Howling at the Film Festival

It’s film festival time in Wellington (yay!) and as usual, we are spoilt for choice. So far I’ve seen Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work – a great doco about that ground-breaking comedienne; The Illusionist – a fabulous animated film about the friendship between a French magician and a naive young Scottish woman who thinks his magic is real (based on script by Jacques Tati); and, yesterday, the wonderful HOWL.

Photo from MDCarchives, Wikimedia Commons

HOWL is a great mix of the (acted) original performance of Allen Ginsberg’s poem in 1955, the story of his life around that time and the writing of the poem, a re-enactment of the obscenity trial (featuring Madmen‘s Jon Hamm) and an animation of the poem. Very well done. I could easily watch it again. It’s on again in Wellington tomorrow (Sunday 25th July) if you missed it.

And we have our tickets for next week’s Sam Hunt: Purple Balloon and other Stories which will be a nice lead-in to National Poetry Day (Friday 30th July). Loads going on – click here for the details Wellington has (amongst other things) a couple of open mics (Museum of City & Sea and the Newtown Public Library) and an interesting sounding event at Betty’s Bar in Blair St, from 8pm. Can’t wait!


  1. Kay said “HOWL” was very good, but for this FF, I am sticking to one genre only: films about mid-70s pre-punk bands who broke up under the pressure of early success & clashing personalities. Seen so far: Oil City Confidential, about Dr Feelgood and their home base of Canvey Island – that was really good. To come: The Runaways.

  2. I’m really truly a converted fan of Joan. I saw her movie a few days ago and it completely changed the way that I see her, as a performer and a person. I’d have to say that it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen, documentary or otherwise.

  3. I enjoyed The Runaways a lot. (I think Kay did too.) The first half of the film is very good – the second half not quite so good, but what carries it through is the great music, and even more so, the excellent performances. Kristen Stewart in particular is terrific as Joan Jett.

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