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WELLINGTON FILM SOCIETY
Monday 13 April 6.15
Memberships available before the screening.
Desk opens 5.45pm.
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (Lewis Milestone, USA 1930) PG
Lacking any gestures toward patriotism or glory, any exploitation of spectacle, Milestone's film remains one of the boldest statements ever made against the cruelty and futility of war. In Germany, 1917, seven enthusiastic schoolboys leave their village to enlist in the army. Brutalized and disillusioned in training, they are posted to the French front, where further horrors await them. Then, further disillusionments: the soldier home on leave is now a stranger. Begun as a silent, the film contains extraordinary tracking shots that have often been taken for ‘actuality’ footage; some overtly pacifist material was cut soon after release. This restoration brings this important film back to audiences in a version closer to the original than at any time since 1931.
- Judy Bloch, Pacific Film Archive.
NZ OPERA SOCIETYJay Hunter Morris – Captain Ahab; Stephen Costello – Greenhorn Morgan Smith – Starbuck Jonathan Lemalu – Queequeg Talise Trevigne – Pip Robert Orth – Stubb Matthew O’Neill – Flask Joo Won Kang – Captain Gardner Carmichael Blankenship – Tashtego Bradley Kynard – Daggoo Chester Piddick – Nantucket Sailor Anders Froehlich – Spanish Sailor
Director – Leonard Foglia Conductor – Patrick Summers San Francisco Opera 2012 2hrs 22’
7.15 Monday 27 April MOBY DICK
Jake Heggie’s 2010 opera has been doing the rounds of American opera companies to great acclaim for both the opera and the production. Written to open the new Winspear Opera House in Dallas the opera was a co-production between Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Calgary Opera and the State Opera of South Australia. This performance was filmed in San Francisco with many of the original cast including Jonathan Lemalu and Talise Travigne seen here recently in the New Zealand Opera production of La bohème in Christchurch. This opera has all the hallmarks of being a 21st Century classic.
Synopsis: The entire action of the opera takes place aboard the whaling ship Pequod.
Act One: The ship has been at sea for a week. The harpooner Queequeg wakes Greenhorn, a new hand. As dawn breaks three other crewmen Stubbs, Starbuck and Flask discuss the captain, Ahab, whom no one has seen since the ship set sail.
Ahab appears and tell the crew of the great white whale Moby Dick who attacked the ship and took one of Ahab’s legs. He nails a golden doubloon to the mast and promises it to the first man to spot the whale. This is the real reason they have sailed. Starbuck confronts the captain about what he sees as a futile mission.
Starbuck instructs Greenhorn about whaling and soon spots a pod of whales but Ahab forbids the crew to hunt them. From the crow’s nest Queequeb and Greenhorn look over the world while Starbuck bemoans Ahab’s madness.
Three months later. Without a single whale hunt, Stubb jokes with the cabin boy, Pip, about the sharks circling the ship. A song ignites a dance among the crew which erupts into a fight. When Greenhorn sights a pod of whales Starbuck persuades Ahab to let the men hunt. During the hunt Flask’s boat overturns and Pip is thrown overboard.
As a whale is being butchered on the deck Flask tell Ahab that a search in underway for Pip. Starbuck complains that too many barrels are leaking oil and that the ship should return to port for repairs but Ahab is only concerned about finding the great white whale, turning a gun on the crewman. A shout alerts them to the fact that Pip has been found. Ahab orders Starbuck away.
Greenhorn describes to the crew how Queequeg found the cabin boy.
In the captain’s cabin Starbuck holds Ahab’s gun over his sleeping figure trying to decide whether to kill the captain so that the crew might return home and see their families again. Ahab cries out in his sleep and Starbuck returns the gun and leaves.
Act Two:
A year later. A storm is brewing while the crew sing a jolly song. Greenhorn and Queequeg are talking about the younger man visiting Queequeg’s island when he suddenly collapses. Queequeg says he is dying and asks for a coffin to be built. The storm hits. The masts glow with St Elmo’s Fire which Ahab takes as a sign from heaven guiding them to the great white whale.
The next morning the ship has survived the storm. Another ship has approached and her captain asks Ahab to help them search for his son who has been lost in the storm. Pip, who’s gone mad and tells the other captain about their own lost boy. Ahab refuses to help and sails away.
Greenhorn contemplates Queequeg’s coffin and muses on madness. Meanwhile Ahab tells Starbuck of his forty years at sea and all that he has lost. Starbuck persuades Ahab to return to port.
Just then Ahab sights Moby Dick on the horizon, they give chase during which two of the long boats are destroyed. The whale then sinks the Pequod killing all aboard. Ahab, alone with the whale stabs him before being dragged down in to the water.
Days later the captain of the other ship finds Greenhorn afloat on Queequeg’s coffin.