Pietra Brettkelly’s A Flickering Truth Opens in NZ
When New Zealand-born director Pietra Brettkelly visited Afghanistan in 2012 she heard tell of a secret film archive, constructed during Taliban rule to protect the country’s old films from being destroyed by the regime. Brettkelly, who has made over 50 documentaries including the acclaimed Maori Boy Genius, talked her way into visiting the archive and the result is The Flickering Truth, which has just opened in New Zealand cinemas.
Brettkelly, a former journalist, says the archives have about 8000 hours of film made in the last 100 years.
“Every day that we went [to the archives, those there] would just sort of pull films out of the rubble … and they’d thread them into the machines, and we’d either see something extraordinary or they’d dissolve.
“In one of the films, it was black and white, and somebody said, does anybody recognise anything here? I said, well that’s the Champs-Elysées in Paris … and then somebody else said, well that’s the Tsar of Russia.
“It was this magical journey where each day we didn’t know what films would be revealed.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Deborah Young praised A Flickering Truth, describing it as “a documentary not just for archivists, but for those who see film as a vital part of local culture.”
Original article by Sarah Illingworth, The Huffington Post, August 29, 2016.