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May 25, 2009 | by  | in Film |
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Trouble is my Business


If there is one thing that New Zealand filmmakers can do, it is small-scale intimate personal profile documentaries. There seems to be something in the water heater out in our fair isles that has no other effect but to make us want to point cameras at people for extended periods of time and then cut that down to about 80-snazz-filled minutes. It seems to be a rather preternatural problem that such emphasis is placed on our post-apocalyptically emotionally stunted fiction features at such a cost to our thriving and vibrant non-fiction movies. But, if ever there was a film to convert people from the dark side of our fiction to white knight of our fact it is Trouble is my Business.

Trouble is the story of the wonderfully named Gary Peach, assistant principal at Aorere College in South Auckland. In charge of student behavior, the man they call Peachy is a heavy-handed enforcer of the rules, going so far as to roam the school with megaphone in hand, demanding students pick up litter and return to class. He is not however a monster. It becomes very clear very quickly that he is doing this out of love. Out of care for these students, who, being at such a low socio-economic edge, are at real risk of moving into crime or worse. Over Trouble‘s 82-or-so minute running time we see stories of several of his students. This gives a nice narrative shape to the work, shot over a year. At the same time it causes the film to focus a bit too much on the man and not the issues obviously under discussion. This film would be a great platform for discussion, especially around ideas like how bulk funding has created large class and racial divides in the education sector. This slight blindness to the issues is the only real strike against this well made, articulate work.

Directed by Juliette Veber
At the Paramount from 28 May 2009

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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