Almost a decade since his last film (Charlie’s Country, NZIFF 2014), Rolf de Heer returns with The Survival of Kindness, a film which demonstrates the director’s allegorical command of the recent pastand future.
Relationships, clarity of vision and an element of surrendering to dreamtime allow for these types of cinematic displays to come to life without artifice. The Survival of Kindness is largely dialogue free and features a stunning and translucent performance by Mwajemi Hussein. De Heer’s direction creates the film’s frame, but it is Hussein who wears the sun, commanding rhythm of hand and breath. She isn’t a stranger in a strange land, but a woman surviving on her post-apocalyptic motherland.
Rolf de Heer has journeyed further than most, and in The Survival of Kindness he creates his fullest reverie of horror: a haunting diagnosis of the abeyance of kindness where land and stars bare silent witness, but their collective mourning is felt in every sequence.
View the full NZIFF 2023 programme at nziff.co.nz.