Innocent Gert, who works in a rubbish dump, can't believe his luck when he's ordered by his boss to take his beautiful mute daughter, Princess Plum, to meet her prospective husband.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
Florian Habicht’s debut feature film screened at NZIFF in 2003 and has become a cult classic. NZIFF is delighted to present the premiere of this new colourised print.
Filmed in the lush forests and spartan hill country of Northland, New Zealand, Florian Habicht’s debut feature, Woodenhead (NZIFF 2003), conjures a unique, fairytale-like realm. Gert, an innocent rubbish-dump worker, is charged with the task of delivering Princess Plum, the ethereal daughter of his master Hugo, to her wedding in Maidenwood. Their journey through the grandeur of New Zealand’s landscape is beset with strange events. A beguiling hurdy-gurdy melody lures Gert and Plum from their path and – like Hansel and Gretel – they venture deeper and deeper into the forest, where an enchantment takes hold.
With composer and sound designer Marc Chesterman, Habicht pre-recorded the entire soundtrack before commencing shooting, only then inviting the actors to improvise to the score. Originally screened in black and white, Habicht says production designer Teresa Peters and costume designer Georgie Hill designed the look of the film in colour, so this restoration is a return to the film's original palette.
Quirky, elegant, and sexy, Woodenhead creates an imaginative world in which artfully measured explorations of humanity, nature and creativity take place – from the base and profane to the grand and sublime.
Woodenhead was filmed in Te Tai Tokerau, where Habicht and team went on to shoot Kaikohe Demolition (NZIFF 2004), Land of the Long White Cloud (NZIFF 2009), and this year’s hit James & Isey.