New Zealand

Niki Caro – Whale Rider (2002)

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Set at the East Coast town of Whāngārā, Whale Rider tells the tale of a young Māori girl, Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), who challenges tradition and embraces the past in order to find the strength to lead her people forward. Directed and written by Niki Caro, the film is based on Witi Ihimaera’s novel The Whale Rider. Coupling a specific sense of place and culture with a universal coming-of-age story, Whale Rider met with sizeable success worldwide, winning audience choice awards at Sundance and Toronto. Read More »

Geoff Murphy – UTU (1983)

Utu is the Maori word for “Retribution,” which sums up the chief motivating factor of this New Zealand-produced drama. Set in the 1870s, the film details the exigencies of British Colonial rule. A Maori scout, Te Wheke (Anzac Wallace), stumbles across a native village that has been destroyed in a British raid. Since it is the scout’s own village, he deserts the British army, the better to seek “utu.” Leading a vigilante force consisting of his fellow Maoris, Te Wheke kills as many British settlers as he can get his hands on. The feverish conviction of his crusade is in stark contrast to the attitudes of the British, who seem more concerned with material possessions than with human beings. Popular down under star Bruno Lawrence is cast as a vengeance-driven settler who makes it his personal mission in life to end Te Wheke’s reign of terror. Read More »

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)

Synopsis
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)

kinopoisk.ru

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