A history of the New Zealand fiction feature film is the only comprehensive account of the New Zealand feature film from its beginnings to the present. Countering tendencies to think of New Zealand film as beginning in the 1970s, Bruce Babington discloses a longer saga showing how the present, for all its difference, can only be understood through the past: Gaston Melies' New Zealand films of 1912, Tarr's Hinemoa, the first feature made by a New Zealander, early Australian film makers' use of New Zealand for an Australasian audience, the English and American made 'Maoriland' films of the late 1920s and early 1930s, and the crucial works of New Zealand film's two great father figures, Rudall Hayward and John O'Shea. Such cornerstones of the national cinema as The Te Kooti Trail, My Lady of the Cave, Rewi's Last Stand (1940), Broken Barrier, Runaway and Don't Let It Get You are analysed in detail.
Babington surveys the internationally popular films of recent years, from Murphy's and Donaldson's, through to those of Reid, Preston, Campion, Ward, Jackson, Caro, Jeffs, Sinclair, Barclay and others, along with recent low-cost digitals, and Maori feature film making, allowing the book to become a reference map of the cinema, its genres, and its preoccupations, while at the same time giving fascinating detailed analysis of important texts. A history of the New Zealand fiction feature film is essential reading for all students and followers of New Zealand cinema as well as those interested in the local post-colonial culture and its products.