Monday, August 22, 2011

5 groundbreaking Māori DVDs (as picked by Wairoa Film Festival director Leo Koziol in Mana magazine's 100th issue)

List by Leo Koziol, director of the Wairoa Film Festival

My dad is from Nuhaka in the Hawkes Bay area, although he spent his childhood growing up in the Wairarapa region on family land. My experience of the Wairarapa family home is from summer holidays spent there: miles from anywhere, longdrop toilet, cows wandering the paddock, a creek down the back for bathing (in the mornings), fishing (during the day) and eeling (by night). My memories of a visit to Nuhaka are hazy. I was a child so what I remember is coloured by sentimentality, a longing for 'home' (which is rather ambiguous when you're Māori, after all, home is any one of a myriad of places I whakapapa back to), and a distinctly unsettled and constant feeling I have that I need to go back more often. But like I said, being Māori means that I have that same feeling of 'loss' when thinking of Wairarapa, Wharekahika (Hicks Bay), Kaikoura and Waimanoni (the various places my grandparents all come from). Dad and I had made plans to head back to Nuhaka earlier this year to help plan for a whanau reunion, unfortunately his ill health prevented either of us from doing so. I've decided, though, that I'm going back next year on my own and have made tentative plans to set aside some time to take in the Wairoa Film Festival. The festival, which began in '05, is held on Queen's Birthday Weekend every year in various marae in the Hawkes Bay region, and is a great way to see NZ films by both up-and-coming talent and established directors/writers. I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't told my siblings of my plans, though, for a couple of reasons: 1) I'm worried they might want to come with me and yet 2) I'm also worried that they might not want to come with me. Either way, I hope to visit my grandfather's marae and mountain and river and, hopefully, feel a bit more settled afterward. And yes, I'm absolutely aware of how airy fairy and whimsical that sounds. Although, maybe not so much when I consider that my paternal grandfather was raised with some scary-spooky tohunga-type beliefs/practices that he refused to pass on to his children (that I managed to hear about, anyway, and which, I might add, scared the stuffing out of me).

I do have an explanation for how this list idea came about and, as usual, it's as convoluted as you've probably come to expect from me. Back in June I read Mana magazine's 100th issue (with its very distinctive cover) and even recommended it in a post (specifically Top 5 items I took out that are totally worth sharing). There were a few articles in that particular issue that caught my eye, although it's one in particular that I'm going to concentrate on today. At the time I read the magazine, I made a mental note to add Koziol's five most groundbreaking Māori films of all time as a list to this blog. Unfortunately, my self-notes to 'add a mental note' are like my promises to old friends and family to 'catch up': well-intentioned, heartfelt at the time, and forgotten as soon as the person is gone from my sight. Which was what happened with this list *shamefaced look* So, finally, two months later here it is: 5 groundbreaking Māori DVDs, as picked by Leo Koziol, director of the Wairoa Film Festival. And maybe if you're in the area at the same time, we'll bump into each other.

Extra note: Koziol lists six films in the Oh Boy! article. Unfortunately, we do not hold a DVD copy of the Maori Merchant of Venice.

Ngati [DVD videorecording] / directed by Barry Barclay ; produced by John O'Shea ; written by Tama Poata
A young Australian man arrives in a small New Zealand seaside town which is the spiritual home of local iwi. He's to meet family friends who know more about him than he knows about himself. He will also meet his daughter, and their relationship at first will be stormy. He will meet a taciturn Māori whose 12-year old son is mysteriously ill. And he will learn about a public crisis which threatens the survival of the town. The young man watches the closeknit community come together to deal with theses upheavals. Then suddenly everything becomes personal. He makes a discovery about himself that change the rest of his life. Starring Wi Kuki Kaa, Judy McIntosh, Ross Girven, Michael Tibble. Music by Dalvanius. In English, some Māori with English subtitles. Rating: PG - Parental guidance recommended for younger viewers. NOTE: Contains low level offensive language.

Once were warriors [DVD videorecording] / directed by Lee Tamahori; screenplay by Riwia Brown ; produced by Robin Scholes
Beth Heke is still very much in love with her husband Jake, but she is also becoming aware that his continuing violent behaviour is destroying her and her family. Starring Rena Owen ; Temuera Morrison ; Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell ; Shannon Williams ; Taungaroa Emile ; Julian Arahanga ; Mona Boynton ; Poto Smith ; Cliff Curtis ; George Henare. Based on the novel by Alan Duff. First released as a motion picture in 1994. Rating: R16 - restricted to persons 16 years and over unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Contains violence.

Whale rider [DVD videorecording] / written and directed by Niki Caro; produced by Tim Sanders, John Barnett and Frank Hubner
As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Māori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu, his grand-daughter, has to fight his authority and a thousand years of tradition to fill her destiny and save the tribe. Starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis. Based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera. Winner of the People's choice award at the Toronto Film Festival, winner of World cinema audience award, 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and winner of Canal and audience award at the 2003 Rotterdam Film Festival. Rating: PG - Parental guidance recommended for younger viewers.

Two cars, one night [DVD videorecording] / written and directed by Taika Waititi ; producers, Ainsley Gardiner, Catherine Fitzgerald
While waiting for their parents in the carpark of a rural pub, Romeo, 9 and Polly, 12 learn that love can be found in the most unlikely of places. Starring Rangi Ngamoki, Hutini Waikato, Te Ahiwaru Ngamoki-Richards, Waka Riwai, Dion Waikato. Rating: G - Suitable for general audiences.

Day 507 by Merata Mita in Toru tekau tau = Thirty years [DVD videorecording] / a Mita, Narbey, Pohlmann Production
A documentary account of the action by police and troops against Māori activists occupying Bastion Point in Auckland, which had become a symbol of Māori resistance to the loss of their land.

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