In cooperation with NZ On Screen and the NZ Film Commission we're proud to present Dead Letters as our Anzac Day short film.
During World War II the post office photographed letters, enabling mass mailing to soldiers via rolls of film.
Ngarie and Gerald sort these air graph letterforms in a post office in Wellington destined for New Zealand soldiers abroad.
A tiny act of heroism brings together this unlikely pair in an unconventional love story that cleverly blends fact with fiction.
On this small, handsomely-framed canvas, writer-director Paolo Rotondo, who adapted the short story of the same name by Jolisa Gracewood, explores how war and distance affect relationships.
"Our story adopts the romantic connotations, conventions, style and themes of the World War II 'period' but gently subverts them," Rotondo explains.
Clever use of locations and superb art direction give Dead Letters the impression of a much bigger film.
"This was important thematically to establish a large world where two individuals could seem so insignificant," he says.
"I feel that Dead Letters captures, with authenticity and heart, the events of a mad time in history but more specifically the story moves us with its universal timeless humanity."
Dead Letters makes a persuasive case that the memories preserved in words and film contain their own magic, even when that magic is tinged with sadness and death.
It won best short screenplay at the 2006 New Zealand Screen Awards.
Rotondo is currently working on a new film called Orphans and Kingdoms he is writing and directing.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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