Re: [-empyre-] speaking of film..

on 14.1.05 05:24 PM, Danny Butt at wrote:

> Thanks Melinda for raising  NZ film, which I think opens a number of
> productive questions of relevance to new media arts production.

Danny, minor correction, no big deal, it was me who raised film on 12.01.05
as follows:

>>The first time I really got some idea about the nature of Maori culture was
>>when I saw the film Whale Rider and read Witi Ihimaera's book. I don't know
>>how this is seen in New Zealand by the Maori people or by the white
>>population. How racist tensions effect your views, I don't know what the
>>reaction was over there. I only know that it gave me an insight that I found
>>engrossing, hungry for more.

I had another reason for raising this film, that of the female, particularly
young females as the main protagonists in a story. I have a 13 yr old
daughter, Lillian, reads a book a day, more if there are some available,
plays great soccer, a joy to be with.
She really connected with Keisha Castle­Hughes in Whale rider, other stories
that have appealed to her (and me) with strong female leads have been Ellie
in John Marsden's Tomorrow series (7 books with further vols coming) and
Lrya in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, which looks like being
a film soon, Tom Stoppard wrote the first screenplay but looks out of the
pic at the moment.

All of these female leads are very strong characters, for a growing girl
like Lillian great role models, interesting role models.

Strangely enough I've been writing a young adult sci fi trilogy over the
past couple of years, still a long way to go. The main protagonist is also a
young female. I think it was my daughter who formed the main motivation for
this project.

I really liked Witi Ihimaera's book, particularly the way he wrote about the
whale rider mythology, if that is the right way to express it, I feel that
mythology isn't quite the right expression/word for what he wrote about. It
was a very powerful image that he presented of the first whale rider, very
moving and fairly typical of shamanistic practice, death and rebirth.

Lillian has a huge range of blood ancestry running in her veins, negro,
german, english and on my fathers side french, spanish and irish. She has if
you like an international genetic heritage and her culture comes from
everywhere, what she gets from reading these books, seeing the films is
values, a spirit of being, a huge range of ideas about possible worlds, she
takes all this into her future life.

I am grateful for good stories and well made films that do this.

> This is perhaps sharpened from having just left India where Bollywood cinema
> seems to open similar questions about culture, authenticity, anti-colonialism,
> genre and transnational capital. Of course I know next to nothing about
> Bollywood cinema outside of the economics (and even there not much) so I won't
> comment on that, though I'd be very interested to hear from others. But it was
> interesting that on my Singapore Air flights, featuring 60 movies "on demand",
> about *20%* of the screens where watching The Whale Rider, which was in the
> "favourites" category!

I wonder how much this has to do with who the audience was, what
nationality, cultural background? Did this affect their connectedness with
the film ...

- - - - 


Barrie Collins, Carl and Lillian Frieden-Collins

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