Premiering at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival, Smash Palace was the second feature of Roger Donaldson following the success of Sleeping Dogs, a film which had heralded the arrival of the New Zealand New Wave.
Smash Palace concerns itself with the marriage of former racing driver Al (Bruno Lawrence, The Quiet Earth) and French-born Jacqui (Anna Jemison, Nomads). The pair had met when she nursed him back to health following a career-ending injury. They married, returned to Al’s native New Zealand to take over his late father’s wrecking yard business – the Smash Palace of the title – and had a child. But over time stagnation has set in, Jacqui’s resentment of Al has grown, and things are threatening to spill over…
Playing out as a darker, more haunting New Zealand variation on such US separation movies as Kramer vs. Kramer or Shoot the Moon, Smash Palace offers a brilliant, vivid messy portrait of masculinity in crisis, driven by Lawrence’s immense central performance – once again confirming his status as one of New Zealand’s finest actors.
High Definition (Blu-ray) presentation
Original mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Commentary by writer-director Roger Donaldson and stunt driver Steve Millen
The Making of Smash Palace, a 51-minute documentary on the film’s production featuring interviews with Donaldson, actor Keith Aberdein, filmmaker Geoff Murphy and others
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Ian Barr, a contemporary review by Pauline Kael and the original press book