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R15: contains violence, offensive language and drug use

Spoiler alert

This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this movie.

Fantail poster

Date registered: 15/06/2013

About the film

Fantail is a New Zealand feature film about a young woman, Tania, as she saves to visit her father in Australia, and her adolescent brother, Pī, who descends into a lifestyle of crime when he moves to Papamoa to pick kiwifruit.

Tania works the graveyard shift at a petrol station, saving money to take Pī to Surfers Paradise to find their father. The station's regional manager, Dean, trains Tania in store security, and the two become attracted to each other.

A still image from the film - Tanya looks out through the door of the petrol station

Classification criteria: Sex

Tania dares Dean to kiss her, and then to have sex with her. They kiss against a corner wall of the store and begin to undress. Dean stands topless while Tania stands in her bra and jeans. The couple lie down on the floor and kiss before the scene cuts. The scene is nondescript and has little impact.

A still image from the film - Tanya and Dean together in the store

Classification criteria: Crime

Depictions of crime are normalised within the characters' lower socio-economic lifestyle, and appear stereotypical of the Māori and Pacific Island characters. One scene depicts 'P' use in such a clear-cut, instructional manner that it carries risk of imitation. The scene is brief but heralds that this form of drugtaking is easy, if one can procure the drug in the first place.

This message, however, is balanced with negative consequences that a mature audience will grasp. The scene illustrates the extent of the dark place Pī ends up in when he gets involved with the wrong crowd. The scene preceding his fatal attempted burglary sees him clearly stressed and in a bad state of mind, reflective of the negative side effects of drugs.

A still image from the film - Pī and his mate messing about on the petrol station forecourt in a shopping trolley

Classification criteria: Violence

Under matters of violence, some scenes have a threatening tone as customers intimidate Tania. Fatal violence is presented when Tania kills Pī in self-defence. The scene is emotionally charged as Tania realises she has killed her brother; she is distraught. His blood covers her arms as she cradles him. This is the strongest scene of the film and is likely to be upsetting to children and some younger teens.

A still image from the film - Tanya in front of the petrol station in the setting sun

Classification criteria: Highly offensive language

Characters casually use 'fuck' and its derivatives in colloquial language. The casual usage tends to have a normalising effect, which younger viewers may replicate inappropriately. Highly offensive language is also used in a violent and disturbing way and this is likely to be distressing for children in particular.

A still image from the film - Tanya practicing twirling poi while at work

Decision summary

The dominant effect of the film is a 'close-to-home' tale of a young woman trying to make a better life for herself and her family, that ends in tragedy. It deals with social and cultural issues of value to a New Zealand audience. The film has educational appeal for its issues of cultural identity, and is likely to be widely distributed to New Zealand audiences.

The film warrants restriction due to matters of crime, violence, and offensive language. Depictions of theft are brief and inexplicit, and illustrate Pī's downward lifestyle. The clarity of instruction into 'P' use is likely to encourage imitation in vulnerable minds, which is of concern given the prevalence of 'P' in New Zealand. However, portrayals of the negative consequences of theft and drug use would in fact be beneficial to an older teenage audience, but no younger.

The severity of violence when Tania kills Pī is likely to be upsetting to children and some younger teens. Furthermore, the extensive use of offensive language is likely to adversely affect impressionable younger viewers who may emulate inappropriately and/or or be highly disturbed by it.

Considering these factors, Fantail is restricted to an audience ages 15 years and over. Considerations under s3 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 have been weighed against the relevant provisions of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. A restriction to older teenagers and adults is considered reasonable in order to prevent likely injury to the public good. This also realises that the film will have significant value to New Zealand audiences, including older adolescents.

Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.

R15 label
R15: contains violence, offensive language and drug use