Broken English [1996]

Genre: Drama, Romance
The producers of the internationally acclaimed drama Once Were Warriors return to the familiar themes of race and identity with this story of culture clash and racism. Aleksandra Vujcic is the frustrated grown daughter of Croatian patriarch Rade Serbedzija, who has relocated his family from the war-torn former Yugoslavia to his wife's homeland of New Zealand and supports his clan by smuggling drugs. While the strict father clings desperately to the way of the old country, the rebellious daughter begins dating Julian Arahanga, a handsome, hunky Maori she meets at work, and reluctantly agrees to marry a Chinese coworker so he can remain in the country, a volatile combination that draws the hateful wrath of her racist father. Director Gregor Nicholas's steamy, modern Romeo and Juliet relates familiar themes in an unfamiliar setting, which he paints in vivid, colorful detail. This explosive drama falls just short of the mark set by Once Were Warriors (perhaps an unfair standard to hold it to) but succeeds in creating a richly realized set of cultures and exploring the destructive forces of hatred. --Sean Axmaker

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