The Insatiable Moon(2010)
"Down and out in Ponsonby doesn’t have the ring about it that it had 30 years ago, but The Insatiable Moon makes a colourful dramatic plea for the continued existence of halfway houses in a part of the city better known for curbside dining. A chance encounter between Sara Wiseman’s social worker and charismatic, barefooted self-proclaimed Second Son of God Arthur (Rawiri Paratene) entwines with the fate of the lodgers in a Ponsonby boarding house as real estate agents, TV current affairs, neighbourhood watch, health bureaucrats and a helpless vicar take sides around the underhand campaign to throw them out.... More
Divine madness and down-to-earth compassion are at the heart of producer, and former Ponsonby minister, Mike Riddell’s script. Directed by his partner Rosemary Riddell, The Insatiable Moon’s splendid cast (including Ian Mune) endows the household of psychiatric patients and low-income tenants with individual gnarliness and touching esprit de corps." (New Zealand International Film Festival 2010)Hide
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BY James Croot Flicks Writer
Despite being shorn of almost 95 per cent of its original budget and British actors James Nesbitt and Timothy Spall, The Insatiable Moon is a minor miracle of a movie.... More
Making great use of the sights, people and sounds of Ponsonby and a terrific ensemble cast (headed by an outstanding shiny, happy Paratene), debutant director Rosemary Riddell (whose regular gig is as a district court judge) provides a steady, assured hand on this complex tale of psychiatric life in the brave new world of community care.
And despite universal themes, this is most assuredly a Kiwi tale. Ray Woolf cameos, Ian Mune plays a drunk and Paratene delivers a classic line when directly asked if he is God; "Nah, just a rellie".
If there's a weakness it's in the film's tone – it seems unsure of whether it wants to be fantastical like Phenomenon or K-Pax, a knockabout comedy a la Cosi, or deliver the grim realism seen in The Woodsman or Little Children. But what it lacks in consistency it makes up for in intrigue and characters to care about.Hide
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The Insatiable Moon
Loved this film - one of the best NZ films I've ever seen. Magnificent casting and acting, brilliant story and a real emotional roller coaster. So good to have an intelligent NZ movie that left me thinking for days after. The leads were all wonderful, with a very special performance from Rawiri Paratene, and a gem of a role from Greg Johnson. Hope this film gets the attention it deserves.
Arthur (played by Rawiri Paratene) believes he's the 'second son of God.' He lives in a boarding house with a bunch of other people with mental health issues, and is by far the most outgoing and positive of them all. The story explores whether his ability to... More discern other people's inner turmoils, his belief that God is benevolent to his children, his prophetic words and other insights, are truly charismatic gifts, or merely part of his brain dysfunctions. It challenges us to believe in miracles, in the need for a true belief in God and not just a religious one, and of course, most of all, it challenges us to see people with mental health issues as people loved by God.
The 'villains' of the piece might be a bit too black and white, but they're mostly minor characters: the really interesting people in this movie are those who have a sense of the spiritual and are willing to follow it even if it causes them pain, or requires them to change long-held attitudes.
The scene towards the end, when the suburb of Ponsonby rallies for and against having a boarding house for people with mental health problems in its midst, is the climax, but the more important scene comes earlier, at the funeral of one of the boarding house residents. This is where Arthur comes into his own as a prophetic voice, a man who speaks the words of (first) Son of God.
The other interesting character is the man - Bob - who runs the boarding house: foul-mouthed and short-fused, he nevertheless cares deeply for the men he feeds and cleans up for (seemingly single-handed). This is a vocation for him, rather than a job, although it's unlikely he regards himself as a spiritual man. The 'spiritual' man in the story, the Anglican priest, is at odds with himself and his spiritual life, and seems rather wet by comparison with Bob. It's not that he's meant to represent institutional religion; that would be too simplistic. Rather he's a man in the wrong job, and wisely, by the end of the movie, he's realised it.
Mike Riddell, the author of the original book and the scriptwriter for the movie, doesn't give us all the answers - although he teases us with possible answers at times. His seven years of effort (along with a host of other supporters, including his wife, who directed the movie after the original director had to pull out) in getting this movie off the ground have borne good fruit.Hide
A film of many layers that resonate, very poignant! The funeral and protest meeting scenes were particularly powerful, a moving mixture of humour and illumination. Great characters, an Oscar performance by Rawiri, Sara was great, the boarding house owner was real, the vicar true, and the mad inmates superb! I cried a lot – many messages for ‘those with ears to hear’, a true movie for our times, everyone should go and see it!
A great movie!
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