A Film Can Be Entertaining And Deal With Serious Issues At The Same Time. How Is This Revealed In The Film 'whale Rider' Directed By Niki Caro?

1366 words - 5 pages

Based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera, Whale Rider is an uplifting and entertaining film that tells the story of a small Maori tribe, living on the east coast of New Zealand in Whangara, who appear to have lost all sense of faith and interest in the traditions and beliefs of their culture. The Whangara legend of the 'whale rider' dates back many years to when the legendary Maori hero, Paikea, appeared on the back of a whale and established their Maori tribe. Now, over one thousand years later, the current generation of the Maori tribe are struggling with the pressures of the modern world and are in desperate need of a strong leader to help inspire and guide them. They lack enthusiasm and in order to prevent the total loss of this culture, a new leader is needed to be recognised to lead the people back to understanding the importance of the existence of their culture. Koro, the elderly chief of the tribe, understands the need for a new leader - someone who will re-awaken the tribe and renew its lost strength and identity. The leader appears in the character of young Pai, played by Keisha Castle-Hughes, Koro's beloved grand daughter. However, Pai fails to be recognized as the new leader as she is a girl, and her Maori tribe is still very much dominated by the notion of a patriarchal society.Whale Rider is an entertaining film consisting of all the main features of a typical, popular movie, including an interesting plot and good casting. These factors help create an appeal to a fairly broad ranging audience. However, it is important to note that the film also functions on a much deeper level. Many serious issues are incorporated into the story line of the film and this additional sense of depth creates further interest for the audience. It includes such themes as the changing role of women, the conflict that exists between generations, our relationship with the natural world and the importance of an authentic culture. These themes are successfully conveyed throughout the film through narrative elements such as setting and character, and through various film techniques. Whale Rider effectively incorporates both realistic and mythical elements into the story and this also creates interest for the audience. Throughout the entire film, the audience is kept entertained and although Whale Rider is a seemingly light hearted film, there is much that can be gained from an understanding of the serious issues conveyed through the text.The changing role of women is an important issue presented in the film Whale Rider and is conveyed most effectively through the character of young Paikea. From a very early stage in the movie, the audience recognises Pai as a suitable leader to help save her Maori community. However, her position as a female means she can not be granted this opportunity and her potential is ignored. Women in this community were marginalised because of the strong existence of a patriarchal society however Pai marks a change in the traditional role...

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