Waru (Edinburgh International Film Festival Review)

Rating:

Made up of eight stories, eight different viewpoints of Maori women in the aftermath of a young boy named Waru’s death, set around the tangi, a traditional Maori funeral rite. Each stories is directed by a Maori woman, showing delicate insight to different women’s lives and how they are affected by this tragedy. Some women are directly connected to the boy, others are presumably in the same community or, as in one film, a news reporter who challenges her ignorant white male co-anchor on his ridiculous comments.

Each story is 10 minutes in these women’s lives and each have their own problems and worries. Each story is also shot, no cuts, with the camera fixed on the woman of the story. It isn’t visually groundbreaking but the fact that it depicts multiple viewpoints of women, its becomes a powerful film that is sometimes heartbreaking to watch.

The film, directed by Ainsley Gardiner, Awanui Simich-Pene, Briar Grace-Smith, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohan, Casey Kaa, Paula Jones and Katie Wolfe, has been hailed as an important New Zealand film and will hopefully be given a wider release. The fact that this is the first feature film to made by Maori women in nearly 30 years, says a great deal about the film industry and that this film has arrived at the right time.

Dir: Ainsley Gardiner, Awanui Simich-Pene, Briar Grace-Smith, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohan, Casey Kaa, Paula Jones and Katie Wolfe

Scr: Ainsley Gardiner, Awanui Simich-Pene, Briar Grace-Smith, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohan, Casey Kaa, Paula Jones and Katie Wolfe

Prd: Kerry Warkia, Kiel McNaughton

Cast: Awahina Rose Ashby, Amber Cureen, Roimata Fox, Acacia Hapi, Tanea Heke, Miriama McDowell, Ngapaki Moetara, Maria Walker

DoP: Drew Sturge

Country: New Zealand

Year: 2017

Run time: 88 minutes