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Film / Two Cars, One Night

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Two Cars, One Night is a 2004 short film (11 minutes) from New Zealand, directed by Taika Waititi.

Two Māori children, 9-year-old Romeo and his brother Ed, are sitting in a car outside a pub in Te Kaha, New Zealand. They have apparently been left there to sit while their "olds" (parents? older siblings?) drink and socialize inside the pub.

Another car pulls up in the parking lot. Left in that car is a feisty 12-year-old Māori girl named Polly. Romeo, unable to pull Ed's nose out of his book, starts yelling at Polly, but she gives as good as she gets.


  • Aerith and Bob: The two brothers are named Romeo and Ed.
  • all lowercase letters: The opening title pops up onscreen as "two cars, one night".
  • Blatant Lies: Challenged on how old he is, Romeo claims to be 16. When Polly expresses disbelief, Ed chortles and says Romeo is nine.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Shot in black and white for that arty independent film look.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Romeo tells Polly his name is Romeo, she laughs, and he tells her indignantly that it isn't funny. Then she points at Ed and says "Who's that, Juliet?".
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Let's hope it wasn't that long that the kids were left to sit in cars while their elders drank at a bar.
  • Flipping the Bird: Romeo, obviously desperate for attention, calls Polly ugly and flips her the bird. A short while later Polly calls to Romeo saying she has something to show him. He looks, and she flips him the bird. Romeo seems to gain respect for her after this.
  • "Pan from the Sky" Beginning: The first shot has the camera pan down from an undercranked shot of the sky, to the tavern and the car that Romeo and Ed are in.
  • The Quiet One: Ed, who sits and quietly reads his book while Romeo bounces around and looks for attention. When asked what it's about, Ed says "Crazy Horse". (It's actually about the Fetterman Fight, in which Crazy Horse and company laid a trap and then annihilated 81 U.S. soldiers. Ed has some pretty esoteric tastes.)
  • Slice of Life: Not much happens, really. Two kids hang out in a car outside a bar, one makes a new friend, the end.
  • Tribal Face Paint: Traditional Māori facial tattoos. Romeo is impressed by the badass-looking guy with facial tats that makes eye contact with him while leaving the bar.
  • Undercrank: Used to show the people and cars flitting in and out of the bar at high speeds while the car with Romeo and Ed stays put.