Broken English


Time Out says

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 con?nes of conventional drama. That said, the ?lm 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.


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