Screened as part of NZIFF 2001

Rain 2001

Directed by Christine Jeffs

92 minutes 35mm


Production Co

Rose Road


Philippa Campbell

Executive Producer

Robin Scholes


Christine Jeffs. Based on the novel by Kirsty Gunn


John Toon


Paul Maxwell

Production Designer

Kirsty Clayton

Costume Designer

Kirsty Cameron


David Madigan


Neil Finn
Edmund McWilliams


Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki (Janey)
Sarah Peirse (Kate)
Marton Csokas (Cady)
Alistair Browning (Ed)
Aaron Murphy (Jim)


There could be no greater compliment for a film so alert to the sexual nuances of family relationship, or so redolent of a particular summer place, than to be selected for the leading festival in the land where they do this kind of thing the best. We are delighted to present the New Zealand première screenings of Christine Jeffs’ adaptation of Kirsty Gunn’s novella Rain, direct from its success at Cannes. — BG

Signalling first-time feature director Christine Jeffs as a promising talent, Rain is an evocative mood piece, enriched by gorgeous visuals, about the dissolution of a marriage as a mother reaches out for excitement and escape and her 13-year-old daughter explores her own budding sexuality...

Set in the summer of 1972 at an underpopulated seaside spot where adolescent protagonist Janey and her family have rented a holiday cottage, the film swiftly establishes the mellow feel, lazy rhythms and agreeable idleness of the place. Janey and her kid brother Jim spend their days swimming, fishing and playing on the beach, while their mother Kate and father Ed laze around sipping bourbon and preparing for boozy parties at night with other vacationers.

Even before her father becomes aware of it, Janey learns of the affair between her mother and Cady, an itinerant photographer who moors his boat nearby... Indifferent to the advances of a local boy her own age, Janey instead enters naively and without much forethought into competition with her mother for Cady’s attention... Fulford-Wierzbicki skilfully negotiates the balance between girlish innocence, headstrong attitude and the burgeoning awareness of how to use her sexuality, while Peirse (Heavenly Creatures) conveys a poignant sense of an unsettled woman no longer getting anything out of her marriage. Young Murphy is a delight, bringing fresh, natural spark to his every scene…

Like so many New Zealand filmmakers, Jeffs and cinematographer Toon display a remarkable feel for nature and landscape and for the soft, glowing light particular to parts of the Southern Hemisphere. An eclectic range of music is widely and effectively used, from period pop to lovely original compositions by Neil Finn, working with Edmund McWilliams. — David Rooney, Variety, 15/5/01