Friday, July 30, 2010

Sam Hunt: Purple Balloon and other Stories

Sam Hunt is a rarity - a New Zealander who has managed to make a living from poetry. He's a household name and he's close to the nation's heart, despite that incredibly upper-class voice. Even though Kiwis aren't very tolerant of difference, I guess we can forgive being a poet and sounding posh if the poet determinedly takes his poetry to every corner of the country and the poet doesn't look posh and is fond of a drink (or three). And I guess we like the consistency of the shaggy haircut, the aviator sunglasses, the stovepipe trousers and the way a Sam Hunt poem sounds

Purple Balloon gives us a bit of a look at the man behind the image and it's fascinating stuff. He didn't talk til he was four. He's been writing poetry forever. His big brothers are apparently as unimpressed by his achievements as only older siblings can be. This national icon is actually very shy person. He struggles with alcohol.

The film gives us a mix of Sam talking to camera, a selection of other iconic Kiwis talking about Sam, Sam's family talking about Sam and a huge variety of archival footage including clips of poetry performances, old TV interviews, and even Jon Gadsby impersonating Sam. The New Zealand landscape features, particularly the Pauatahunui inlet.

I could happily watch this film again. The film-makers were at the screening and it seems they may make further films about Sam Hunt which would be something to look forward to.

Anne's rating: 4/5

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