Two Cars, One Night

Sometimes first love is found in the most unlikely of places, like in the car park outside the Te Kaha pub

Genre: Drama

Length: 11:20

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Producer/s : Catherine Fitzgerald, Ainsley Gardiner

Director/s : Taika Waititi, 

Writer/s : Taika Waititi, 

Actor/s : Rangi Ngamoki, Hutini Waikato

 

Boy meets girl

Kids learn through play. When they fight with lightsabres, it doesn’t mean they are learning to kill, it means they are learning to assert themselves. When they insult a member of the opposite sex, they are playing at navigating the rock-strewn waters of romance.

Two boys wait in a car, outside a bar as their parent drinks. Another car rolls up, and a girl is left in it. The oldest boy (13 maybe) shouts insults, gives her the finger, and she gives it back. He creeps up below the window-line and tries to scare her. Doesn’t work, but they start talking.

There’s a hint of danger – these kids shouldn’t be left alone after dark – but they have confidence. It’s semi-autobiographical, because Waititi spent many hours, like them, in pub car parks.

The film was Oscar nominated, and Waititi clearly has a way with directing kids, which was applied in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. And his brand of offbeat humour (seen in Thor Ragnarok) comes through, particularly when the boy talks about his younger brother being gay, and how he’s going to be a rich lawyer “You’re allowed to be gay when you’re a lawyer, eh?” The brother agrees, deadpan.

Not a lot happens, but this is a snapshot of a crucial moment. The thematic clues are the boy’s name, Romeo, and the plastic ring that Polly plays with, the love-token. She doesn’t mean too much when she gives it to him, but he’s already told her he wouldn’t sell it.

Her dad returns, and Romeo says “I guess this is it then,” like the affair is already dead. He says “See you around,” but we doubt that. The pair will learn more about relationships starting and dying, but Romance 101 was here.