The Maintenance of Silence (New Zealand, 1985)
DV, PG, 22 mins
On November 18 1982, a 22-year old Aucklander, Neil Roberts, daubed a washroom wall with the graffiti slogan: ‘WE HAVE MAINTAINED A SILENCE CLOSELY RESEMBLING STUPIDITY’.
He then placed a bomb outside the State Security Computer Centre at Whanganui where files are kept on all citizens. The bomb blew him to pieces.
The Maintenance of Silence was released in 1985 by New Zealand artist and film maker William Keddell.
The Maintenance of Silence traces Neil Robert’s movements and motivations, informed by the Keddell’s conversations with the young man’s friends and family. Keddell concluded Roberts was intelligent, highly literate, politically aware and not the manic depressive he was portrayed as in the media. Keddell’s film hoped to question the political dimensions of the act and what the graffiti statement actually meant.
The Maintenance of Silence received the Critics' Choice in both the Los Angeles Times and the L.A. Weekly.