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Reader Spotlight: Morgan in New Zealand

We're getting to know The Film Experience community one-by-one. Today we're talking to Morgan Borthwick from New Zealand. We've never been but it's on our brains due to Jane Campion's stunning miniseries "Top of the Lake". Here's Morgan.


Hi, Morgan. Do you love Jane Campion? (Please note: There is only one correct answer to this question)

MORGAN: Of course! She understands film is as much art as it is storytelling and I could rhapsodise all day about her many gifts.  As a director, I love what she does with her actresses, particularly Barbara Hershey who is beyond superlatives in Portrait of a Lady, Abby Cornish in Bright Star and Elizabeth Moss in Top of the Lake, making me forget Peggy of Mad Men ever existed. She should have two best director nominations by now at least, but that's a gripe for another time about the academy and their "we've nominated you once, we don't need to do it again" mantra when it comes to women. See also: Kathryn Bigelow, but I digress!

Since you're from New Zealand, how annoyed do you get when people ask you about The Lord of the Rings tourist destinations?

MORGAN: Ha-ha, I should have known this question would pop up! I get super annoyed to be very honest, because although being a Kiwi (slang for New Zealander) and loving Peter Jackson, as law in NZ basically dictates, we're not just about that when it comes to films! Be excited about Peter and Frodo and bloody Gollum but we're the country that gave you Jane Campion, Anna Paquin, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Karl Urban, Temuera Morrison, Niki Caro, Sam Neale, Andrew Adamson, The River Queen, Heavenly Creatures, Boy, 2 Cars 1 Night,  Jane Campion, Emily Barclay, In My Father's Den, The World's Fastest Indian... and Jane Campion. If you haven't heard/seen these people or films, I encourage you to look them up! This is my moment to advertise the beauty and depth of the film industry in New Zealand - it is so much more than hobbits and elves. Next time, ask to see where The Piano was filmed or where the murder in Heavenly Creatures took place.

When did you start reading The Film Experience?

I started reading in 2006, aged 15! I was disappointed that Jennifer Hudson seemed to be winning everything when I thought Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barrazza in Babel deserved so much more for taking their parts and going beyond what the cliched script expected. But it wasn't until 2007 and the clusterf*ck that was BSA (my favourite category) that I became a regular, addicted reader and since then I check this site at least daily and get v upset when away/unable to. To me, its your passion that makes it so worthwhile, even if we disagree on the Zeéeeee!

Three Favorite Actresses?

Maggie Smith: The woman does her schtick for sure, she's got her stock characters but I'll never get tired of her doing the Maggie and every time I think she's just sleepwalking, i remember The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Othello and Capturing Mary and I remember the woman is one of the greats, despite her recent spate of snooty old dowagers (which are still so entertaining).

Nicole Kidman, of course. i caught her as an 8 year old in Eyes Wide Shut - it was in the video player, and I have been obsessed with her ever since. Through the ups and the downs, she's never apologised, never backed down and is the most fearless of them all. Truly, the Paperboy's snub this year brought tears to my eyes.

Then I don't know, Meryl, Michelle (Pfeiffer & Williams - yes) Kate and Cate all have honorary places along with Alfre and Tilda but third would have to be...

Anjelica Huston for so many things but her performance in 50/50 spoke to me like nothing else has in film for a while. She's so underrated, so rarely seen but that striking presence makes you wish she did even more and you can see why her three sons in the Darjeeling Limited were so hung up on her! Plus #theGriftersforever! 

Please don't hate me readers, there's so many more, but these would be the three whose films I endeavour to see with all my power. 

What was the last movie you watched before this interview?

Bachelorette finally last night! Brilliant, truly. Everything that Girls wants to be. Dark, funny, sad and Isla Fisher gets best in show in my opinion, her scenes in the pool really sold me on her talents as an actress.

Which recent movie would you like to live inside of? 

Can I say a movie that hasn't been released? Wouldn't we all love to live inside Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby? I mean, c'mon, that is a world waiting to be explored. And also, being a university student, I'd love to live in the world of Pitch Perfect because all they seem to do is sing, I swear, I wish my university life was that relaxed. Oh and I want Fat Amy as my new second best friend. After Jennifer Lawrence, of course. (as a friend, not an oscar winner, yes, I said it.)

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Reader Comments (18)

I totally understand where he is coming from. Whenever I say I´m from Rio, people react in the following manner:

1) Smile. "Rio??? Cool. Wow. Beaches.Parties. Music. Football. Ipanema. Sunny weather",

and then,

2) So, what about City of God? Where is that? Is it all true? Is it really like that?/

It gets so old so quickly, especially when the movie itself has already gotten old.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I know! Whenever I say I live in Barcelona I immediately get invited to threesomes with lunatics and painters.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Shouldn't this series be retitled "Twink Spotlight"?

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJonathanSchmendrick

JonathanSchmendrick: WOW. I got called out here for some crap in the past and reflected on it and decided to be more careful and change a bit inside, but WOW. You just DO NOT SAY THAT.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

JonathanSchmendrick is funny.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrwnstne

@JonathanSchmendrick - Wow. I hope you feel cool, here I am casually excited to be interviewed about love of all things film and you have to come on here with a snarky comment, not about what I've said, but how I look. But thanks, at my age I'll take what I can get ;)

Thanks Nat, this looks amazing :)


April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommentermorganB

Peggy Sue, I LOVE your comment!!!!!

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Hey, i can't help it if reading The Film Experience keeps you young and fresh and sparkly no matter your age!

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternathanielr

peggysue -- you are awesome.

amanda -- that's hilarious. the options are limited for tourists i guess with the movies?

April 29, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

ha ha ha Peggy Sue !! Hilarious

or was it Preggy Sue?

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

Check out the NZ film "No. 2" with Ruby Dee (as in "you are my number two").

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBedeNZ

Nathaniel I dont understand your question. What do you mean?

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I mean... people don't know a lot of other movies set in Rio right? but that one certainly got around.

April 29, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Oh yes now I get it. Yes, That's it. There are plenty of others but that one is the only one people seem to remember.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

this talk about different cities (and countries) made me think that, nathaniel, if you ever need to come up with a new discussion topic for your blog, you could do a series of country 'appreciations', with rankings (or no rankings, just a guide) of important films, directors from different countries.
like "brazilian week", "greek week"... and preferably with more 'obscure' countries (movies-wise I mean).
you have lots of readers from different countries, so this would be very good and invite a lot of participation!

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

OMG. Fat Amy would be an awesome friend. Other film characters from 2012 that I want to be friends with include Maya from ZD30 (because I think she gets me), Hushpuppy, Muriel from 'Exotic Hotel' (we'll be the unlikely odd couple where all we have in common is sass) and Calvin from 'Ruby Sparks'.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

nathaniel, the film experience's invasion of the bodysnatchers -like power that turns your readers into nicole kidman worshippers needs to be exposed!

now i know how veronica cartwright felt...

April 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

I'd love for more people to discover "Crush", a brilliant NZ flick starring Marcia Gay Harden from the early 1990s. One of my top three New Zealand films, that.

April 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

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