Canadian Sport Film Festival 2017: Our Review Of ‘The Ground We Won’

Canadian Sport Film Festival 2017: Our Review Of ‘The Ground We Won’

For the men of rural New Zealand rugby is a way of life.  It’s not just the excitement on the field that draws them but perhaps more importantly the camaraderie off the field, as well as the beer.  The Ground We Won, a documentary from New Zealand directed by Christopher Pryor, is the story of the Reporoa Rugby Club, a team made up of men who work the region’s dairy farms by day and play rugby in their spare time.

The film begins as the team, coming off of a winless season, looks ahead in hopes of turning their luck around.  It documents the difficult and sometimes brutal work the men do on their farms, comparing and contrasting it with the ferocity of their sport and the intensity of their team bonding.

It is shot in black and white which augments the haunting beauty of the landscape and weather patterns of the region.  But the movie’s real spectacle is the players themselves.  Whether they are initiating team rookies, celebrating a win or commiserating over a loss their seemingly endless capacity to consume alcohol, ridicule one another and blow off steam is a sight to behold.

It is clear that the challenge and the companionship provided by the game of rugby is an important outlet for the hardworking men of Reporoa, which the film chronicles in entertaining and intriguing detail.  If you can stomach some colourful language and frat house antics, The Ground We Won is well worth the watch.

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Galadriel fell in love with the movies when she was taken to see Superman at the age of three. Legend has it she watched the whole thing standing up with her jaw on the floor. She went on to see Superman four more times in the theatre and developed a lifelong passion for film. Galadriel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto which she parlayed into a ten year stint at Blockbuster Video and more recently a career in nursing. But some things never change – she still loves movies and counts Gone with the Wind, Amadeus, The Shawshank Redemption, La Dolce Vita and the films of Michelangelo Antonioni among her favourites. She is also obsessed with the Oscars and knows more about them than any one person should. Galadriel currently lives in Toronto with her husband and young daughter who is soon to see her very first movie in the theatre.