"Once Were Warriors"
Directed by Lee Tamahori
This is a
revealing tale of the urban Maori, living in Auckland, New Zealand. Alcoholism,
domestic violence, poverty and hopelessness oppress a family that is only kept in tack by
the strength of two women. Beth Hake (Rena Owen), the mother
who tolerates the abuse her husband heaps upon her, and her 13 year-old daughter Grace
(Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell), who wakes each morning to clean up the mess left from the party
the night before. As Beth Hake struggles to maintain some semblance of family life,
she repeatedly threatens to break away from her abusive husband Jake (Temuera Morrison), a
tragic alcoholic who flies into violent rages when he's drunk. As her family
disintegrates, Beth remembers her noble Maori roots, finding safe harbor within her
ancestral Maori family.