Every culture has its stories and its heroes. For the Māori, the men of the 28th Battalion are legendary. These were soldiers who owed no allegiance to a national flag, but fought and died in the thousands amid the Second World War because they were warriors at heart.
Numerous books and films have been made commemorating the Māori Battalion, who fought the Axis forces in Greece, North Africa and Italy. TAMA TŪ is the first dramatic film that tells this story, but it is not a typical, sombre war story. In this early short, internationally renowned filmmaker Taika Waititi uses historical reconstitution to give humanity and depth to the portrayal of Māori soldiers.
Rifle in hand, six Māori infantry soldiers are posted in a bombed-out house facing a German stronghold. Amid a long, absurd and fearful wait, they respond with a form of their own resistance: with traditional knowledge, humor and solidarity. Communication within the group is reduced to gestures, jokes, games, and mute haka challenges. As they try to distance from the reminders of war around them, a tohu (sign) brings them back to the world of the dying and the darkness of war.
Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!