Jane Drew (jane_drew_) wrote,
Jane Drew

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Whale Rider

One of the things about platelet donation is that you get to watch a movie (because, well, it takes a while). Which is a nice way to get to watch films I haven't seen, although it can be very annoying when there isn't time to watch all the way to the end (which on one occasion actually led to a really fun story idea, so I'm not complaining as much...).

Anyway, the other day, I decided to re-watch "Whale Rider," which is just a fantastic, fantastic film. It's from New Zealand, present-day setting. The heroine, Pai, is 12, and is the descendent of a long line of Maori chiefs. Her mother died in childbirth, and her twin brother died shortly thereafter. Her grandfather, the current chief, took a very long time to forgive Pai for being the one who survived when her brother, the expected heir, did not. Which doesn't mean that he doesn't love his granddaughter; it just means that, well, Girls Can't Be Chiefs.

Now, everybody who has ever seen this story told anyplace else will pretty much know that one of the main points is Girls Can To. The special heir/destined child/etc. is the one who everybody has been ignoring, "Harry, you're a wizard," etc., etc., etc.

One of the many virtues of "Whale Rider" is that the film itself is perfectly aware of this-- and keeps doing subtle little things to indicate that yeah, she's the one. Not a series of big, dramatic things, just... making it quietly clear. And another neat thing is watching how the characters react, and what they do or don't notice.

Fantastic story-telling. Highly recommend it.
Tags: movies, narrative, story-telling

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