4 PM | JAMES & ISEY
2021 | Documentary | 1h 31m | M
Ninety-nine-year-old Isey lives with her adult son James on their small farm in Kawakawa. They are descendants of Ngāti Manu – the Bird People.
It is is the countdown to Isey Cross’s one hundredth birthday. And doing a lot of the counting down is her youngest son and caregiver James. But even at 99, Isey doesn’t seem to need much looking after. She’s a tough cookie, certainly, but she belies that with a permanently positive attitude – on camera at any rate – and a face illuminated by laugh-lines.
And everyone around Kawakawa, Northland seems to be related to Isey, one way or another. There are guest appearances by politicians Jacinda Ardern and Kelvin Davis (Kelvin’s Isey’s nephew, we discover). We join James and Isey on a fishing expedition, and then later a trip to a local fast-food outlet. There are songs from the early days of Kiwi entertainment – “Haere Mai”, a glorious version of “Home Sweet Home”, sung by the Howard Morrison Quartet, and a surprise appearance by Six60’s Matiu Walters, who turns out to be another of Isey’s relations.
It’s a reminder of another era, as mother and son invite us into their lives in the week leading up to the birthday!