The Other Side of the World is a short film that attempts to put a human face on warfare. Although set in 1918 the themes are very relevant to today’s world. Just as in today, during the “Great War”, young men travelled from New Zealand to the other side of the world to fight and die for causes that had little or nothing to do with them.
It’s 1918 and the New Zealand division is rapidly advancing against te crumbling German forces. Bill, a young Maori soldier gets his first taste of warfare when his unit is shelled, and he runs away in panic.
He finds a barn, and goes inside to find some shelter. As he enters he hears the words “Wer ist da?” (“Who is that?”) and finds himself looking down the muzzle of a pistol held by a German soldier.
The German commands Bill to sit down, and Bill realises that the German is seriously wounded. This leads to an uneasy stand-off. The German has a pistol, but he is injured and weak. Bill knows he is supposed to fight the enemy, but he doesn’t have the taste for killing. For that matter, Bill has conflicted loyalties, and doesn’t really know why he, a Maori from the other side of the world should be fighting this injured German.
The two form an uneasy truce, and despite not speaking a common language, gradually come to understand a little more about each other. However, this is a time of war, and they are on opposite sides.