The Ground We Won

The Ground We Won


New Zealand’s farming community and grassroots rugby are the focus of this cultural slice-of-life documentary following a rural rugby team looking to overcome a string of bitter losses. Shot in black and white from the filmmakers behind How Far is Heaven.... More

"Rugby and farming are so heavily branded as symbols of national identity that you might wonder what relationship the images bear to real rugby-playing farmers in 2015. Confessed ‘rugby outsiders’, husband and wife filmmakers Chris Pryor and Miriam Smith hunkered down in Reporoa for the better part of a year to find out. Their dispatch from the grassroots is unsentimental, funny, and so startlingly beautiful it could reanimate your responses to an overplayed mythology.

"The pair follow the area’s predominantly pakeha rugby team at work and at play as they struggle for credibility after a string of humiliating losses. The camera takes to several willing specimens of dairy-farming manhood who open up for our entertainment and edification." (New Zealand International Film Festival)Hide

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Flicks Review

Gorgeously shot in black and white, the New Zealand depicted in The Ground We Won is not that conjured up by urbanites making butter commercials or high frame rate fantasy epics. Populated by Kiwis rather than Kiwiana, the documentary is set to enthral audiences both here and abroad as it follows the members of the Reporoa rugby team on and off the paddock, from before sunup until arguably much too long after sundown.... More

Celebrating the commonplace, filmmaking duo Christopher Pryor and Miriam Smith have captured the New Zealand that revolves around unassuming rugby clubrooms, fuelled by passion for the game, the camaraderie it brings, and lots and lots of drinking. OK, and then some more drinking.

Moments of contemplative beauty rub shoulders with vigorous forward play, training drills mirror livestock learning their way around mustering, and the juniors get their chance to shine (or sob) – all showing how interwoven these various elements are, and offering much more than your standard follow-team-through-competition tale.

This rural dairy farming community may be just one of hundreds around the country, but that’s exactly what makes for captivating viewing as The Ground We Won makes cult heroes of many of its characters. From the opening sounds of sprigs clattering on concrete and line of dialogue that drops both C- and F-bombs, there’s a seldom-seen, but often-experienced New Zealand on display that deserves to be embraced.

I’m fascinated to see how this plays to rugby-mad New Zealand-mythologising countries like France and South Africa, and further afield in general. There’s something truly special here – and not just as the film captures a team court session for what may be the first time, a young lad’s evident excitement at a clubrooms stripper, or yet another moment of inebriation. Tell you what, though – these things certainly don’t hurt.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

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BY Anne1 superstar

Why do people make movies about these sort of negative slices of kiwi life? The drinking, bad language culture has been done to death! This film was boring, not entertaining and really disappointing! I would rather watch Country Calendar! Some good black and white photography, though.

BY smileyface superstar

You have to see this doco about a slice of kiwi life embracing the footy religion in reality as compared to the often intellectual over analysing bumpf you are usually fed. I dont remember any stripper in our footy clubrooms as we didnt have the cash because it was already allocated to the booze.

BY Red superstar

The subjects really open up and reveal themselves, it's honest - perhaps disturbingly so. Recommended.

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