New Zealand | 2010 | 87 min. | Taika Waititi

August 5, 2022

Auteur August: Taika Waititi

At the height of Michael Jackson and E.T. fever, an 11-year-old Maori reunites with his wannabe-gangster father. Charming, funny, and earnest with pop-culture touchstones, nutso fantasy sequences, and an outrageous final dance number. Paired with short film, Two Cars, One Night.

Passes are available for each director's weeklong series, as well as ticket 6-packs which can be used for any Auteur August film (regardless of director).

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It’s 1984 and “Thriller” is at the top of the charts. Boy (newcomer James Rolleston) is an 11-year-old Maori kid and avid Michael Jackson fan who lives on a farm with his grandma and younger brother. A cheerful dreamer, he’s waiting for the day his father breaks out of prison to take him to the King of Pop’s big show. Although his dad’s been locked up for most of his life, Boy has built up an image of him that’s part war hero, part sports star. Needless to say, when his father actually does show up, reality falls somewhat short of the fantasy: Alamein (Taika Waititi, who also directs) is even less mature than his son, still borrowing money from his mom and showing off with his loser friends. Inspired by his Oscar-nominated (and SIFF 2004 Jury Award winning) short, Two Cars, One Night, Waititi’s sophomore feature is a sweet, funny, and fresh look at growing up—whatever your age. Don’t miss the exuberant dance number at the film’s end: a Maori Haka-infused rendition of “Thriller.”

  • Director: Taika Waititi
  • Principal Cast: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone-Whitu
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 87 min.
  • Producer: Cliff Curtis, Ainsley Gardiner, Emanuel Michael
  • Screenplay: Taika Cohen
  • Cinematographers: Adam Clark
  • Editors: Chris Plummer
  • Music: The Phoenix Foundation
  • Awards: Berlin International Film Festival 2010 (Grand Prix of The Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk)
  • Filmography: Eagle vs. Shark (2007)
  • Language: English
  • US Distributor: Kino Lorber
  • International Sales: New Zealand Film Commission