Cinema of Unease

Cinema of Unease - 1995

BFI/Top Shelf Productions - 52 min.

Writers/Directors: Sam Neill, Judy Rymer; Editor: Michael Horton; Music: Don McGlashan; Photography: Alun Bollinger, Producers: Paula Jalfon, Grant Campbell. Executive Producers: Vincent Burke, Colin MacCabe, Bob Last.

A subjective and partial, but nevertheless very useful resume of New Zealand feature film productions to the mid-1990's, with Sam Neill as guide. Made as part of a British series commemorating a century of cinema. In it Neill presents his reminiscences of cinema-going from the 1950's, and his interpretations of various New Zealand feature films made since then, particularly in respect of what he sees them reflecting of New Zealand society. Thirty-three NZ titles are represented within the 60 short clips contained within the documentary. Highly recommended.

Censor Rating: G - Review Rating: B

Cinema of Unease Clip
Official MP4 Clip


Originally available in VHS PAL format from UK sources for about 20# and New Zealand sources for $40nz which also includes a related Australian docu, '40,000 Years of Dreaming', however as of February 2009, it would seem to be OOP. There are no known sources for new NTSC VHS copies, although used copies do exist which is "double billed" with 'Forgotten Silver'.

Aro Video in Wellington has rental copies available to any New Zealand address

Alice in Videoland of Christchurch has rental copies available for New Zealand addresses


The British Film Institute on-demand - For UK only

NZFC OnDemand New Zealand Rental & Purchase

The full movie can be seen legally free at nzonscreen

WorldCat is the world's largest library catalog - Click to find the nearest Library that has this title.


There are no known soundtrack CDs of this title.

MP3 clip from this title's soundtrack - courtesy of Carolyn Bedwell

SOUNDTRACKS VAULT - Link to MP3 samples of all titles


Reviews at

Matthew Kiernan Review

IMDB User Reviews

Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Review

Short Review in London's Time Out

'Actor, director and now autobiographer, Sam Neill interprets his New Zealand past to the world through our movies in this handsome contribution to the BFI's Century of Cinema series. A trip back in time for him, this film is also one for us, the once familiar case history of Anglophiliac cultural cringe. No commentary on the pakeha New Zealand psyche that counts sheep or cite Man Alone as seminal is breaking new ground, but Neill's observations are in complete harmony with recent perceptions of a New Zealand rife with madness and murder - a view of New Zealand long relished by Patrick White and now appearing in Sunday supplements around the world. There's evidence aplenty that movies, which thrive on violence, have had a major role in inverting the old cliches. Vivid scenes from New Zealand features - good, bad or wonderful illustrate Neill's response while reminding us how liberating it has been to see New Zealanders on the big screen.' (Twenty-fourth Wellington Film Festival catalogue, 1995)

"Cinema of Unease is part of the British Film Institute's international series The Century of Cinema where some of the world's most respected directors take a personal look at their national cinema, among them are Nagisa Oshima (Japan), Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy) Martin Scorsese (USA), l George Miller (Australia), Stephen Frears (British), Jean Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Melville (France), Mrinal Sen ( India), and Krzysztof Kieslowski (Poland)." from Top Shelf Winter catalogue 1996/7 pg 12.


VIDEO VAULT - Links to trailers and clips for all titles.

NZ On Screen Videos & Comments

Sam Neill Audio Clips

'Out of the Mist: An Alternative History of NZ Cinema' - A Free 2015 High Definition Lumière Reader documentary by Tim Wong, narrated by Eleanor Catton

Information at IMDB

1997 - Best Documentary - NZ Film and Television Awards

Internet Movie Poster Awards

What follows is a list of films represented by short video clips throughout 'Cinema of Unease'.
An Angel at my Table
A Journey for Three
Heavenly Creatures
Came a hot Friday
The Scarecrow
Don't Let It Get You
Jack Be Nimble
Bad Blood
Bread and Roses
100 Crowded Years
Te Kooti Trail
Broken Barrier
This is New Zealand
The Lost Tribe
Seal Hunters
Sleeping Dogs
Beyond Reasonable Doubt
Goodbye Pork Pie
Once Were Warriors
The Last Tattoo
Carry Me Back
The Quiet Earth
Smash Palace
The Navigator
Desperate Remedies
The Piano

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