it, or because I’m embarrassed about it. But I feel reticent about talking about it to strangers, especially Christian strangers, largely because the moment I say the words “I’m a pastor” people see me differently. There are judgements and expectations that seem to come with the label and I’m not sure that that is entirely a good thing. It makes me uncomfortable. The conversation that followed on this particular occasion really only added to my frustrations:

“So what do you do?”

“I work a couple of days a week for my church, and 3 days a week as a medical receptionist in a physiotherapy clinic.”

“Wow, that’s cool. What do you do for your church?”

“I’m a pastor.”

“Really? What kind of pastor are you?”

(Huh? (Short moment of stunned silence) Ummm...hopefully a good one????) “What do you mean by that?”

“Are you the Youth Pastor, or the Children’s Pastor? Or the Worship Pastor?...”

“Ohh, (internal sigh of relief that question actually makes sense), I’m the Associate Pastor.”

“Really? So, is your husband the pastor?”


“ he's also an associate pastor?”

“ My husband is a librarian.”

Stunned silence fills the room. One of the girls I have met before does a nice save:

“Oh that’s right; your husband works at the Philson Library at the Medical school...”

I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to having to answer to questions like these. It frustrates me on so many levels. I’d be willing to bet money that if I was a guy I wouldn’t get asked what kind of pastor I was, just where I was serving. I guess this is where my reticence comes from, at least in part.

When I decided to go back to University to study theology, I did so because I was responding to what I perceived as a call from God on my life to do so. When I made the decision to apply to become a licensed minister, I did so because I was continuing to respond to that call, with the support and encouragement of my friends, family and church community. And now almost 2 years later I find myself weighing up whether or not I take the next step and apply for ordination. On some level the decision feels like a done deal, though in others, I’m just not sure.

When I first began to consider the possibility that maybe God might possibly be calling me to ordained ministry, I approached that possibility with extreme caution. I’m not someone who makes decisions lightly. I gave the idea plenty of time to brew before I took any steps forward, and even when I did those steps were tentative. From the very beginning I was always adamant that while I was happy to explore and test out whether or not my particular call to ministry was real, I was not willing to justify my right to even have a call to ministry. That is not a battle I feel called to fight. And yet I often find myself in position where that decision feels compromised by the judgements and expectations of others.

On top of that, I hate the perception that I am somehow different from other people, more special even, because of what God has called me to. The way I see it, all of us have a call on our lives, none more special or important than any other, just different. Yes, God has called me to do this, but it doesn’t make me any more special than Jacob, who serves God in response to an equally strong call, but in a very different manner and context. I neither want nor need special robes, or a special chair. I’m still just me, Melissa: daughter, sister, friend, wife, lover, pastor. I still get grumpy and occasionally shout. I am still useless without at least one coffee in the morning. I still talk to inanimate objects and food while it’s cooking. And I still have a thing for white Asiatic lilies. I’m still just me. The only difference is that I have chosen to take a step in a particular direction because I believe it’s the way that God would have me go.

This has been a much longer post than I intended. But it’s been a weird week; a week of strange occurrences, frustrating conversations and a thoughtful malaise. And this post only covers half of it!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

more reviews

Well it's that time of year again, the film festival is almost upon us. As a result there is yet another review of Jacob's now posted on Lumiere, this time for Kirby Dick's documentary 'This Film is Not Yet Rated' which will also be screening at this years festival.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

10 things I hate about commandments

With the mo'town series still fresh in my mind I found this mash up vid '10 Things I Hate About Commandments' particulaly funny. The burning bush is definately the star of this show.

HT: to dissonant bible which led me to the link

Thursday, July 06, 2006

5 x 2

After a successful foray into the world of film reviewing with his writing for lumiere reader, Jacob has now branched out and is also reviewing for 'filmguide' a website that has been set up by 1914 media trust. His first effort, a review of Francois Ozon's 5 x 2 created a little bit of controversy for the somewhat more conservative readership. Unfortunately the comments got lost in the transfer to the new site but if you want to read the discussion you can view it on the original blogsite.

I guess it's a good thing he didn't post his review on the beaver trilogy there.

I enjoyed 5 x 2, despite feeling uncomfortable at times. Nothing has yet tipped three dollars from its 'the best film I have seen this year' pedestal, but the New Zealand International Film Festival is coming...and it is only July!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Jacob has posted a new review on Lumiere - this time for Bent Hamer's Factotum which will be screeening in this years Auckland International Film Festival. It has actually been up since Thursday last week, but I have been a little pre-occupied - sorry.

pseudo holiday

I have been a bit quiet on the posting front for the past two weeks as I was busy making preparations for and being involved in the 'Pre-wedding Celebration' of some good friends of mine who are getting married in September of this year in Scotland . They wanted to do something significant for friends and family here in NZ and asked if I could help them put together a service, which was both a privilege and a lot of fun. The pseudo wedding, as it was nicknamed, took place at St Barnabas Anglican Church in Ngongotaha. I should have taken some pictures of the church - it was quite stunning; a gorgeous old wooden chapel with a beautiful stained glass window featuring St Barnabas.

After the wedding practice on Friday evening, it occurred to Jacob and me that we were now free of commitments until 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon. Nice. We took the opportunity to take a walk round the boardwalk at Lake Okareka - also gorgeous. Thank-fully we did manage to remember to take the camera with us. Here are some of the better photos...

All in all it was a lovely weekend - although I have to say I am absolutely shattered (energy wise) and my brain is toast. I feel like I could sleep for several weeks and only just be back to normal. On Sunday morning I found myself struggling to answer simple questions with any clarity - a bit embarrassing really! But I have to say it was all worth it, especially to see the warm glow emanating from the bride and bride-groom to be, dancing to the Jazz Band at the Blue Baths on Saturday night. Definitely the most gorgeous of all the sights we saw over the course of the weekend.