This film is a long way from the romantic visions of Māori society produced in the early years of New Zealand cinema. Jake the Muss (an explosive Temuera Morrison) is the hardest man in his grim South Auckland neighbourhood. His family suffer a series of traumas at the hands of Jake and his associates (notably a sleazy Cliff Curtis). Directed by Lee Tamahori, and adapted from Alan Duff's novel, the film's brutal realism stirred controversy among both Māori and Pākehā. Yet it launched Tamahori's Hollywood directing career and pulled in audiences both locally and worldwide, becoming New Zealand's highest-grossing film to that date. Watch this short documentary on the making of Once were warriors.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
NZ On Screen
Reference: Once were warriors - behind the scenes. Producer, Robin Scholes; director, Lee Tamahori; writer, Riwia Brown. Communicado, 1994.
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