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.ON. 60min, (2002, 2006)
The first version of .ON. was known as .OFF. (2002) and was 15 minutes longer. It played the Wellington section of The New Zealand International Film Festival, then the New Zealand Digital Film Festival.
Hodson played the shortened at Overtoom 301, Amsterdam in 2005 along with Shifter. It has some brilliant improvised performances where the actors are really(dis)connecting with each other.
New Zealand International Film Festival 2002
Colin Hodson is an axiom of Aro Valley no-budget cinema. The male half of the Uncomfortable Comfortable couple, and director/star of Shifter, now adds a third closely observed portrait to his gallery of passive aggressives. In .OFF. which he directed and on which he shares the script credit with a cast and crew that include several other film directors, he plays Ben, who might be best described as a user. First seen as a shadow moving down the concourse [of an airport], Ben arrives from parts unknown, heads into town, and moves into the comfortable apartment of absent friends. Stashing his passport and his next airline ticket, he hits the street in search of his drug connection Graham (actor and film-maker Greg King), whose idea of catching up is to ask how do you think Im looking'?
Soon Ben is installed in Grahams kitchen, propping up the chair next to the electric stove, as if he belongs there. Regular visitors to Grahams flat include Julie (Helena Nimmo) and Peter (George Rose), a garrulous old reprobate, who drop around for cups of tea and to get off. Mocking cafe culture or Grahams New Age reading material, the snarkily self congratulatory Peter is the films livewire. The presence of veteran filmmaker George Rose in the role is like a shot in the arm from the godfather of Wellington do-it-yourselfers. Ironically both Peter and Julie rely on Graham to shoot them up. Theyre scared of needles. When Ben steps in to help Julie out, Graham, defensive at the best of times, feels excluded from his own circle of dependency. As the paranoia spreads, Ben grabs what he can use and prepares to slip away.
Though not shown in the unbroken takes that distinguished the earlier films, the intimate transactions of drug use and the self-centeredness of the users are divulged in long, absorbing sequences that preserve the unscripted texture of real time. In the most startling sequence, the house-proud Graham, completely fucked up, brings a new dimension to kitchen-sink drama in an epic struggle to do the dishes. Drama, though, is what .OFF. simultaneously avoids in Hodsons close adherence to his teflon-coated protagonist and aspires to. As quick, subjective flashbacks cut us into Bens temporarily rattled brain, .OFF. samples telegraphic narrative techniques the earlier films eschewed, leaving us wondering about where Colin Hodson and Gordon Productions might venture next more than we ever need wonder about the future of Ben.
The latest digital opus from the no-budget Wellington filmmakers behind Uncomfortable Comfortable and Shifter, this passive-aggresive drug procedural mainlines the ritualistic transactions and dependant relationships of drug use. .OFF. centres on the shiftless inaction of heroin addict Ben (Colin Hodson), whose bleak passivity sets the narrative tempo with an appropriate lack of hyperactivity. Touching down at Wellington airport from parts unknown, Ben wastes no time in hooking up with his capital city drug connection Graham (Greg King). Stopping by for a cuppa and a chat as much as to get off, frequent visitors to Grahams' dingy back alley apartment-cum-flophouse include his vampiricwould-be girlfriend Julie (Helena Nimmo) and a high spirited older addict (George Rose) both of whom rely on him to shoot them up. A deliberatly small slice of junkie life improvised around the basic outline of a plot, .OFF. taps into a vein of somnambulist melodramtics, as Ben obliquely faces death, arrest, and the bizarre intimacy of shared drug use.
New Zealand International Film Festival (Wellington Guide) 2002
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