A Maori warrior comes upon the aftermath of a battle to find that the only survivor is a wounded enemy soldier. His wishes to avenge his fallen countrymen by finishing off this helpless enemy but the gods won't allow it (as conveyed to him through a spirit bird). Anguished that he must instead treat the soldier's wounds, he's further repelled by the soldier's incessant homosexual advances. Slowly and surprisingly, a change comes over the warrior to accept the soldier's advances, but the war all too soon intrudes upon them. Written by
That the director manages so adroitly to handle his material suffusing narrative with anthropological commentary, erotic sarcasm with a post-colonial sense of no exit, and the simple male-to-male recognition while preserving the important sense of inherent antagonism, usually depicted (if at all!) as antagonism between the sexes rather than between the lovers as such, is nothing less than a singular achievement. The maker of this short knows how to make love stay outside agendas.
The raw import of the love between the two men, and how its shortness is accessed, by making the two men's otherness elliptic (and perhaps more cunningly the white male's, so that his opaqueness in the end rhymes with white guilt and delirious beauty - the glimpse of his erection -, and makes Toa's chirpy talkativeness a sad affair in the end), must make it some sort of a legend.
Lovebird chirps is the name of the game, love plays the game, and love is the prey of gods.
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