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Taika Waititi, 2010
New Zealand | English | 87 minutes
Inspired by his Oscar-nominated short, Two Cars, One Night, Taika Waititi's Boy is set in 1984 in a rural Maori community on the east coast of New Zealand. At the center of the story is eleven year-old “Boy” (played by newcomer James Rolleston), a high-spirited adolescent obsessed with American pop culture—especially Michael Jackson—and prone to particularly vivid fantasies about his long-absent father, (played by Waititi), whom he imagines as an adventurous world traveler. When his father returns, Boy discovers, instead, a lovable loser who has been serving a seven-year sentence for robbery, and inveterate schemer whose daydreams are no more grounded in reality than his son’s. Confronting the enormous contrast between the father he longed for and the one he has, Boy crosses the threshold into adulthood, proving himself both strong enough and smart enough to live a better life than his dad’s. Incorporating dream sequences, fantasies, and animated renderings of children’s drawings come-to-life, the film also boasts three elaborate musical numbers, based on Michael’s Jackson’s indelible music videos of the era, giving this award-winning film a distinctive visual dimension that conveys the unique way in which Boy sees the world.