So on Sunday night I was privileged enough to be invited along to the screening of Hitchcock and Chaplin classics at the finale of the New Zealand Film Festival by New Zealand film critic Dominic Corry.
Set amongst Auckland's legendary 'Civic' the experience can only be described as magical. One of the few remaining Atmospheric Theatres in the world, the famous cinema was in-fact backdrop to the Peter Jackson remake of King Kong film...and infact our seats were right where King Kong leapt too. Luckily no giant gorilla accompanied us tonight, but instead the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
The cinema is a true visual delight with grand doorways, a star-filled ceiling with floating clouds, animal inspired boxes and and statues, twisted columns and seated Buddhas. (Unfortunately the pictures do not do it justice - photographs were not allowed so these blurry couple have been lifted off the net instead!) But what took place onscreen was rather special aswell. Born in the days of films oozing with sound, colour and special effects I must admit that I dont think I've ever fully sat down and watched a lengthy silent film. My mind was skeptical as to whether my attention span would last the duration of the films.
But quite to my surprise five minutes in I didnt even question the lack of sound, and found myself fully involved in the plot. Nowadays films play on underacting and realism, and these two films were delightfully over-acted and expressive. And I found myself laughing out loud...something which modern films find hard to muster from an audience. It really was not difficult to understand how Hitchcock and Chaplin are two of films greatest makers.
A truly special Sunday.
To read Dominic's review of the experience for the New Zealand Herald, and many more of the entire festival click here :