The Waimate Conspiracy
Cast: Jim Moriarty, David McPhail, Mark Hadlow
Very entertaining, often hilarious, no-budget mock documentary about a fictional land rights claim.
When Maori in Waimate hear that a farmer is subdividing and selling land stolen from them in 1866, they make a claim for it in court bringing only their oral history as evidence. When their case is tossed out they come up with - by various entertaining means - evidence substantial enough to sustain an appeal, even as the farmer does everything in his power to frustrate them.
All this is 'observed' by cameraman Gerard Smythe who is plainly in charge of recording the tangata whenua's struggle for posterity (despite its documentary trappings, the film has no pretensions to evenhandedness) and interspersed with 'talking head' grabs from townspeople on different sides of different fences. The script is given fine service by a great cast, mainly of unknowns, but headed by the always likeable Moriarty and anchored by Hadlow as opposing counsel and McPhail as judge.
"It's an irresistibly enjoyable piece of work that easily transcends it's microscopic budget to make a great contribution to a debate not normally noted for it's levity. Recommended."
**** (Four Stars) Peter Calder NZ Herald
No Petrol, No Diesel!
Cast: Jim Moriarty, Mark Hadlow, David McPhail, Janice Gray
Why is one of the world's biggest corporations trying to buy a dowdy little backwater petrol station? Rex Devlin wouldn't sell Devlin Motors and now all of a sudden he's dead. The police say he fell asleep at the wheel of his car and just failed to take the corner. Then it transpires the guy who was so eager to buy the place is working for Overseas International Liquids, one of the biggest corporations in the world. Oscar Devlin has come all the way from Hollywood to sort out the near bankrupt gas station but things aren't going to be that simple. Things have changed in Temuka over the past ten years. Oscar suspects foul play over Rex's death and he has a fight on his hands with the mysterious Mr Bligh who just won't take no for an answer.
As in his previous film The Waimate Conspiracy, Stef Harris has once again highlighted social issues. In No Petrol, No Diesel! the underlying theme is the starvation of rural communities by the big corporates. Here however the little guy comes out on top. We wouldn't have expected anything else from this superb piece of thought-provoking entertainment, now would we?
"I loved this movie and have already recommended it to friends."