This Gaylene Preston comedy was a Kiwi hit, uplifting recession-era audiences with its tale of resourceful misfits living by their wits. Ruby (Yvonne Lawley), an 83-year-old trying to dodge a retirement home, rents her downstairs flat to Rata (Vanessa Rare, in her screen debut) — a solo mum with sidelines in music and benefit fraud. Rata's son is into shoplifting and fires, and What Now?'s Simon Barnett plays a hapless yuppie wannabe. In this excerpt, Ruby meets Rata — plus unexpected guests. Marginalised by market forces, the trio may find common cause despite themselves. Graeme Tetley (Vigil) wrote the script.
Ruby and Rata is a 110-minute riposte to anyone who claims that New Zealand cinema is dour and grim.– Author Hamish McDouall, in his 2009 book 100 Essential New Zealand Films
Made in association with the NZ Film Commission
Presented with thanks to the Aotearoa/New Zealand Film Heritage Trust – Te Puna Ataata
Rata's songs sung by Vanessa Rare, and performed by Simon White, Dave Clark and Tony Gallagher
'Sick & Tired' adapted from a song by Bob Brannigan, and performed by Vanessa Rare and Russell Gowers