Once Were Warriors

Topics: New Zealand, Domestic violence, Low-angle shot Pages: 3 (990 words) Published: June 23, 2013
1. “Forget the big players in the world; it is the people in the margins of our society whose stories are most compelling.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? Respond to this question with close reference to one or more text(s) you have studied.

The Heke family that feature in the ground-breaking New Zealand film from 1994, ‘Once were warriors’ directed by Lee Tamahori are clearly a family living on the margins of society. They live in a state house next to a busy and noisy motorway in South Auckland, New Zealand. Their story is undoubtedly a compelling one: an abusive husband with a love of beer drinking and parties who gains respect from the use of his fists at the local pub; a long-suffering wife who has somehow managed to hold the family together through an obviously tumultuous 18 year marriage; a disillusioned older son who flees the dysfunctional household to join a gang; a pubescent daughter who is the de-facto mother of the family; another son who has gotten in with the wrong crowd and is committing petty theft and two younger children, Polly and Huata. Director Lee Tamahori uses a range of camera and sound techniques, dialogue and compelling themes to teach us about the dangers of excessive alcoholism and moving away from our ancestral connections.

Jake ‘the muss’ Heke is a compelling protagonist. After being laid off from his job, he uses his redundancy money to bring home seafood for his family. We are initially positioned to see him as a loving and caring family man, that is until his wife Beth discovers he has been laid off and sees her dreams of buying their own home go out the window. Jake is a man of excuses who sees the dole as being “only 15 bucks a week less than my wages” and bursts into a tirade of abuse when his wife Beth resists his sexual advances after discovering the truth. Jake also excuses his own propensity for violence when he says, “Look when I get like that, get out of my way, but you’ve got to get...
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