sweetie

Another Jane Campion film, this time her directorial debut, with the story of the dysfunctional relationship between two sisters. Sweetie is the obsessive, demanding, and coddled sister who is the catalyst for all family dynamics, but the story is really about how the other characters deal and interact with her. Quirky and offbeat, this film shows the beginnings of Campion’s immense talent. [nz, 1989]

heavenly creatures

Based on a true story, this bizarre tale of an intense but magnificent friendship between two highly imaginative girls, is as exhilarating as it is grotesque. Visually arresting, the film slips in and out of the girls’ fabulous fantasy world that ultimately leads them down a dangerous path…[nz, 1994]

once were warriors

A fierce portrait of the degeneration of Maori culture and pride. Here a family strains to keep it together through a haze of addiction and abuse. As clan matriarch, Beth is stuck between her love of the booze, lust for her eye-blackening hubby, and desire to protect herself and her children. Her daughter Grace, a budding writer, is particularly vulnerable, and the film’s devastating finale hits home like none other. [nz, 1994]