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Films: S is for...

Sleeping Dogs

Another Aussie émigré, Roger Donaldson, really put the wind up Kiwi cinema with this near-future actioner. It’s a familiar enough conceit – the islands are overtaken by a totalitarian regime, various renegade armies are formed to fight back using any means necessary, an innocent bystander (Sam Neill, in this case) gets mixed up in their insurgence while trying to avoid contributing to the bloodshed – but it’s shot in a heady style and the novelty of the locale got it an international release, and indeed became the first NZ film to screen in the US. Following on from that, Donaldson helped found the New Zealand Film Commission the following year, a funding and distribution organisation along similar lines to Australia’s.

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