Rosemary Riddell: "For me, the film's themes include a
strong sense of redemption and of hope."
Actor, director, family law specialist and now a district
court judge, Rosemary Riddell has witnessed plenty of drama.
Yet her latest project, film The Insatiable Moon, has
provided her with challenges both personal and professional.
The metamorphosis of her husband Mike's 1997 novel into a
film of the same name has been an exercise in patience.
It also reflects the passion required to steer an initial
vision beyond some substantial financial hurdles, notably the
New Zealand Film Commission's decision last year not to
support the producers' application for a significant grant
(originally, the film's budget was around $6 million), a move
which prompted the collapse of other funding streams.
All the more satisfying then that the world premiere of
The Insatiable Moon should attract a full house at the
New Zealand International Film Festival at Sky City Theatre
on July 17 - the first show in the festival to sell out.
"There were about 700 people and we got a standing ovation.
Ian Mune stars as Norm and Ray Woolf as Roger in 'The
"It was a totally unexpected reaction," Riddell reflects.
The Insatiable Moon stars Rawiri Paratene (Whale
Rider) as Arthur, a psychiatric patient with intriguing
insights into the human condition.
Self-proclaimed second son of God, the man brings wonder and
hope to his urban life, accompanied by a group of friends,
including alcoholic Norm (played by Ian Mune), foul-mouthed
boarding-house manager Bob (Greg Johnson) and fragile
community worker Margaret (Sara Wiseman), who falls for the
Arthur sees a chance to prove his heavenly credentials when
real-estate developers threaten to close his boarding house
and he preaches a vision of a just and caring society before
his psychiatric maladies grow stronger, prompting doctors to
sedate him, a course of action that ultimately kills him.
"The book was set in a time when mental health institutions
were being closed down and people were being relocated into
the community," Riddell explains.
Rawiri Paratene as Arthur. Photos supplied.
"The people in the boarding house represent that sector
of society - they are marginalised.
"It's not a pitying look at them. This is who they are.
"They have some extraordinary wisdom within their
"I don't want it to be seen as a film of various lessons or
morals people can learn.
"It is entertainment, with a twist.
"For me, the film's themes include a strong sense of
redemption and of hope.
"Another thing - and this is something I see in my job as a
judge - is that there is a very strong public backlash about
sentencing, that throw-away-the-key mentality.