In this third documentary in Tony Hiles’ series about painter and composer Michael Smither, we see him returning to the imagery he’s best known for, transforming an old rock painting into a new one and describing his process (not to mention his relationship to each rock and their relationships to each other) as he goes.
Hiles also accompanies him to St Joseph’s church in New Plymouth where he recalls the years spent on what may be one of the best-kept secrets in the region: a suite of works that began with a commissioned concrete-cast ‘Stations of the Cross’ created between 1965 and 1967. These were followed by two vividly detailed murals: ‘Doubting Thomas’, painted at his own behest, and a ‘Baptism of Christ’, in a contemporary setting with characteristically rocky Taranaki riverbed, both painted through the next decade. Tracing his own personal and spiritual development as inscribed in these pieces, he hits his 70s more energised than daunted by the passage of time. - Bill Gosden in the 2011 NZIFF programme