New Zealand, 2015 (MIFF 2015, This Sporting Life)

Director: Christopher Pryor

Stunningly gorgeous, this is a funny, against-type tour through grassroots rugby union that offers a fresh look at both sport and manhood.

Setting up in the New Zealand town of Reporoa, self-confessed "rugby outsiders" Christopher Pryor and Miriam Smith spent almost a year ingratiating themselves into the lives of the farmers who make up the local team. As they deal with the rebound from a string of losses, Peanut, Slug, Broomy, Battleship and others are touchingly candid about their other struggles – with the responsibilities of parenthood, manhood, identity and obligations to the family farm.

Breathtakingly shot in black and white and accompanied by a classically inclined score, The Ground We Won is an unexpected and searing but humorous examination of sports culture machismo that offers plenty for enthusiasts of the game, cineastes and "rugby outsiders" in equal measure.

"A visually ravishing record … of a very Kiwi slice of life that mixes the poetic with the prosaic, the everyday with the quasi-mythological and introduces us to a memorable cast of characters." – NZ Herald

See also...


"A death-defying treat … that gets behind the swagger and investigates what drove the man to risk his life, time and time again. The documentary, like its subject, is unapologetically dazzling." – The... More »


Guts, stamina, dedication, power. You'll need all four to be crowned "Most Graceful Girl". ... In the beautiful, physically demanding and almost forgotten world of calisthenics, there is only one titl... More »


"Imagine a horse race that's part Kentucky Derby and part Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and you'll have a good idea what Italy's Palio di Siena is all about." – Time Out New York ... From the producer o... More »


Meet the Middle East's first-ever all-female rally-racing team. ... "It’s uncommon to see girls racing anywhere in the world," says Maysoon, captain of the team of women racers determined to pursue th... More »


"One of the most compelling records of sport on film … as an expression of the mind of the athlete, it is unsurpassed." – The Washington Post ... In 1964, the Japanese Government commissioned Kon Ichi... More »


"This remarkable film puts us in their shoes – literally between the world's most ferocious rock and the icy hard place of imminent death." – Hollywood Reporter ... In the tradition of Kevin MacDonald... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director