Classic Kiwi films: Awakening the sleeping dogs

I recently watched Sleeping Dogs again – the  library has the video, C. K. Stead’s book Smith’s Dream, and the soundtrack, which is heavy on Murray Grindlay.  While some aspects have naturally dated, much of the film has stood the test of time – a testament no doubt to the book, and the skill of director Roger Donaldson.

I’m thinking The Quiet Earth will be next. Or should I choose another Kiwi film?

Which New Zealand films have stood the test of time for you? Or are they all too cringeworthy?

20 thoughts on “Classic Kiwi films: Awakening the sleeping dogs

  1. Polly 20 July 2010 / 1:52 pm

    I’ve always loved Heavenly Creatures.

    • richard 20 July 2010 / 2:29 pm

      Good film – like the Christchurch scenery and the old vehicles. The Frighteners was more my thing though 😉

  2. Simone 20 July 2010 / 2:07 pm

    Milk is my favourite ever kiwi film. Another fav is Stickmen – wish I could track down the soundtrack for that one.

  3. Donna 20 July 2010 / 2:21 pm

    Do watch The Quiet Earth, I rewatched it last year on a Kiwi movie jag. Nothing quite like the sight of Bruno Lawrence in a nightie having a shoot up. Also watched Smash Palace and Sleeping Dogs again …

    My favourite is The Scarecrow.

    The feature films on DVD is a good list of top Kiwi movies.

    I think I need to rewatch Utu and Desperate Remedies …

    • Mo-mo 20 July 2010 / 2:57 pm

      Desperate Remedies is completely mad but has the best nude scene featuring a Kiwi actor ever, namely one Kevin Smith (RIP). Hotter than a gusty nor’wester in February…

      But back on topic ‘Boy’ will stand the test of time, I think, because it’s eighties backdrop is already dated (like a pair of stonewashed jeans).

      • Donna 20 July 2010 / 4:32 pm

        Could Kevin Smith be the most unlikely name for a love god ever?

      • Mo-mo 20 July 2010 / 4:43 pm

        You’re right, Donna, but Colin Firth doesn’t drip with heat either, does it?

  4. mj 20 July 2010 / 4:10 pm

    Two of my favourite mainstream kiwi flicks are The Price of Milk and The World’s Fastest Indian.

  5. bernice 21 July 2010 / 4:36 pm

    I recently took Smash Palace out and watched it for the first time (it came out when I was travelling and I never caught up with it). It too had stood the test of time, being something of a universal story.

  6. tewp 23 July 2010 / 12:17 pm

    And you can’t go past West Coaster (her parents ran a fish shop) Gaylene Preston whose “Mister Wrong” is a very clever thriller and who did a very good TV adaptation of Sonja Davies’ “Bread & roses” plus the two she made about her parents in World War II.
    The worst NZ film I can recall (and it went straight to DVD) was a repellent horror film called “The ferryman” with Kerry Fox. The craziest is one made on location in Auckland (Parnell and Remuera stood in for a small Midwestern town which must have dented their pretentions). Called “Dead kids” (and also “Strange behaviour”)it had Americans & Aussies in the cast it was a horror thriller that actually thrilled.

  7. Donna 23 July 2010 / 12:23 pm

    Thanks tewp – “Mister Wrong” – I was racking my brains the other day to remember that movie, all I could recall was a curly haired redhead and a car. That is it!

  8. richard 23 July 2010 / 2:14 pm

    Gaylene Preston has an impressive collection of work. I remember enjoying Perfect Strangers – But Mr Wrong looks like a hoot!

  9. Michael A 23 July 2010 / 2:22 pm

    “Bad Blood” captures the paranoid claustrophobia of the West Coast with brilliance – you can understand how the landscape drove the murders…

  10. Marion H 23 July 2010 / 7:58 pm

    So right about Mr Wrong! I actually saw a dvd on it for sale in a Rangiora Take Note last week.

  11. Drew 25 July 2010 / 11:40 am

    The Piano for my choice. Harking back to the hardships and resulting endurance of our ancestral roots during the nations colonial settlement era. Excellent depiction of our most enchanting natural environments. An enduring work.

  12. richard 26 July 2010 / 9:45 am

    So I read The Quiet Earth over the weekend – couldn’t face Bruno in a nightie. I’m thinking I might try some Vincent Ward next

  13. luka 23 March 2011 / 4:26 pm

    hello….milk has to be my favorite..it’s and charming..and of black sheep..where i live we don’t have kiwi movies…i wish we did….

  14. Slammerworm 11 May 2011 / 7:08 pm

    We also make enjoyably ‘bad’ movies, too. Try ‘Down By The Riverside’ or ‘The Ferryman’ (both 2007) with a mate or two and add beer.

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