The Hoover Diaries is a new 45-minute film by Stockholm/London-based New Zealand artist Amanda Newall (featuring remix, composition and sound design work by Antti Saario). Connecting three seemingly disparate events that occurred during the artists’ teenage years in 1980s Timaru, the film is a reflection on the lingering resonance of life-changing events for individuals and communities in an era of radical economic reform.
Made over the course of 18 months in New Zealand, Newall describes The Hoover Diaries an ‘anti-documentary’. Instead of getting close up to the crime, its personalities and their motives, the film revolves around the circumstantial evidence of what it was like to live as an adolescent girl in the small town of Timaru in the mid- 1980s. Alongside archival newscasts, live music footage and political reportage, the director revisits the town, the fishermen recount the quota system, one victims’ mother recalls the homicides, and Andrew Fagan (of the NZ cult-band The Mockers) and the People restage the 1980s matinee gig. The result is a montage of interconnected memorabilia, anecdotes and other suggestive devices, delivered by survivors who bear witness to both sides of history.