Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
On the east coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who escaped death when his canoe capsized by riding to shore on the back of a whale. From then on, Whangara chiefs, always the first-born, always male, have been considered Paikea's direct descendants. Pai, an 11-year-old girl in a patriarchal New Zealand tribe, believes she is destined to be the new chief. But her grandfather Koro is bound by tradition to pick a male leader. Pai loves Koro more than anyone in the world, but she must fight him and a thousand years of tradition to fulfill her destiny.
An interesting look at another culture....the Whangara people from the east coast of New Zealand. Who believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who rode a whale. Keisha Castle-Hughes, in an Oscar nominated performance, is outstanding....even more impressive for a 11 year old at the time of the making of the movie. Beautiful locations to see...as well as a touching grandfather/granddaughter storyline.
This never interested me when it came out, and I would've never watched it if it didn't crop up on the telly late last night.
I was aware of Keisha Castle-Hughes' Oscar nom, and she does perform well, perhaps lacking the wow factor worthy of a nomination.
A Maori village "led" by an old man stuck in traditions of yore, is disappointed his son only had a daughter and not the son needed to continue the line of chiefs.
It is evident the daughter is just as good a possible reciprient of the "throne" though, and everyone can see it but the old man.
And thus the story goes.
You all will know how this pans out in the end, but the whales were pretty spectacular.
As with any NZ film I think I've ever seen, Cliff Curtis appears now and then in a story a bit too eager to tug at your heartstrings, but overall well acted and paced.
Some films are like a fantasy. A folklore in a sense.
Whale Rider is New Zealand's Māori's fairy tale.
Whale Rider is about Kahu Paikea Apirana, a girl who wants to become the chief of the tribe. Her grandfather Koro believes that this is a role reserved for males only.
It is a very feminist film, which makes sense since it was adapted and directed by Niki Caro, a woman.
But instead of just shoving her feminist voice in our face, Caro makes us care for Paikea. She makes us understand her situation, and the unfairness of her unability to become the chief of the tribe just because she is a…
Beautiful and endearing. A modern day fable that made me cry.
Twelve-year-old Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is the only surviving heir to the chief (Rawiri Paratene) of a Maori tribe that is losing touch with its traditions. As a girl, however, she is not qualified to assume this position. Pai feels a tremendous load of guilt and responsibility toward both her people and her stern grandfather as a result--she feels that she can be the kind of leader her people need if only she were given a chance. This fine film explores the tension between the necessity and inevitability of change as well as the importance of respecting tradition.
The cast of this film is magnificent. Castle-Hughes gives the finest performance by a child actor that I have ever seen--even better than Sean Nelson in "Fresh." Her Pai seems completely natural, strong yet vulnerable. Paratene and Vicky Haughton, who plays Pai's grandmother, also deserve special mention.
This is solid all the way through, but the "hero journey" arc feels overfamiliar and sometimes a little too simple. It is enlivened by the culture in which the story is set in and some strong performances. 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes earned that Oscar nomination with an amazing scene in which she delivered an emotional dedication to her grandfather (whom is rejecting her place as tribe's leader because of her gender), and by being a lively through-line to the whole story in general. It has one quite rousing climax too.
March Around The World 2015 Challenge - New Zealand
Female Directors Challenge #2: Niki Caro
It's a quietly beautiful film, chronicling the coming of age of Paikea, the heir of a New Zealand tribe who just happens to be born of the wrong gender and her quest to be accepted by her more traditional grandfather. It is a wonderful and heartbreaking reflection of what it means to remain faithful to who you are as a person and as a people even in changing times and seasons. And here of course Niki Caro's thesis is simple, one can embrace the new without betraying the old. In less deft hands that message might come across as ham-fisted, but Caro's direction is sensitive and the characters in the story are all given…
30 Countries in 28 Days: 6/30
New Zealand, South Pacific.
Set in Whangara on New Zealand's North Island, Whale Rider is a story about Maori lineage and a young girl's (Paikea) rise to prominence in a tribe. Years before, her mother and twin brother died during childbirth. This left her tribe with no direct male descendant to a legendary ancestor who rode to Whangara on the back of a whale after he was stranded at sea. Tribal rules stated the chief had to be male, and given that Paikea's father would later marry a German woman and move away the tribe had to look elsewhere for their next leader, even as the young girl showed promise.
The film is adapted…
All the mythology presented in "Whale Rider" is powerful, if a little bit clunky. But deep beneath the surface of a Maori/New Zealander riding a whale, lies the story of a young girl desperate for, and deserving of, the love and respect of her traditional and gruff grandfather.
It's a small-scale epic, if such a thing is possible. The girl, Paikea (Castle-Hughes), looks like a ten-year old Jennifer Beals, and she has a maturity that adds believability to the story, adding weight to what would have otherwise simply been an indie National Geographic piece.
It is a study of how most hardline traditionalists eventually must cave into feminism, in the movies anyway. Even still, it takes a literal miracle for Pai's grandfather to accept her as worthy of being THE Whale Rider.
I liked the movie, but wasn't blown away by it. I think it's a very good story for young teenage girls, with a very positive female protagonist.
New Zealand is beautifully captured in this film about a girl looking to fulfill her destiny while her grandfather denies it. But it is not the landscape that is captured well but the mentality of a tribe now modernised, looking to a reincarnation of Paku - a man of their tribe who long ago was the whale rider - returning to them modern day to save their family from any suffering or slump. But the reincarnation turned out to be a girl - taken the same name. And the grandfather just cannot accept her.
Well, it is the road to his acceptance of her that the film follows, and while it is slow, is made gracefully and rarely bores the…
Based on Witi Ihimaera's 1987 novel The Whale Rider.
A movie that opened my eyes to a culture I was just starting to learn about. Beautiful cinematography. Wonderful score by Lisa Gerrard. This has become on of my favorite films.
My second viewing, this time with the fam. Castle-Hughes is most of the reason to watch this, but then there are so many more. I love the complexities of the grandfather's character. A great film about families and fathers and sons and daughters. Also, buy the soundtrack.
A good little coming-of-age story. Although the storyline isn't that original, this is an uplifting and well-made film with a fine performance by the 11-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes. Also an interesting peek into the Maori culture.
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