Sunday, August 11, 2013


Tania is a Maori, a blue eyed blonde Maori. She works the night shift at a South Auckland petrol station run by Rog and looks after her sick mother during the day. She and her younger brother Pi are saving money for a trip to Surfers to visit their dad and the fun parks there. While Tania has the "work ethic" Pi goes to pick kiwifruit in Te Puke but finds work too boring. Back in South Auckland a new regional manager, Dean, has shown up, and keeps showing up. Dean is a little too full of himself and provides most of the comedy moments in the film. For instance: trying to teach Tania how to smile at customers and the V drinking dare.

Fantail is a New Zealand film, so it is not all laughs on the night shift. There has to be a dark side. Even though it was well signalled in retrospect, judging from the comments during the Q & A afterwards, most of us were taken by surprise. Hats off to writer / actor Sophie Henderson and first time film director Curtis Vowell for a well executed twist.

Fantail was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission's Escalator scheme for feature films with a budget of up to $250,000. This isn't a big, flashy film, nor is it a high-brow art house film, but it makes you laugh and think and deserves to be seen by a wider audience than a single showing in each main centre.

Ian's rating 3.5/5 Anne's rating 4.5/5

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