Strong wine for developed palettes. This is one vintage you will not want to miss
Disclaimer: I have not read the Elizabeth Knox book Nikki Caro's film The Vintner's Luck is based on so can not make a comparison - which given that films are not books, might be a good thing. Films are creations with their own forces. Nikki Caro did not engage in the arduous process of making a film simply to channel Knox or to realize Knox on screen. She is here to create her own vision. This is what all artists do.
It is rather ironic that at the same time Vintner's Luck is undergoing a national reaming in New Zealand we are also attacking Witi Ihimaera's so-called plagiarism. And yet when Nikki Caro dares to bring her own vision to the screen she is lambasted for not plagiarizing enough.
Her film is layered and complex as any story of a relationship between an angel and a man would be, even more so as the film is grappling with bigger issues of morality and mortality.
If Nikki is guilty of anything it is her attempt to make the Knox novel comprehensible and accessible to a wide audience. To cynics like me who find the idea of fleshy angels simply silly, the film balances that feathery conundrum perfectly. Especially as it seems that all the criticism revolves around this one thing the intangible and problematic issue of man and angels. It's a relationship portrayed in art from earliest times. And it's intensely personal; especially for Knox fans - who it seems - will be satisfied by nothing less than full-on feather sex. Is it the thwarting of their inner voyeurs that has unleashed this storm? In fact by not staying too close to the Knox book, by in some ways separating the angel and the man and allowing the man to form an (albeit conflicted) bond with an earth bound woman the angelic relationship becomes more believable, more symbolic of our human struggle with desire. And that's something I can understand: after all, are we not all in lifelong relationships with our angels as we grapple with the sensual, the sacred and the profane in search of our perfect vintage? Don't be put of by the jaundiced reviews in New Zealand: Vintner's Luck, the movie, is strong wine for developed palettes. This is one vintage you will not want to miss, whether or not you believe in angels. Sumner Burstyn, NZ, firstname.lastname@example.org
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