08 May 2015

Win or lose, at the end of the day it was a game of two halves

So I still don't know exactly where Reporoa is, but after seeing this well-made New Zealand documentary by Christopher Pryor and Miriam Smith following its rugby team through an entire season in the rural league, I learned that farming looks like bloody hard work, farmers swear like absolute tartars even in front of little children, and by Christ they don't half drink enormous amounts of piss.

Seriously though, this is a marvelous glimpse inside the life of a group of amateurs who play, bond, drink, boast and crack wise without the camera ever seeming to be intrusive. The crisp black and white photography is sumptuously beautiful as it lingers on dawn fields wreathed in mist, the backs running their passing drills under floodlights, or a young buck dejected at a clubroom spurning by a rural femme fatale. The relationship formed by the filmmakers allowed them the closest possible access to their subjects, and the filming never felt intrusive. And by the end, jaded city folk might even come away thinking that farmers are almost human!

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