thirty movies hath november – Once were warriors (1994)

Once were warriors is a New Zealand movie, notable among other things for the number of Maori people involved in its production – the director, Lee Tamahori, the entire cast.  the movie was very successful in New Zealand and got recognition around the world.
based on the 1980 novel of the same name, Once… narrates the struggles of a family living in Auckland. not quite living  in poverty but getting there, the father, Jake Haka, has lost his job and spends most days and nights drinking at the pub. his wife, Beth, is the usual victim of Jake's rages.  each of the children is getting lost in their own way.  it takes a series of incidents, up to a tragic one, for Beth to finally decide to leave Jake and take the children back with her to the Maori village she's from.
the movie is remarkable for its representation of the violence in the Haka household, the alienation of the Maori from the majority white society, the efforts of some to use traditional Maori history and customs to instill pride and responsibility on the young men.

trailer

Jake, Jake the Muss

the soundtrack uses traditional Maori songs alongside modern Maori sounds.  an example of the later is What's the time Mr. Wolf?

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2 thoughts on “thirty movies hath november – Once were warriors (1994)

  1. I recall watching this one way back upon a time. It was really out there. I guess, being out and about in the world today, I would have a greater appreciation seeing it now. Back then, I just recall the violence. Very much so.

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