Lost in Wonderland

“The deeper the cover-up the prettier the frocks.” — Rob Moodie
Director: Zoe McIntosh
Year: 2009
Country: New Zealand
Running time: 52 mins

New Zealand
Producer/Editor: Costa Botes
Photography: Costa Botes, Gareth Moon, Marty Williams
Sound: Matt Stutter
Music: Tom McLeod
DigiBeta

With: Rob Moodie, Keith Berryman, Margaret Berryman, Alec Waugh, Bill Moodie, Janet Moodie, Lex Moodie, Sue Moodie Performers: Aizac Mckenzie, Alice Butler-Cormack, Anahera Acheson, Chrissie Baker, Jennabeth Fuge, Steve McCleary

I learnt more about Rob Moodie from Zoe McIntosh's compact, perceptive portrait than from decades of TV coverage. Why does this straight man – who looks at 69 as if he could still spend a day driving in fence posts – turn up in court to defend himself on contempt charges calling himself Miss Alice and wearing the frock to prove it? Moodie's always been forthcoming about his rationale, but without really acknowledging that he might have made the same point by dressing as a male character from Kafka. We see clearly in this film that his determination to opt out of any self-governing boy's club responds to trauma in his Dunedin childhood. We also see that his fearlessness bespeaks a principled confidence about who he is, which is miraculous considering his disintegrated upbringing and the many different lines of work – farmer, mechanic, detective, trade unionist, barrister – to which he has successfully put his hand since. Professional associates and family members fill out this fascinating encounter with a one-of-a-kind self-made man. — BG