2 items from 2016
Halfway through The Patriarch (Mahana), young Simeon (Akuhata Keef) is enjoying a trip to the cinema that he’s fought hard for. His grandfather, Tamihana (Temuera Morrison), who rules undisputed over his extended Maori family, sees him as insubordinate and certainly would prefer the kids don’t “waste money on make-believe.” But Simeon loves westerns, and a town screening of 3:10 to Yuma is too good to pass up. Yet even Glenn Ford and Van Eflin’s march towards that train platform is derailed by intrusions from the real world, with a member of a rival family riding a horse into the cinema and an unexpected kiss opening up new perspectives in the ensuing confusion.
It’s a brief moment of autobiographical fun for director Lee Tamahori, who sprinkles bits of his own New Zealand upbringing on top of this adaptation of Witi Ihimaera’s novel Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies. »
- Tommaso Tocci
Seen through the eyes of a Maori teen on the brink of manhood, “The Patriarch” plays like a classic Western as it proudly expands the still-limited canon of essential films about New Zealand’s tribal people, telling of a young man who dares to stand up to both his domineering grandfather and The Man at a time when equality and respect were in short supply for natives. Adapted from “The Whale Rider” author Witi Ihimaera’s most personal novel, “Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies,” this well-crafted (and wisely retitled) 1960s family saga marks a return to Maori roots for “Once Were Warriors” helmer Lee Tamahori, who went off and made a series of blockbuster action movies, including “Die Another Day” and “The Edge,” before landing in director jail with “The Devil’s Double.” What better way to regroup than by tackling such a sincere homage to his homeland, which blends »
- Peter Debruge
2 items from 2016
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