WW1 musical film experience comes to Wellington Museum
A centerpiece of last year’s World War 1 commemorations returns to Wellington tonight.
No Man’s Land, a 70-minute cinema and musical experience, premiered as part of the New Zealand Festival.
The 150 musicians from 25 countries on both sides of the conflict were filmed at the Western, Eastern and Mediterranean fronts.
It screens at the Wellington Museum following a performance by New Zealand band The Nudge, who were in the project.
Museum events programmer Ben James says the scale of the project draws him to it.
“The amount of organisation to complete this project overwhelms me.”
He says bringing the work to the museum was an obvious choice.
“The movie is historically a great tool, unlocking old imagery of the families left behind during WW1.
“It relates almost directly to musicians leaving home to perform this composition on the historic battle fronts of World War I.”
There is one change to the performance from last year.
In No Man’s Land, international performances at former battle fronts were projected alongside a live seven-piece ensemble, creating a virtual global orchestra.
Tonight the ensemble is part of the feature film.
Composer of the work, John Psathas is the professor of composition at the NZ School of Music at Victoria University.
In an interview last year for SOUNZ Centre for NZ Music , Psathas says he wrote the work to bring people from opposing sides of the war together in what he calls “one of the healthiest contexts we have as human beings.”
“Music making allows a certain kind of togetherness and sharing, that not many other things do,” says Psathas.
After successfully applying for the Lottery Grants Board World War I Commemorative Fund, Psathas built a team of photographers, musicians, and producers, including director Jasmine Millet and cinematographer Mathew Knight, to create the No Man’s Land experience.
Iraia Whakomoe, member of The Nudge, says the work is an opportunity to be human.
“Something incredible in the common voice of music is that without even knowing we can break down walls, social and religious boundaries, and expectations.
“We can break down and strip away negative feelings and emotions, and we can for a brief moment embrace and enjoy the uniqueness of what makes us human.”
Tonight the doors open at 6.30pm, The Nudge play at 7pm, and the film starts at 7.30pm. Entry is koha.