Filmmaker Gerard Smyth turns his camera on Alun Bollinger, whose own camera has been informing the way we New Zealanders see ourselves for almost 40 years. Geoff Murphy's Goodbye Pork Pie, Vincent Ward's Vigil, Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures and Gaylene Preston's Perfect Strangers, amongst his many credits, are superbly photographed films by any standard and each of them carries the distinctive signature of its director. All four auteurs express their admiration here and impart some flavour of the crucial collaborations involved, starting with the difficulty of ever luring the man they all call AlBol away from his South Island West Coast home.
AlBol, meanwhile, discusses creativity as if it's a mere matter of practicality enlivened by the occasional flash of ingenuity. Smyth's portrait of the artist as unassuming alt-lifestyle Kiwi bloke is also a valentine to the four decades of marriage that began after AlBol and Helen - HelBol - had known each other exactly three days. Existing admirers should be delighted by Smyth's tribute, and the unfamiliar captivated. (New Zealand International Film Festival 2009)