Shear un­der­stated charm

The Southland Times - - Weekend -

She Shears. (E) 79 mins Di­rected by Jack Ni­col Re­viewed by Graeme Tuck­ett ★★★★

We have a ter­rific tra­di­tion in this coun­try of honour­ing our ru­ral pow­er­houses with great doc­u­men­tary mak­ing.

Maybe you could put it down to TV’s Coun­try Cal­en­dar, which for decades now has been af­fec­tion­ately and re­spect­fully in­ves­ti­gat­ing life beyond the farm gates and re­port­ing back with what is still of­ten the best half hour of lo­cally made TV of the week, while qui­etly out-rat­ing many of its flashier ‘‘re­al­ity TV’’ brethren.

She Shears fol­lows on from last year’s very good Peck­ing Or­der and Meat. Like those films it has made the jump from film fes­ti­val suc­cess to a lim­ited gen­eral re­lease.

And if you didn’t catch She Shears at the fes­ti­val, there are many good rea­sons you should get along to it now.

The film fol­lows five women. Jills, Pa­gan, Cather­ine, Hazel and Emily are all at dif­fer­ent stages of their ca­reers.

Jills and Emily have been world record hold­ers. Emily is re­turn­ing to com­pe­ti­tion af­ter nearly a decade away. Jills re­tired in her 50s to take up a sec­ond ca­reer as a bar­ris­ter and so­lic­i­tor but she is train­ing to judge shear­ing com­pe­ti­tions now.

Hazel is a young woman liv­ing among dairy farm­ers, de­ter­mined to get to her ‘‘300 a day’’ – the bench­mark at which shear­ers take you se­ri­ously – and save enough for a de­cent ute.

Cather­ine is clearly a cham­pion in the mak­ing, aim­ing to­wards the Golden Shears when she makes a de­ci­sion to take her hand­piece on an OE.

And Pa­gan is work­ing as both shearer and wool han­dler, while she re­cov­ers from an ugly car crash that nearly crip­pled her and took the lives of two friends.

She Shears is an un­der­stated and warm-hearted gem of a film. It is stun­ningly well pho­tographed, beau­ti­fully scored and edited to­gether deftly and eco­nom­i­cally. I was hap­pily en­grossed and en­ter­tained for all of its 79 min­utes. I reckon you prob­a­bly will be, too.

I am also con­vinced that di­rec­tor Jack Ni­col should next turn his cam­era on the blokes who do the com­men­tary at the shear­ing com­pe­ti­tions. There’s some raw com­edy gold there no scriptwriter could ever in­vent.

She Shears isa warm-hearted gem of a film that is stun­ningly well pho­tographed and beau­ti­fully scored.

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