Posts Tagged ‘Whale Rider’

WHALE RIDER – Lisa Gerrard

June 6, 2003 Leave a comment

whaleriderOriginal Review by Peter Simons

Despite winning both the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, Whale Rider is a little known, and even less seen film. Based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera and directed by Niki Caro, it slowly and beautifully tells a mythological story of the Whangara people of New Zealand. Debutante Keisha Castle-Hughes stars as Pai, a young girl from a rural community in modern New Zealand. According to tradition, Pai’s family, the Whangara, are directly descended from Paikea, the legendary leader who arrived in their country on the back of a whale thousands of years ago (in Maori mythology, the whale is said to be a guardian spirit who watches over his people at sea). Every generation, the first born son of the bloodline is destined to become chief of the tribe. However, Pai’s older baby brother died at birth, leaving her the sole heir to the chiefhood, and Pai’s loving but stubbornly traditional grandfather Koro (Rawiri Paratene) refuses to accept that a girl can be their leader. Sensing that hers is an important position, and acknowledging her heritage, Pai embarks on a quest to prove that she can undergo the rigorous training that will allow her to take her rightful place as head of the Whangara people. Read more…