The Insatiable Moon
- Miles Fielder
- 2 March 2011
New Zealand romance with mental illness themes can't quite reach the Cuckoo's Nest
It’s no surprise that this uplifting comic drama from New Zealand, which is set in a home for the mentally ill, features a charismatic but unstable protagonist and mixes social realism with religious parable, has been proclaimed One Flew Over the Kiwi’s Nest. Rawiri Paratene (Whale Rider) plays Arthur, the self-proclaimed Second Son of God who presides over a motley crew of misfits in a boarding house for the mentally ill and homeless that’s threatened with closure. Following a sexual liaison with a troubled community worker (Sara Wiseman) Arthur becomes increasingly deluded, but even as the doctors drug him into submission his vision for a caring society appears to be coming to fruition.
Husband/wife writer/director team Mike and Rosemary Riddell’s low-budget film (adapted by former Baptist preacher Mike from his own novel and directed by Rosemary while moonlighting from her day job as a judge) doesn’t pack the allegorical and cinematic clout of Ken Kesey’s book and Milos Forman’s film, but it’s energised, thoughtful and charming. And it benefits from a sure sense of place (small town Ponsonby, where Riddell once preached) and a decent cast of relative unknowns.
GFT, Glasgow, Fri 25–Sun 27 Mar; Hippodrome, Bo’ness Wed 27–Thu 28 Apr; Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, Thu 28–Sat 30 Apr; Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre, Dumfries, Tue 21–Wed 22 Jun.