Native Perspectives- #Film #Review: “Matariki” (2010)

matariki 1copyTagline: “In the darkest night the stars still shine.” 

Director: Michael Bennett

Writers: Iaheto Ah Hi (story), Michael Bennett (story)

Review:

At times a little disjointed, “Matariki” is the story of how lives can coincide just through one senseless act then overlap and metamorphosize into a new network of connections.

Everyone has their struggles, their strengths and weaknesses in this “slice of life” drama, and we see a common thread of wanting and needing love, of belonging, of being accepted for who and what they are. Sometimes it works out, at other times it doesn’t, but more often they just don’t really know what to do and things just happen. They keep trying, however.

Each of the actors believably portrayed their characters: a gay couple wanting to be accepted by their families, a young couple with a baby imminently due that neither wanted in the first place, a mentally challenged man whose dog is his greatest friend, and a couple of teenagers just wanting to get away from the rules and misunderstanding with their parents. The central focus is the act of violence that has left a Maori former sport star in serious condition. Never having felt accepted by his family, his Anglo wife remains at his bedside faced with a heartbreaking decision that she feels she should not make alone. Continue reading “Native Perspectives- #Film #Review: “Matariki” (2010)”

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#Native Perspectives- #Film #Review: “The Last Saint” (2014)

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Tagline: “Sometimes doing right means doing wrong.”

Special Notes: Debut feature film from the director.

Director/Writer: Rene Naufahu
Stars: Beulah Koale, Calvin Tuteao, Joseph Naufahu
Production Companies: Imaginex Studios, The Reservoir

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Release Date: August 28, 2014

Plot: “Minka is a teenage Polynesian boy living in the heart of the city. With his P-addicted mother well on the way to going completely off the rails, three people enter his life – each with a promise – each with the power to destroy.”

Review:

“Minka lives in a home where his mother obviously loves him, but who suffers from emotional and mental disorders due to domestic violence and intergenerational trauma. She has long attempted to self-medicate through substance abuse, triggering episodes where she terrorized and abused her son leaving him traumatized as well. Like many children in such homes, however, he is deeply devoted to her, serving as a keeper, a parent, his own childhood lost through having to take care of both her and himself, a lonely existence.

When his long absent father Joe returns offering him work, his mother having used all their funds on drugs, Minka accepts, not knowing what it really involves. Soon, the reality of the ‘requirements’ hits hard, leaving Minka between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place’. While he might gain a sense of belonging through the gang and attempts at ‘normalizing the family, the ‘live skills’ Joe attempts to teach him and the casual, terrible violence and aggression often involved makes him question where will it all end. When tragedy occurs, Minka finds the answer for himself.

Continue reading “#Native Perspectives- #Film #Review: “The Last Saint” (2014)”

Native Perspectives: #Film Review “Bone Tomahawk” (2015)

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“Four men set out in the Wild West to rescue a group of captives from cannibalistic cave dwellers.”

Writer/Director: S. Craig Zahler

Released: 23 October 2015

Starring: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins
To read the full review of “Bone Tomahawk”, please visit my profile at IMDb:

“Russell, Fox and Jenkins give realistic, believable portrayals in their roles. Facing danger and death with the stoicism and dry wit historically attributed to many European settlers, as well as the historic though understated bigotry towards any non-whites one character voiced. Russell was on-point, his expressions and reactions excellent as Sheriff Hunt, and his “back-up” deputy Chicory played by Richard Jenkins and he had personal dynamics that really made the film.

Deaths were very, very graphic both visually and audibly in a stark brutally simplistic way. There is nothing of comedic horror in this film, of absurdity or “bloodshed for fun”. The setting, the “reality” of their situation were harsh and horrific in the exact sense of that word, and though tagged as “horror” in genre, it’s not one I would personally apply. While I didn’t care for the typical “settler heroes” vs. “savages” theme, the comment by a Native American in the film, “Those are not MY people!” provided some relevant clarity and truth that all indigenous are not homogeneous, in past or present. Continue reading “Native Perspectives: #Film Review “Bone Tomahawk” (2015)”

#Indigenous #Film Festival 2015 in Rostock #Germany: We’re Back!

We’re excited to announce that we will again we’ll be giving a workshop at this year’s,  “Tage des indigenen Films” (Day of Indigenous Films)  in Rostock, Germany in cooperation with elements e.V. The event lasts from 16-20 November. Our workshop will be on Tuesday the 17th. Films we will specifically review are Disney’s “Pocahantas” (and […]

Covering Berlinale 2015: “Kuma Hina-A Place in the Middle”

Photos were taken by me at the premiere of “Lone Ranger” here in Berlin, 2013. For more information, please read my article at Indian Country Today Media Network. 2015 is the 65th year for the film festival, and I’ll be covering the premiere of “Kuma Hina: A Place in the Middle” a documentary by Emmy […]