New Zealand

Florian Habicht – Woodenhead (2003)

A truly unsettling, visually inventive, stylistically thrilling and quite marvellous diamond in the rough. Woodenhead takes the traditional fairy tale and reprocesses it through the minds of filmmakers like Canadian master of the peculiar Guy Maddin and animators of the arcane, the Quay Brothers. Incredibly, all of the dialogue and location sound for Woodenhead was completed first and the images shot to fit a crazed reversal of accepted practice. Read More »

Roger Donaldson – Smash Palace [+Extra] (1981)

Smash Palace concerns itself with the marriage of former racing driver Al (Bruno Lawrence, The Quiet Earth) and French-born Jacqui (Anna Jemison, Nomads). The pair had met when she nursed him back to health following a career-ending injury. They married, returned to Al s native New Zealand to take over his late father s wrecking yard business the Smash Palace of the title and had a child. But over time stagnation has set in, Jacqui s resentment of Al has grown, and things are threatening to spill over… Read More »

David Comer – Ata Whenua: Fiordland on Film AKA Shadowland (2005)

One IMDb user wrote:
Showing nice photo’s or film of brilliant scenery’s and landscape is one thing. Turning it into the identity of an entire nation is another. In my opinion David Comer pulled it off! The combination of (maori) music, film, wildlife, treelife and seasons turns this into an eye-watering experience for everyone who goes into watching it. Especially when one does not know what to expect. Read More »

Jane Campion – An Angel at My Table (1990)

Here is the story of a curly-haired little redhead who grew up to be one of New Zealand’s best authors, after enduring ordeals that would have put most people into a madhouse. The irony is that she was already in the madhouse, misdiagnosed as a schizophrenic, and subjected to more than 200 electroshock treatments even though there was nothing really wrong with her except for shyness and depression. Read More »

Lee Tamahori – Once Were Warriors (1994)

A family descended from Maori warriors is bedeviled by a violent father and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts. Read More »

Stewart Main – Twilight of the Gods (1995)

A Maori tribesman named Toa discovers bunch of white soldiers in 18th century uniforms and Maori warriors who have just slaughtered each other. One white soldier is still alive, and Toa wants to finish him off for revenge. He is warned however by a little bird in a tree he calls his “spirit bird” (that would be “Waldvogel” in German, but Toa and the bird only speak Maori). Toa’s spear and a wooden statue go up in flames, the rock he wants to smash the soldier’s head with crumbles to dust. Toa listens to the bird’s warning and nurses the soldier back to health. Both men are completely naked all the time, they fool around, occasionally the soldier shouts English phrases at Toa. Finally the soldier manages to seduce Toa which he had been trying for some time. Then they separate, the soldier discovers the little spirit bird strangled to death in a trap, a premonition for the film’s cruel end. Read More »

Niki Caro – Memory & Desire (1998)


Sayo and Keiji elope to New Zealand to get away from Keiji’s interfering mother. On their honeymoon they are free to express all their desires and passions, but just when it should be their happiest times, Keiji cannot make love and is accidentally drowned. As tradition dictates, Sayo must return to live with her mother-in-law. However, Sayo can only find a modicum of peace by returning to the New Zealand beach where Keiji drowned. NZ Videos Read More »