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Age and Youth make the movie

Last Sunday afternoon, a full house watched the film, A Stitch In Time, at the Mercury Bay Cinema.

Thanks to Anne Maree, co-owner of the MB Cinema, who said, ‘Yes’ to the opportunity to have the writer and director of the film as well as the leading actress, to come and pay a visit to Whitianga. This opportunity realised when they visited on Sunday night to speak to the audience before the film screened at 4.30pm and spend time talking with the movie goers. It was a grand experience for everyone.

The Informer was able to spend a little time interviewing Sasha Madden, writer and director and Maggie Blinco, the leading actress in this feature movie.

A Stitch In Time is a beautiful story around the relationship of an old couple facing disappointment and shame and the reality of their lives. A young hopeful fashion designer enters the story and through their common goals, he encourages the long-held passion of an old woman, Liebe, to make the beautiful dresses she carries in her heart and mind. With her partner of 50 years intent on shutting down her dreams and her dignity, she packs her bags and leaves, and so the fire in her to sew dresses increases because she has no other way to earn money. But more than that, she feels driven to sew beautiful dresses for others to wear.

Maggie Blinco is the leading actress and she does a well crafted job, convincing and moving. Maggie says, “This was the first time I have ever been offered a leading role. I have had a number of small parts; I was in Crocodile Dundee One and Two and I had quite a role in The Nightingale. In fact, I have had good roles in my career on the screen, but this role has been the apex for me. I feel it is a success for me. I had to dig deep within myself to be ‘Leibe.’

Maggie is a startling 88 years of age. She says with a smile; “I started late but there was a beginning when I was young. I remember in high school; we had two very remarkable drama teachers. I was given a small part in a play and when I got out on that stage, to my sense of pride, I made people laugh and that day, I fell in love with the stage. All through university, I just participated in all I could but after university I stopped all of that.

At some point I was managing an antique shop. One day, maybe I was a little older than 35, I told my then husband, “Why don’t you run the shop because you are good at it and I will try and be a professional actress. Then began a huge learning curve for me. I knew nothing about television. It was a huge change and it took hard work to get various roles. But I do love working.” Maggie smiles.

Sasha talks about putting the elements of the story together. “I would walk into the fashion store of Kitten D’Amour and watch them make the clothing. They are French designers and I noticed the owner loved beautiful things, the nature of the cloth for a dress for instance. She took pride in making only a few of each garment. I imagined that is what my main character would be like.

I want to build community through what I write and direct. I ask myself the question; “What does it mean to make it in the movie industry?” There are three aspects for me to feel as if I have made it. The first is, what is the spark of an idea that I can bring to reality and how do I deliver that spark for people to say, and for me to say, ‘Wasn’t that a good film!’ The second is, can people emotionally respond to this movie in a helpful way to them? The third is that the film needs to pay for itself so it is not extravagant or a vain pipe dream at others’ expense, or something to keep everyone happy.” These are important to me for a film to work.”

This creation of Sasha’s certainly does work.

A Stitch In Time touches people emotionally, both men and women. It’s a truthful movie about the reality of some human relationships that drift on in a marriage that has not been loving or fulfilling. It reflects an era where women saw their only role as pleasing their partner and fulfilling the needs of the partner. This movie takes us further to the heart of a strong and dignified woman who desires so much to make something beautiful with her skill of dress making. But she is also driven down by the disappointments of life, only to keep rising up again, but not without the help of friendship - young Chinese immigrants and also an old friendship that is both endearing and conflicting. This is not a romance but the journey of two people who create community and that journey reveals the power of youth and old age enjoying and honouring and healing each other. This story brings tears but also inspiration.

Take a friend or your partner and go and watch A Stitch In Time at Mercury Bay Cinema.

The dress you can win. Kitten D’amour Fashion house made all the dresses in the movie. They made several copies of one particular dress pictured here and each of the dresses is stitched with the words ‘A Stitch In Time’ on the label. When you go and watch the movie you enter your phone number in the competition to win the dress. Someone in New Zealand will win that beautiful dress.

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