NZFF – so much to see, so few hours in the day… DAY 1

So the New Zealand (International) Film Festival kicks off in Wellington today, and we start off our long list of films to see with a doco about Bobby Fischer, the chess master.
I want to try put down some thoughts on all the films we see this year, but to do so, I’ll keep them brief, as work is insanely busy (yay!) and half my time will be spent in dimly lit theatres (yay!).
Bobby Fischer Against the World promises an interesting new look on one of America’s more eccentric 70’s celebrities. Unfortunately it doesn’t live up to the promise. I felt a little like the festival organisers heard about this fascinating doco called “Me and Bobby Fischer” (mentioned in the film) and couldn’t get prints in time so they asked HBO to send over their low-budget made-for-TV doco instead.
The technical quality of the film was somewhat lacking. It deals with a huge amount of archive footage, but archive footage does not need to look so bad. The more recent archive footage looked as bad as the 70s and 60s stock. The recent interviews were all framed and shot in the same style. Dull.
Last year we saw “American: The Bill Hicks Story” which had the same challenges for filmmakers. Lots of archive, lots of talking heads, some beautiful photos and a dead subject. It was a beautifully made film, put together in an interesting way that drew acclaim. Bobby Fischer Against the World was not.
Hopefully the rest of the festival is more promising.
A wee plug here for the Wellington Film Festival – calendar links which Mike and I put together. You can copy them to your own calendar and share them with friends. Super organised fun!

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