Turei's family are hard-working potato farm workers in rural New Zealand. A talented musician, Turei dreams of his band being the support act for Bob Marley's 1979 tour. But it's a dream ...
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This sequel to the New Zealand-set drama "Once Were Warriors" revisits alcoholic Maori man Jake Heke (Temuera Morrison) and his wife, Beth (Rena Owen), who have separated, largely due to ... See full summary »
An intimate story set during the 1860s in which a young Irish woman Sarah and her family find themselves on both sides of the turbulent wars between British and Maori during the British colonization of New Zealand.
The little known island of Ngaro has long held many a mystery, though this fact has been largely unnoticed by the quiet townsfolk that call it home. That is until Tane, Fridge and Riley, ... See full summary »
In a small town in New Zealand, brothers Willie and Solomon deal with the ordinary desires of youth, a volatile father and racial tensions before one, as a means of escape, is seduced to the criminal world by an engaging thief.
An Afrikaner veteran of the Boer War has just immigrated to New Zealand and is hired to track a man accused of killing a soldier. While hunting through the countryside he captures his ... See full summary »
Turei's family are hard-working potato farm workers in rural New Zealand. A talented musician, Turei dreams of his band being the support act for Bob Marley's 1979 tour. But it's a dream that challenges the traditions and values of his upbringing and will set him at odds with his family - particularly his father, a true man of the land. Written by
I'm a sucker for movies from New Zealand, which has produced some great Maori movies over the years, from the brutal Once Were Warriors and the bloodletting colonial-western Utu, to the delightful Boy and the spiritual Whale Rider.
Alas, this one falls well short of its peers. Its portrayal of rural life in the 70s has charm but it strives a little too hard for cuteness, falling into sentimentality and idealization of poor but honest Maori family life. The story fails to fulfill any promise, pacing and direction have problems, but the acting really lets this movie down. The dialog can be unintelligible with accents from a later era it seems, and even Stan Walker's wonderful singing detracts from the movie's authenticity, with Walker's neo-soul style out of sync with the times. Temuera Morrison alone is left to carry the acting, but often has little to do except glare for the camera's gaze. The cinematography is a standout, though Pukekohe is idealized, like the times, as a perpetually sunny rural haven (it was either overcast or raining both times I visited!).
Despite its shortcomings, Mt Zion holds interest for the outsider as a social document of Maori life and marae ritual, even though the movie seems to be made primarily for a Maori audience. There's enough charm to keep you engaged, and Bob Marley's digitized cameo is a curious highlight.
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