January 20, 2006

Whale Rider

Since Little Britain was out of stock at the video store, we got Whale Rider instead. A "spiritual tale", which set off my alarm bells but hey, since it was a New Zealand movie, I thought I should have a look.
If you have seen this film outside New Zealand I presume you know next to nothing about Maori culture (many Maori say that even whiteys in New Zealand know nowt about it). So I'm a bit apprehensive what sort of message you would get from this film what Maori is all about: sexism, family breakups, violence, poverty, all mixed in with religious and ancestor-based hocus pocus.
Not a good look, really, and it all begs the question whether all this is thus worth preserving, or worse, reviving? I guess that's a question applicable to all social systems that place more emphasis on preserving the social order of male dominance and peddling spiritual claptrap, in order to prevent progress, social justice and, basically, a way out.
If you are inclined to tut-tut any attempt to reform traditional culture, please bear in mind that refusing to sit in the back row as a female at Maori events and protesting about it is a sackable offence.
If you wondered what Maori culture is like without the spiritual component, but with the preservation of the sexism and male violence, try Once Were Warriors instead.

Totty award: Roimata Taimana (Hemi's dad, in those fabulous vinyl trousers. Way to go, mate!)

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