Richard Riddiford's documentary takes us deep into the ambitions and disappointments of painter, erstwhile architect, reluctant market gardener and voluble non-conformist Rossano Fan.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Rossano Fan had the lofty ambition to be a world famous architect, an equal to Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, but fetched up instead in a market garden in Levin. His father, Fan Chi Hung, was a leading architect in Communist China who fell foul of the Cultural Revolution. Rossano married into the family of a market gardener and moved to New Zealandin 1963. He had little interest in his new family business, focusing his attention on his enthusiasm for architecture. He was able to design a small number of distinctive and innovative houses in the Wellington region, and this film sees him return to visit them and their appreciative occupants. When design work dried up, Rossano’s focus shifted somewhat obsessively to painting. Though Rossano’s account of his own life is sharply counterpointed with more prosaic accounts from his exhausted wife and daughter, Richard Riddiford’s documentary takes us deep into the frenetic mind of an idiosyncratic nonconformist who treads a tricky line between delusion and brilliance. — MM