Playwright and film director Toa Fraser (Dean Spanley) turns his attentions to the action-adventure genre with The Dead Lands, a Maori language UK/NZ co-production.
Set in New Zealand’s pre-colonial days, Fraser’s lean and violent tale of Maori warfare centres on Hongi (James Rolleston), a Maori chieftain’s teenage son. Hongi must avenge his father’s murder in order to bring peace and honour to the souls of his loved ones after his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery. Vastly outnumbered by a band of villains, and led by Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka), Hongi’s only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious “Warrior” (Lawrence Makoare), a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years.
Both bruising and thrilling, The Dead Lands was selected as New Zealand’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for this year’s Academy Awards.
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