I’ve just begun composing the music for a film about Archibald Baxter’s experiences as a conscientious objector during the 1st World War – ‘Field Punishment No.1’ – directed by Peter Burger and produced by Lippy Pictures.
It is an incredible story. Baxter’s circumstances are grim, but his dignity, strength of character and conviction is utterly inspiring.
The film has captured something very beautiful about the nature of the New Zealand men of that time and place, their innocence and their quiet courage. I should also add, as a bit of a skyte, that my friend Fraser Brown makes a sterling Archie, too.
Only two weeks before being invited to join this production, quite by coincidence, I had re-visited Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ (one of my most beloved books) and so the aspects of war, to which Baxter was so fiercely opposed, are very fresh and clear in my mind. I’ve always had a very strong reaction to books and films about war, but this is the first time I’ve worked on a production that deals with the subject, so I’m excited to see how the music will evolve.