Viewport width =
July 14, 2008 | by  | in Film |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Ross Kemp on Gangs

Trust a British soap star to brilliantly encapsulate the fuckedness of Aotearoa’s gang culture, while simultaneously getting our national history completely wrong. Ross Kemp, former East Enders star, manages to draw out a series of amazing terrifying interviews from members of the Mongrel Mob. Perhaps they deigned to talk to him because he looks like a hard bastard; it also helps that the film cannot be shown in New Zealand. However, while it’s fascinating and almost impossible to look away from – even when they’re discussing their love of gang rape and violence – this doesn’t make it a perfect documentary. Much of the footage is pointless and not fully explained, and the voiceover gives the documentary a bizarre, detached feel.

However, Kemp manages to get New Zealand history and Maori culture entirely wrong. He describes conflict between Maori and Pakeha as ending in 1840 with the signing of the Treaty, even though the New Zealand Wars continued for many decades. Kemp has a thin understanding of Maori culture, striving to link falsified Maori warrior traditions to the current gangs. Although it is unfortunately common for Pakeha observers to describe Maori as “once were warriors”, this is a fairly lazy description because Maori were lots of things – to quote the late Irihapeti Ramsden: “Once were gardeners, once were astronomers, once were philosophers, once were lovers.” These gangsters think of themselves as Mungies rather than Maori; they are ignorant thugs, and although Kemp largely takes their word at face value, it is the disturbing tales they tell that make this film worth downloading.

It’s a remarkable, disturbing look into to a world which, although close in physical proximity to our own lives, is lightyears away from the way in which we live them.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. Your silent cries left unheard
  2. How it Works: On the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill
  3. Is Vic Books Missing Out on the Living Wage Campaign?
  4. Jesus Christ Super-Nah, Saviour’s New Political Party May Need Miracle
  5. Issue 12 – Friendship
  6. SWAT: Friendship Column
  7. Inevitable Entanglement
  9. Liquid Knowledge: On Israel and Palestine
  10. An Ode to the Aunties

Editor's Pick

Burnt Honey

: First tutorial of the year. When I open the door, I underestimate my strength, thinking it to be all used up in my journey here. It swings open violently and I trip into the room where awkward gazes greet me. Frozen, my legs are lead and I’m stuck on display for too long. My ov