Forgotten Silver
October 28, 2015 10:25 PM   Subscribe

Forgotten Silver tells the story of pioneering filmmaker Colin McKenzie. This legendary New Zealander created the worlds first colour film and first talking film. He created the first tracking shot and captured footage of a pre-Wright brothers flight. This "documentary" made by Peter Jackson & Costa Botes caused a furore in New Zealand when it was released 20 years ago today. Watch the first 10 Minutes for free. Rent or buy here.

Forgotten Silver remembered 20 years on.

Behind the Bull (22m) - Co-director/writers Peter Jackson and Costa Botes talk about the making of (and reaction to) the film.

This resource page contains a number of angry viewer complaints and newspaper articles from Forgotten Silver's aftermath.
posted by Start with Dessert (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
This still stands as one of the best things Jackson ever made. Thanks for the post, can't wait to dig through it all.
posted by rock swoon has no past at 10:28 PM on October 28, 2015


I remember this fondly. Was taken in hook, line & sinker by the story.
posted by Packed Lunch at 10:45 PM on October 28, 2015


Oh god, I remember the furore in the media when this came out. My parents were really angry about it and I thought it was kind of funny.
posted by lollusc at 12:40 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure my mother actually said, with no trace of irony, "If you can't believe the television, then what can you believe?"

I think everyone is so much more sceptical of the media now that it would be unlikely to have a similar reception.
posted by lollusc at 12:41 AM on October 29, 2015


Also available on DVD direct from the Directors website. It's a digitally remastered copy, but lacks the audio commentary of previously released versions.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 4:59 AM on October 29, 2015


I'm surprised at the furor over the film. All the Kiwis I've known would have gotten a good chuckle from the thing.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:34 AM on October 29, 2015


It was better in the original Klingon.
posted by Sequence at 5:53 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Getting Leonard Maltin in full history talking head mode really helps to sell it.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:04 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember when this aired!
It was HILARIOUS!

I watched it with my Nana. It aired on the most staid, newsworthy channel, and was presented as historical. So while as it went on it started getting more and more improbable, we just watched it gape mouthed, all "I can't believe we've never heard of this!", "That's amazing!" (should have said 'fantastic?'), "Truth is stranger than fiction, eh?", "I don't believe it!" and filled with overwrought (unjustified) national pride. I think by the end of it I was pretty suspicious, but the adults said it was truth(y).

The reaction the next day on talkback radio (which my Nana always left on), was the best bit.
It'd be like if BBC, or someone equally staid, just aired fake news during the 6 o'clock. People finding it hilarious art, other people pointing out they'd have had no interest in watching a spoof, or annoyed they believed it, etc.
posted by Elysum at 7:54 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Heh, when I read the description, I kept thinking of Len Lye, who WAS an important pioneering filmmaker, an early adopter of color film, and a real dude who totally existed.


Experimental animation is a pretty tough sell, though.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:52 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


It'd be like if BBC, or someone equally staid, just aired fake news during the 6 o'clock.

You mean like that time the BBC magazine show Panorama had a segment on spaghetti farming?
posted by hippybear at 9:11 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]



It'd be like if BBC, or someone equally staid, just aired fake news during the 6 o'clock.

You mean like that time the BBC magazine show Panorama had a segment on spaghetti farming ?


I'm partial to Ghostwatch myself.
posted by infinitelives at 9:41 AM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


All the Kiwis I've known would have gotten a good chuckle from the thing.

New Zealanders tend to be perceived, and perceive themselves, as being "laid back", "sweet as bro" jokers. It's a far more conformist, narrow-minded place than that.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:31 PM on October 29, 2015


You mean like that time the BBC magazine show Panorama had a segment on spaghetti farming?

That's what people compared it to a lot at the time. But the counter-argument was that that ran on April Fool's Day, so people were likely to twig to it being a joke pretty quickly. My parents and other angry people at the time said it would have been okay if Forgotten Silver had aired on April 1st.

I think this was more akin to the War of the Worlds broadcast, although if I remember right, that had an announcement beforehand that it was fiction, right? But some people still tuned in late.

I think what made some people especially angry, was that it was playing on people's sense of patriotism and belief that NZ is always a little bit ahead of the rest of the world. Many NZers I know, and I think especially people in the older demographics, hold this belief very strongly. And so when this mockumentary buoyed up this belief and then did a "gotcha", they felt like it was a deliberate attempt to undermine that patriotism (which tbh it probably was, and hence why I find it so funny).

(I might be overly influenced by the fact that my father has just been visiting me in Australia from New Zealand and spent the entire week saying things like, "Bah, beaches? We have better beaches in New Zealand"; "I don't understand the hype: it's just an opera house. Now Te Papa, on the other hand, that's architecture"; and "I can't believe they think they invented the pavlova". )
posted by lollusc at 4:16 PM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


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