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NZ Film Festival: Gordonia


Wed 25 Aug 2010, 8:15pm

Where: Lido Cinema, Centre Place, 501 Victoria St, Hamilton, Waikato

Restrictions: All Ages

Filmmaker Tom Reilly discovered the ‘secret Westie kingdom of Gordonia’ when he needed a part for his car and someone sent him to Graham Gordon’s European Car Parts. There, in the middle of the Waitakere rainforest, he found acres of wrecked cars and a population of refugees from the dismantled health system living in ramshackle dwellings.

Gordon, it turned out, had had people living on his land for 50 years, but when Reilly turned up, the local council had decided to step in and pull his property into line with a new district scheme. Irresistible force meets old immoveable object: ‘They haven’t the power to tell me what to do on my fucking property at all ever,’ he says, and pity the gentle friend who tries to put him right.

Reilly, an accidental onlooker, was surprised to be enlisted to film the outrages being perpetrated against Gordon and his domain. He has emerged seven years later with a rather less jaundiced but nonetheless deeply sympathetic account. Gordon’s benign (if permanently disgruntled) custodianship of wrecked cars and ragged outcasts, plus his total refusal to recognise council authority, add up to a picture of righteousness that might render any bureaucrat apoplectic. — BG

“Council nemesis, freedom fighter and social revolutionary; Graham Gordon is one of the unique characters of the Waitakere Ranges. Gordonia is the story of his kingdom of junk and used cars, populated by the homeless, disenfranchised and discarded. It is also a breathtaking and heartfelt account of humanity at its raw and confronting best. The West has never been wilder than in this beautifully crafted documentary.” — Mayor Bob Harvey

Director: Tom Reilly
Year: 2008
Running time: 80 mins

Producer/Photography: Tom Reilly
Editors: Tom Reilly, Roger Yeaxley
Music: Billy TK Senior

With: Graham Gordon, Randal Wilson, Shane Campbell, Jeanae Gordon, Brodie Andrews, James Harvey, Mervin Hellyer, Martin Lush, Rod Haywood, Billy TK Senior, Sue Riley, Wally Thomas, Bob Harvey

Restaurants to book near NZ Film Festival: Gordonia