We Were Dangerous
We Were Dangerous
We Were Dangerous
We Were Dangerous

We Were Dangerous

Dir. Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu / 2024 / 82 mins / New Zealand / English / Victorian Premiere

Executive-produced by Taika Waititi, this fiercely feminist Māori-led debut is an emotive subversion of the ‘coming-of-age delinquent’ narrative.

The oppressive expectations placed on young girls in the 1950s are the catalyst for this thrilling kids-on-the-run drama. Having finished classes extolling the virtues of British colonisation and walking with a stack of books atop their heads, three students at an all-girls school in New Zealand plan a daring escape that falls tantalisingly short. Their cohort from the School for Incorrigible and Delinquent Girls is then shipped off to a deserted island – a former leper colony – where there is seemingly no way out and obedience is the only answer. Or is it?

Far from the bleak period drama audiences might expect, Māori filmmaker Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu’s debut is imbued with a wicked sense of humour and exuberant hopefulness. The film’s stunning Ōtamahua (Quail Island) locations make for a rugged balance to the more light-hearted dynamic between the girls, while the performances from Rima Te Wiata (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) as schoolmistress and from Erana James (The Wilds) and Nathalie Morris (Petrol, MIFF 2022) as spirited pupils are sublime stand-outs. A rousing tour de force, We Were Dangerous will set ablaze audiences’ passion for solidarity and societal change.

“A hopeful – sometimes borderline exuberant – rallying cry for girls to stick together across the various divides that people use to disempower them.” – IndieWire