UTU REDUX - special two-week season — 06.11.13

Following on from its recent acclaimed NZ International Film Festival tour, Icon Geoff Murphy's UTU REDUX is having a special-event two-week season in selected cinemas, starting on November 21.

Producers say the special-event two-week season of Utu Redux will be the last chance to see the full visual impact and dynamic energy of this re-mastered "modern masterpiece" on the big screen.

The groundbreaking and lasting quality of Geoff Murphy's work was recently recognised by the Arts Foundation awarding him an Icon Award , making him one of New Zealand's 20 greatest living artists.

UTU REDUX is the digitally re-mastered 2013 version of Geoff Murphy's classic 1983 UTU. It has a re-mixed stereo 5:1 soundtrack and the storytelling has been enhanced by the editing of about 10 minutes overall. Murphy says he and editor Michael Horton found "more elegant ways of doing things" second time around.

NZIFF director Bill Gosden says, "UTU is unveiled afresh in its ravishing, pictorial splendour. Here it is, our own turbulent history transcribed with cinematic élan - and an elegiac, absurdist vision of the devil's mischief in paradise."

UTU is set in 1870's New Zealand: Te Wheke (Anzac Wallace), a scout for the colonial troops, finds his tribe massacred by the army he is working for. Anguished and betrayed, he vows to exact retribution - utu - on the Pakeha.

UTU has for many years been studied in schools and film courses. During this 2-week cinema release, it is available for educational groups to make block bookings or private hires by contacting their local cinema.

Feedback from a group that recently hired it for a special screening: "Our roopu thought the redux o te UTU was absolutely magnificent, epic, timeless . . . they were just stunned by its mauri (life force)." - Victoria University School of Maori Studies.

UTU inspired many of the current generation of filmmakers like Mt Zion writer/director Tearepa Kahi, who says, simply, "UTU changed my life," and can quote from it line-by-line from repeated viewings since his childhood.

Among the many positive reviews UTU REDUX received in the NZIFF, was entertainer Mika, who posted on thedailyblog: "Tarantino before Tarantino: Humour amongst the hideousness of war, racism and sexual rebellion are all rampant  . . . this UTU is a completely new experience . . . some, having seen the grainy mashed-up version on TV, might feel a tad apprehensive about going to see it again. Don't be. You will be amazed at how ahead of its time it was, and how relevant it is today".

Sunday Star Times reviewer Sarah Watt said, "this vibrantly restored masterpiece is absolutely worth (re)visiting. . . .

In the Listener, Helene Wong noted the technical details: "The improved quality also highlights the close-range work. This was the first local production to use the Steadicam, and there's fluidity, immersion and an urgent restlessness to the bush action sequences - plus a lively mobility when dodging about among the director's trademark explosions. . . . . enough Maori and Murphy humour to get locals chuckling."

The drama of UTU REDUX made blogger Hugh Lily's Festival: " . . . the terrific restoration of Utu, the closing speech of which was the most moving two minutes I experienced all festival."

UTU REDUX credits:
Starring: Anzac Wallace, Bruno Lawrence, Wi Kuki Kaa, Kelly Johnson, Tim Elliot, Tania Bristowe, Ilona Rodgers, Martyn Sanderson

Directed by Geoff Murphy. Producers: Redux Graeme Cowley, Utu Don Blakeney, David Carson-Parker, Kerry Robins. Editor Michael Horton. Photography Graeme Cowley. Production Designer Ron Highfield. Music John Charles. Screenplay Geoff Murphy & Keith Aberdein.

UTU REDUX was funded by: the initial equity partners in the production of the original film, the NZ Film Commission, NZ Film Archive and Park Road Post Production, which also did all the technical restoration work. The offline edit was done at The Dub Shop and digital scanning by Weta Digital.

Image:  Bruno Lawrence