Whale Rider

Whale Rider
Film Review by: Witney Seibold

Whale Rider
            It is part of the Maori culture to be displaced. According to heritage, all Maori started at a different place, a homeland, and, ages ago, were removed from where they were and placed where they are now. By keeping the People and the leadership alive, they may, one day, return home. Keeping this in mind helps enrich Niki Caro’s new film “Whale Rider,” a film about a young Maori girl who seems destined to break the patriarchy and other traditions, and her grandfather who insists on keeping traditions alive.
            Paikea (Keshia Castle-Hughes) is the surviving half of a pair of fraternal twins, the male of which was destined to carry on the leadership line. Her mother also died in childbirth. Her father Porourangi (Cliff Curtis) was named her after the first one of their people to come to this place. Koro (Rawiri Paratene), Paikea’s grandfather still feels let down at the fact that Paikea is a girl, despite how close he’s grown to her in the 12 years of her life. When Porourangi announces that he’s seeing a new girlfriend – a German – Koro is outraged. He decides now to train the young firstborn sons to be the next potential chief, ignoring Paikea. Paikea prays and calls out to the sea, understanding that she deserves just as much as the boys to be chief. Koro seems to miss that she is more spiritually attuned, responsible, brave and capable than…, well, than even himself.
            Castle-Hughes, in her first film role, is incredible. She’s a skinny little girl, but displays confidence and wisdom. Not precocious or cheeky, nor the type to spew forth hackneyed proverbs allowing the adults to realize what they’re missing, she’s merely, well, more attuned, I guess. Paratene give an equally wonderful performance as the frustrated elder. Most impressive about this film was how it engulfed us so completely and with such ease into the culture of this small town on the East Coast of New Zealand; It did not once feel alien. Thus, thanks to the ease and the calm, it became a profoundly spiritual experience for the audience as well as the characters, not to mention deeply moving.

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Published in: on June 3, 2009 at 6:35 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. heey im in love with keisha casle hughes i want to have a baby with her and sleep with her and have S E X with her


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