The Price Of Milk

Has South America’s magical realism rounded the southern hemisphere to take root in New Zealand farming country? This second feature by writer-director Harry Sinclair (whose first featureTopless Women Talk About Their LivesI missed) teems with so much free-form fantasy that you might accuse it of overload, but I was delighted by the unpredictable gags and plot turns. This is basically a love story set at a dairy farm in an exceptionally green valley (filmed in ‘Scope), where an attractive couple named Lucinda and Rob (Danielle Cormack and Karl Urban) manage to lose a quilt, their 117 cows, and each other. Rob also loses most of his voice. Their problems seem to have something to do with an old Maori witch (Rangi Motu) and her nephews, but aside from them there’s still plenty of magic and mischief in this movie, which offers a two-timing best friend (Willa O’Neill), a dog that lives under a carton, an Indian community, and carnal milk baths. The movie, just 87 minutes long, reminds me of a bygone era when such running times and lighthearted fancies were much more common. (JR)

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