Whale Rider
Directed by Niki Caro, New Zealand 2002
101 mins. English and Maori dialogue with English sub-titles
Based on the novel of the same name by Witi Ihimaera, the film stars Keisha Castle-Hughes as Kahu Paikea Apirana, an orphaned twelve-year-old Maori girl who wants to become the chief of the tribe. She is feisty and radiates with life and energy. It's no wonder that her grandmother and the entire community love her but, alas, the grandfather she worships believes that the role of the chief of the tribe is reserved for males only.
What the Critics say:
"Like a breath of fresh South Pacific air, director Caro combines classic themes with a little-seen cultural perspective to come up with an uplifting crowd-pleaser."  (Colin Kennedy - Empire Magazine)