This week, the ‘W’ in the Wellington’s Hollywood-esque sign became a ‘V’ in preparation for the release of What We Do in The Shadows.
After a positive festival reception, the ‘vampire mocumentary’ from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi promises to be a successful Kiwi movie export.
This has prompted me to think about other NZ films that we’ve seen recently, aside from those set in middle earth. By no means a definitive list, but a selection that capture elements of this country’s rich culture.
1. Eagle vs. Shark (2007)
The previous Clement and Waititi film release was one of the most cringe-worthy and unromantic, romantic comedies I’ve ever seen. A scene that sticks in my memory is poor Lily being stuck in a rural NZ town for days while she waits for the bus back to Wellington. Young love is hard, even when you’re a shark.
2. Sione’s Wedding (2006)
You could imagine the creators of The Inbetweeners taking inspiration from these guys. Four men are banned from their friend’s wedding until they can find girlfriends to come with them. A rare screen insight into Samoan culture and some hilarious one-liners. I’m looking forward to watching the sequel next.
3. Once Were Warriors (1994)
If ever there was a film to shatter the postcard-image of NZ. A family struggling against threats in society and their own home. A worthy international success and definitely one to try and watch once. I haven’t watched this since being in NZ, but have witnessed the victory of the ‘Cook Me Some Eggs’ team at the Red Bull grand prix.
4. Goodbye Pork Pie (1981)
A pair of misfits find themselves thrown together and on the run in a yellow Mini. From the top of the north island, this cult-hit caper gets more ridiculous as the Blondini gang drive the length of the country.
5. Whale Rider (2002)
A moving, contemporary story of a young Maori girl struggling to seek approval from her grandfather. Keisha Castle-Hughes gives an impressive performance of a girl growing up in a patriarchal tribe.