The way we access our entertainment is always changing; it can be hard to keep up.
I certainly feel that way. I find it increasingly difficult to know what new music is being released and what new films are out there.
Of course, like many people in the Tauranga area, I get terrible internet service. Yes, it’s sad to report that this is still a huge problem in the Bay. We have hills and are spread out. And we seem to be a low priority, just as we are for highway improvement.
It is a little baffling. Tiny towns of one dairy and a horse paddock now have ultra-fast broadband, yet I know people living within five minutes of State Highway 2 here who are still classed as “extreme rural”.
At The Watusi Country Club, we’ve come to accept that although there is an information superhighway tantalisingly close, we in the lower Kaimais are living on a small no-exit off-ramp with little by way of roadside amenities and frequent speed bumps.
It’s better than it was, but the speed limit makes streaming television content a constant challenge. Even watching YouTube can be a trial.
And I seem to have gone off on a tangent...
Hard to find
My point was that with the demise of any central hub – for instance a music shop or video store – it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with what’s out there. Sure, there are, for movies, a dozen or so streaming services. But that means new movies are split over several platforms. Even if you know a film exists, it can be hard to find.
This is particularly true of what you might call “art movies”. By this I mean foreign films - things without superheroes or wizards and probably with subtitles - though there’re also a lot of good obscure indie films from America that 90 per cent of people never hear about. I don’t know the solution...
However, a good start is to check out the Tauranga Film Society.
The Film Society offers several valuable things. Firstly, you get to see films on the big screen (yes, as much as we love Netflix, this is how films are meant to be seen), and you get to hang out and talk about them afterwards.
As Film Society President Michael O’Brien says: “We like to think of our film screenings as being social events, as well as cultural ones.” With that in mind, some members always go out for a meal later and mull over what they’ve seen.
They’re keen to add new members, and the Rialto cinema is a convenient, comfortable and very supportive home base. Members also get discounted ticket prices for the International Film Festival, and with the “new film season” starting at the end of this month, it’s a good time to join.
How it works is this: the society shows films every second Wednesday at 6pm. It costs $90 to join and watch the season’s 17 films. If you join in the middle of a season, your membership lasts into the next one for a full 17 films. If you’re uncertain, there’s a “3 for 30” sampler - any three films for $30.
Best of all, the society shows a superb range of films - things that you might be unable to see anywhere else. It’s not just some random selection, these are films that are admired and have been curated especially.
There are foreign films, such as Zama (which featured on many critics’ Top 10 lists for 2018), Lady Macbeth from England, Swedish comedy A Man Called Ove, documentaries including Faces Places and The Paris Opera, and dives into the past with early Aki Kaurismaki (Ariel) and Terry Gilliam (Brazil). Add in black and white classics – such as 1936 screwball comedy My Man Godfrey and the indefinably brilliant 1959 film Hiroshima Mon Amour from French director Alan Resnais – and you have a programme loaded with goodies.
You can just rock up and join before any film, with the first one being Brazil on March 27, and of course details are online. Find out more at: www.nzfilmsociety.org.nz/tauranga.html