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neumu
Saturday, April 19, 2014 
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Cinematronic by Michael Snyder
Film
cinematronic
  Whale Rider cinematronic
  director

Niki Caro

cast

Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis

year

2002

rating rating cinematronic
  With its feisty young heroine and mystical trappings that suggest magical realism, the New Zealand export "Whale Rider" brings female empowerment to the patriarchal traditions of the Maori. It's a lovely, moving drama that balances spirituality, whimsy and feminism amid exquisite terrain. Writer/director Niki Caro set "Whale Rider" in modern times, even though it's wrapped up in ancient rituals. Koro (Rawiri Paratene), aging leader of a Maori seaside community, seeks the next chieftain to guide the tribe. A chosen one, identified by heredity and capability, is said to emerge with each generation. The next in line is Porourangi, Koro's oldest son (Cliff Curtis), a vagabond artist with no interest in the gig. It should then fall to Porourangi's child, a resourceful girl named Paikea after the legendary whale rider who guided the tribe to New Zealand's shores. But her stubborn, sexist grandfather Koro refuses to acknowledge her as the obvious choice. The cast, professionals and amateurs, never falters, no matter how ethereal things get. Ultimately, the film's success relies on the appeal and believability of the actress playing Paikea. Given the pivotal role of Paikea, the gifted Keisha Castle-Hughes carries the day.  
cinematronic
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