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Big Questions

by Mitchell's Here

A father struggles to answer his daughter's questions.


I absolutely love teams that make something visually distinctive in 48 Hours, and whilst Mitchell's Here nail that with a super interesting comic book panel approach, what knocked me out of the park with this film was the raw emotional weighting of the film, achieved through nuance and believable subject matter.

The script here is so good as a cheesy dad and his questioning daughter grow together over silliness; a password by the 'cave troll' to enter the car for after school pickup, whilst figurative, being uniquely private for this close knit family of 2 I felt was a particularly great use of the required elements.

When I say the script is so good it's very much what isn't said that carries the film. The response to his little angel asking if she would grow old and showing that the dad was just staying strong, keeping it together for her was seriously powerful stuff.

The inner turmoil broken path visuals was just the icing on the cake.

Through making the film black and what and not parlaying in any particular visual extravagance from a materialistic or setting point of view, I strongly got the vibe the team was telling us that these 2 may not have much, but they have each other.

Voice acting was also terrific I must add. Loved it.

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Severely disappointed to see this film take home the win. Yes, formally great, Ok. However, in times of climate emergency and severe ecological threat, the narrative of this film felt exceptionally naive. Again, we are seeing the age-old trope of individual change and micro-action (in this case, walking instead of driving to school) offer a cathartic solution to the enormous issues of climate change. I am not suggesting we abandon our duties to the planet, but many of us are sick of seeing moral messages that shove ecological responsibility onto those with minimal means to make any substantial difference.

The fact that soft-ecological-solution-porn takes the top prize for NZ’s largest film competition worries many of us. The judges, whether they like it or not, are cultural curators, determining the fate of filmmaking and the way political issues are advanced on-screen. Why are they rewarding the exact mediocre solutions the state has advanced for the last decade? Have we not learned that we need to do more than what this film advocates? Where are the radical filmmakers? Has this competition weened them out?

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