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SCARFIES

New Zealand (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Robert Sarkies

The title is local slang for students at Otago University in Dunedin where a scarf was once a compulsory part of the uniform. Five Scarfie squatters take up residence in a dilapidated house to take advantage of free rent and electricity. Soon after moving in they discover a thriving indoor marijuana plantation in the basement which they promptly sell for $50.000, a fraction of its worth, to some decidedly shady goons.

When the enraged 'owner' of the crop arrives on the scene, our intrepid drug barons lock him in the basement and postpone a decision as to what to do about the situation until after a crucial rugby match involving the local team! As a solution fails to present itself—with the hostage becoming more of a handful that anticipated— relationships amongst the housemates deteriorate.

The prime element in making the film's script so engaging is the fresh, blackly funny dynamic among the five inexperienced criminals. With a range of personalities in play and numerous opinions on the worsening scenario developing, tempers and passions flare. A marvellous debut and a cracking comedy.

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