When A City Falls review

A doco that played at MIFF about the impact of the tragic earthquakes in New Zealand.

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There have been over a thousand earthquakes in Christchurch since the night in 2010 when the city first shook. Director Gerard Smyth was born and raised in Christchurch, and in the hours and days after the first quake, there’s not a lot to do. So Smyth started filming – not knowing that he was about to capture one of the worst disasters to strike New Zealand in modern history.

Beginning his journey as a filmmaker in 1969 as a cameraman, Smyth has had a long career in documentary. When a City Falls is his first feature documentary, and is crafted from the stories of the people living and working in Christchurch, and their experiences in and after the earthquakes that killed 183 people, and wreaked havoc on the lives of many more. It is also the story of the beginnings of restoration, and the hope of a newer, stronger city.

When a City Falls is a heartrending film, raw and real and shot from the perspective of the people. It has a strong narrative structure, and is a real eye-opener for those who don’t quite understand what it is to lose so much. Well worth a look.

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