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Sam Hamilton’s Cosmic Apple Pie

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Still from Sam Hamilton's Apple Pie. Cinematography by Ian Powell. Still from Sam Hamilton's Apple Pie. Cinematography by Ian Powell. Still from Sam Hamilton's Apple Pie. Cinematography by Ian Powell. Still from Sam Hamilton's Apple Pie. Cinematography by Ian Powell.

Ostensibly a science film about quantum physics, the universe (or multiple universes) and ten stellar/planetary properties, but really an amusing series of visual riffs on astronomical structures using friends, bizarre costumes and sci-fi fantasies - mixed in with some New Age mysticism and eco consciousness, and lots of intense 16 mm film and great music.

NZIFF 2016

Event Cinema 6, Auckland

 

Sam Hamilton
Apple Pie

 

Sunday 17 July, 6.00 pm

Ostensibly a science film about quantum physics, the universe (or multiple universes) and ten stellar/planetary properties, but really an amusing series of visual riffs on astronomical structures using friends, bizarre costumes and sci-fi fantasies - mixed in with some New Age mysticism and eco consciousness, and lots of intense 16 mm film and great music.

This trailer and test sample (https://www.circuit.org.nz/film/apple-pie-trailer, https://vimeo.com/128985782) gives an accurate sense of the 70 minute film’s feel and propensity for multiple interpretation. Made in Aotearoa and Samoa, enigmatic and at times admirably uncompromising in its obliqueness, it seems to me there are three highlights:

One is a black and white scene with dramatic lighting and shadows, of two men, one older than the other, with the camera ‘orbiting’ around them. It could be about a teacher / pupil connection, a familial relationship, some collaborative research, or they could be lovers. With their eyes fixed on each other, and long shadows, it is a terrifically intense sequence.

Another is a sequence of three standing (but huddled) figures - sometimes naked, other times clothed - holding mirrors and bathed in garish green/red complementaries and blurry, as if in a 3D movie. The fact that 3D glasses are not provided is a highly ambiguous statement in itself, just as it would be if they were.

A third is a glorious series of images of the revolving night sky, time lapse photographs taken through a telescope. The resulting (very intricate) concentric circles seem like some Ralph Hotere paintings from 1968, but much finer, fuller, and even more rivetting.

Apple Pie (the title comes from a throw away quip about matter by Carl Sagan) is pretty dense in its juxtaposed tropes, and probably suits an art gallery environment as opposed to that of a picture theatre, so that it is a continuous loop you can easily re-explore. You need to be able to casually walk in and out of a highly experiential, sensual film like this, rather than sit in a theatre and cling to a linear progression that provides ‘scientific analysis’ and ‘authorial meaning.’ Okay…erm, maybe it is both. Worth checking out if you get the chance.

John Hurrell

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