The Red House

The Red House

(2012)

New Zealand-made romantic drama about a couple in their senior years and of different ethnicities (Kiwi and Chinese), being forced apart by family duties. Winner of Best Self-Funded Film at the 2012 NZ Film Awards.... More

"Lee is a seasoned activist, still applying his highlighter to the nasty hooks in local planning documents. Jia was a refugee from post-Tiananmen China when they met 20 years ago, barely understanding a word of each other’s languages. Now duty calls Jia back to China and her aged parents. We travel with the couple between his world (an island in the Hauraki Gulf), this city of hers, and the world they have made together – their red house in the bush, crammed full of books and mementoes." (New Zealand International Film Festival 2012)

This is writer/director Alyx Duncan's first feature, developed at a two month artist residency in Beijing and with the support of the Berlinale Talent Campus.Hide

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Flicks Review

Alyx Duncan’s gracefully assured debut feature The Red House is not just one of the best films about cross-cultural romances I’ve seen in a while, it’s also one of the most deeply romantic - period. ... More

Casting her real-life 60-something parents, Lee Stuart and Meng Jia, at the centre of this fictionalised story, Duncan captures an unspoken closeness between two people that cannot be manufactured through performance. There’s something pure and human about their unaffected presence that allows us to understand - or more so, feel - their bond, and see how they’ve been able to overcome social barriers such as language and culture over the years. 

The sliver of a narrative - Jia returning to China to care for her ailing parents, while Lee, an environmental activist, joins her later - is expounded with hushed intimacy as the pair, often in voice-over, ruminate on their relationship. Shot over a period of three years, the exquisite cinematography - credited to four different people, including Duncan herself - impresses in its unity of vision. From the comforting, tucked-away idyll of their home in the Hauraki Gulf to the hypnotic, Edward Burtynsky-esque otherworldliness of noisy industrial development in China, Duncan demonstrates a seasoned documentarian’s eye for place and detail.

Modest, meditative and rewarding in a way that Kiwi films rarely are, The Red House pulls the viewer into a world where love and landscape collide in a constant state of flux, negotiation, and mystery.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 2 ratings, 2 reviews
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BY Ponyboy lister

This film is slow and meditative in its pace but well worth the watch for a rewarding experience. Alex Duncan is clearly very talented and I can't wait to see what she does next.


BY freshdude superstar

NZ cinema is so underrated, and especially by New Zealanders, but the truth is: this country has so many talented film makers. When I read reviews of New Zealand films by New Zealand writers it always seems to be short of miracle that a film made here could be any good. Considering the list of truly great NZ films we've had in the past few years (The Strength Of Water, Matariki, Boy, The Most Fun You Can Have Dying, As It Is In Heaven, ...) maybe it's time to come to terms with the fact that NZ... More cinema is actually GOOD (and I'm talking genuine NZ films, not Hollywood blockbusters shot as an ad campaign for tourism New Zealand, Hobbit anyone?)

With her first feature Alyx Duncan confirm the good health of local cinema. A quiet, contemplative drama shot beautifully in a documentary style. It is all that critics are saying: moving, eloquent, insightful, refreshing, contemplative, simple and more.
If you love world cinema, you ought to see it.Hide


The Press Reviews

80% of critics recommend.
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The Talk
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