All screenings are at Rialto Cinemas on Monday nights at 6:30pmMon 2 March:
Screening: Monday 5 October, 6:30pm
John Reid | New Zealand | 1985
Starring John Gielgud and Jane Birkin
Set in France, an emotional encounter in which the life and relationships of writer Katherine Mansfield are given a new perspective.
On the 7th August 1922, Katherine Masfield wrote to her husband, John Middleton Murry, a "farewell" letter. It contained some cruel accusations against him and ended: "All my manuscripts, books, papers, letters I leave to you. Go through them one day, dear love, publish as little as possible and tear up and burn as much as possible. You know my love of tidiness. Have a clean sweep, Bogey, and leave all fair - will you?"
She deposited the letter in a bank security box with instructions that it be given to her husband in the event of her death.
Five months later, Katherine Mansfield died.
Unknown to Murry, she had also left a copy of the 'last letter' with her French publisher.
Murry went on to build a career and a fortune on releasing for publication - gradually - the huge quantity of letters and journals which were in, or came into, his possession as her literary executor. He was within his legal rights in doing so.
Over the years, the reality of Katherine Mansfield disappears from Murry's mind to be replaced by a vision he manufactures of his late wife as an enchanting and beautiful young girl, talented and tragic, the embodiment of literary romance.
At the end of his life, Murry faces the challenge of the French publisher and his friend, a young New Zealand actress who looks uncannily like Katherine herself. Has been less than scrupulous in so disregarding Katherine's wishes?
It is so long since Murry, returning from Katherine's funeral at the little communal cemetery of Avon-Fontainebleau, read for the first time that 'last letter'. Then, mourning - but relieved by - her death, he was able to justify the years they were together. It was then that, visualising the many scenes she had described to him that were the basis of her stories, he resolved that her life and work would be what he will make of them.
Facing now a challenge he had always feared, Murry justifies having released all her papers and created his vision of her by repeating what he had decided so long ago at her funeral - "...the only thing that matters to me is that she should take her place as one of the most wonderful writers of our time." - NZFC
(90 minutes, colour, 35mm)