Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin

Over the last 15 years Francesca Rudkin has been working in the media as a film and music reviewer (NZ Herald, Breakfast TV), a television presenter and producer, and voice over artist. Recently, Francesca joined Rialto Channel as their resident blogger, allowing her to indulge in her love of world cinema. Her next challenge is to convince her young children that being a “Cinephile” is a legitimate profession.

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Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 9/28/2015 September, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin


The director of the award winning Wadjda, Haifaa Al-Mansour, is not only Saudi Arabia’s first female director, she’s also the first person to shoot an entire film in her homeland. After studying at the American University in Cairo, Al-Masnou returned to Saudi Arabia to work in communications at a large oil company. Frustrated by the restrictions placed on her as a woman, she began making short films documenting life as a woman in Saudi Arabia. Ten years later and with the financial backing of one of Saudi Arabia’s more liberal Princes, she directed Wadjda via walkie talkie from the back of a van, as she was forbidden to mix with the men in her crew. The result is captivating, and Wadjda is my first highlight of the week. 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 9/21/2015 September, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin



It’s hard to believe another month is coming to an end, and with it the conclusion of the British television series Chasing Shadows(Sunday evenings) and Rialto Channel’s remarkable season of anime (Friday evenings). However, there are some real treats lined up for you in October with the return of the Double Exposure documentary series focusing on a fascinating range of intriguing themes every Thursday and Friday night. Catch Finding Vivian Maier and Banksy Does New York as well as films that focus on extreme sport, con artists, science and crime. October also features the debut of French crime series Witness, a gripping and atmospheric French police thriller that explores the dark corners of the human psyche and how far people will go to exact the perfect revenge.
 

Here are my picks for the week;

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 9/14/2015 September, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin



When Scrubs and Garden State actor-director Zach Braff turned to Kickstarter to fundraise for his film Wish I Was Here, he had no idea the kind of fuss he was about to stir up. Suddenly, no one was interested in Braff’s project about a 35 year old man forced to examine his life and relationships when his father falls ill. Instead, some critics and cinephile types took offence to the idea that Braff asked people to fund his independent film (read – make a movie that gave him creative control) and yet produced a film that could be regarded as pretty mainstream. Braff was shocked at the controversy and has claimed he will not use Kickstarter again to finance future films. As he told the press at the 2014 Zurich Film Festival press conference for Wish I Was Here, “I was completely taken aback by the criticism,” he said. “I was expecting a conversation because it’s a fascinating and new model. But I felt that a lot of the criticism was unfair and uninformed.” He adds, “This was always meant to be a really fun art experiment”. Braff himself, and traditional sources such as international pre-sales also financed the film. See what all the fuss is about this Saturday, on Rialto Selection. 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 9/7/2015 September, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin



This month, Rialto Documentary is playing a series of films that take a look at what happens when governments overstep their normal boundaries in order to make an example of someone, and how those affected fight back. Some of these stories will be familiar to you: Citizen Four follows Edward Snowdon as he blows the whistle on illegal covert surveillance programs run by the NSA, and The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz tells the tragic story of programming prodigy and activist Aaron Swartz who took his own life in 2013.
 

Other stories might have familiar subject matters, such as Dinosaur 13’s Sue, the largest, most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus ever found. However, what you might not be familiar with is the story behind the discovery of Sue and what happened to those who found her. Being a paleontologist it seems, can get you locked up in the same prison as Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh. It’s worth checking out in Dinosaur 13, screening on Thursday. 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 8/31/2015 August, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin


This week we launch into spring, and with a new month comes a new lineup of feature films and television series. British crime series Chasing Shadows stars Alex Kingston and kicks off on Sunday evenings, and after The Bridge wraps up on September 8ththe third season of Rectify takes over Tuesday nights. Rialto Documentary is also filled with stirring films about what happens when governments overstep boundaries, and when people fight back - Citizen Four, Dinosaur 13 and The Internets Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. Also throughout September, Rialto’s season of anime continues with Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howls Moving Castle.
 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 8/24/2015 August, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin

There’s a gorgeous scene in 20,000 Days on Earth where Nick Cave heads home at the end of his 20,000th day on earth, and snuggles up with his twin sons in front of the television. When I heard the news in July about the tragic death of Nick Cave’s son Arthur, it was that scene that immediately popped into my head. Forget the sophisticatedly dressed, charismatic wordsmith and performer – it was the image of Nick Cave as the doting father that came to mind. It was at that point I realised, that even though this documentary is a stylized, manipulated dramatisation of Cave’s life, I’d still got an unprecedented look into his life and the process behind his songwriting, and I’d almost convinced myself that I knew him. 20,000 Days on Earth screens on Thursday, and should not be missed.   


Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 8/17/2015 August, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin



This month, Rialto Documentary is screening some fantastic music documentaries celebrating unique, influential artists and their work. This week legendary hip hop artist Nas explains the inspiration behind his debut album Illmatic, and next week, Rialto Documentary is screening the excellent 20,000 Days on Earth. This award winning documentary is a dramatisation of a day in the life of Nick Cave and it’s a must see for music and Nick Cave fans.
 

Here are my picks for the week:

Francesca's Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 8/10/2015 August, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin



Plenty of strong willed women feature on Rialto Channel this week, from the awesome singer songwriter Kathleen Hanna in the documentary The Punk Singer, to the unconventional Vanessa Bell and her sister Virginia Woolf who lived their lives according to their own moral code, rather than that of the times in the BBC drama Life in Squares. Indie filmmaker Cat Candler also brings her sensitive touch to the poignant family drama Hellion, and let’s not forget Saga Noren – policing Scandinavia in her own unique manner in Tuesday night’s The Bridge. Plenty to enjoy this week – here are my picks.

Thursday 13th August, 8.30pm … The Punk Singer

Francesca's Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 8/3/2015 August, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin



The Rialto Channel season of Anime continues throughout August, with more wonderful Japanese animations on show. This month, catch the Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as well as the coming of age comedy/drama The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (winner of the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year 2006), and the 1999 classic Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. But first, we’re off to Scandinavia this week.

Francesca's Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 7/27/2015 July, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin



Rialto World’s celebration of German cinema this month ends on a high, with Hannah Arendt, written and directed by leading German filmmaker and member of the New German Cinema movement, Margarethe von Trotta. Von Trotta began her career as an actress, working for directors such as Volker Schlöndorff, Rainhard Hauff, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In the mid 70s she finally stepped behind the camera, co-directing The Lost Honor of Katharina Blumalong with Schlöndorff, her husband at the time. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum tells the story of a young woman that has an affair with a man she discovers is a terrorist. Politics and strong female protagonists would become features of von Trotta’s work, and her ability to grasp complex ideas on screen is very much present in her biography of the controversial German Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt. This award-winning drama from 2012, is my first pick of the week.

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