Broken English

An ethnic drama set in Auckland: violent Croatian immigrant (Serbedzija) is unhappy when daughter Nina (Aleksandra Vujcic, overflowing with sensual vitality) falls for fellow restaurant worker Eddie (Arahanga). Eddie, a Maori, hot foots it home; Nina's battened in her room. The future looks grim. This first feature is prone to over-emphatic contrasts: from the Croatians' Independence Day feast, for example, the camera travels to the Maori feast over the fence like an equal opportunities arbiter. And stylistically, there's an element of schizophrenia: painting a kinetic ad-style gloss over sombre realism tends to trivialise the director's evident concern to escape the confines of conventional drama. That said, the film gets by on its energy and self-belief. Arahanga has an easy, uningratiating charm, and Serbedzija, a bit of a cartoon bastard as written, gives a discomforting power to his role. (The music includes so-called 'Croatian Barbecue Songs' and work from the Taokotaianga Cultural Group.

Release details

Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gregor Nicholas
Screenwriter: Gregor Nicholas, Johanna Pigott, Jim Salter
Cast: Rade Serbedzija
Aleksandra Vujcic
Julian Arahanga
Marton Csokas
Madeline McNamara
Zhao Jing
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