Last night I saw Whale Rider, which is an amazing film from New Zealand. Based on a novel by Witi Ihimaera and directed by Niki Caro it tells the story of a Maori girl and her family as they live their lives and try to reconcile their traditional and personal roles. It’s a gorgeous film that is very moving with a fantastic performance by Keisha Castle-Hughes as Pai. Only 11 years old when they shot the film, she is perfect as a strong female character that is sadly rare to see in most mainstream films. The entire cast is solid and the film captures the complicated relationships and stresses that exist in families without descending into melodrama.
It’s a good sign when films like this start making their way into smaller theatres as the wave of loud, expensive, and empty summer movies make their way out of the theatres and allow for some great films to show up. It’s a good film also to get me ready for the Atlantic Film Festival which starts up next week.