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New Zealand, 1995 (MIFF 1995, Documentaries)

Director: Gaylene Preston

"You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things apply..."

If there is one thing that Gaylene Preston's new film tells us about the experiences of women in World War Two—it's that those oft-sung 'fundamentals' are actually hard to identify. In War Stories (Our Mothers Never Told Us), grand narratives are evident only for their conspicuous absence. 'The War' becomes not unlike the absorbent black velvet curtain that fills Preston's frame-a backdrop against which some seven women's personal stories might momentarily shimmer in a belated but timely retelling.

Emerging from research Preston conducted for last year's festival fave, Bread and Roses, this documentary is both an intimate portrait of indi­vidual hardship and a quiet insight into the asperities of intimacy itself. One by one Pamela, Flo, Tui, Jean, Rita, Neva and Mabel confess the details of loves lost and found and maybe lost again,- of lives spent in regret or in spite of it. For some of them, there is pain in the remembrance of what would rather be forgotten. For others, the very act of revelation is an uncomfortable moment of confrontation, a visible battlefield in a narrative no man's land locked somewhere between introspection and retrospection.

See also...


“A classic New Zealand story, perfectly told.” - New Zealand Herald ... On his way home from rugby practice, Ed Preston joined the New Zealand army. He promised his pregnant wife Tui he'd be home ... More »


Versatile director Gaylene Preston (Mr Wrong, Ruby And Rata) has managed to wend her bending way through yet another genre, bringing us one of the notable 'biopics' of this year's festival. Bread And ... More »


After suffering a long-winded sales pitch, Meg buys a Jaguar that will help her make the regular visit to her parents in the country. Meg. however, soon realises that the car is haunted by a ghost ... More »


Gaylene Preston, a past Festival guest with her last film Mr Wrong, is still going strong and we're pleased to welcome her back with the beguiling Ruby and Rata. ... 83 year-old Ruby (played by the ... More »


When Melanie (Rachael Blake, Lantana, MIFF 2001) goes home from the pub with the best looking bloke (Sam Neill) there, she is more than pleased with herself. After a night of revelry, she passes out ... More »


In 1978, New Zealander Kerry Hamill and two friends aboard the yacht Foxy Lady took shelter from a storm, accidentally straying into in Cambodian waters. ... One man was shot dead when the boat was ... More »

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