Film of the Year series concludes with award-winning Whale Rider

A scene from Whale Rider. photo courtesy of RCB Film Club

RCB Film Club will conclude its "Film of the Year" series with Whale Rider (2002), a rare and remarkable film from New Zealand that won more than 30 international awards, at the RCB Forum, 2nd floor of River City Bangkok, Charoen Krung 24, on Saturday Dec 11 at 4pm.

Directed by Niki Caro, the family drama was based on a book of the same title by M¯aori novelist Witi Ihimaera and set in a village where the local Maori people claimed descent from Paikea, the "Whale Rider". In every generation, a male heir succeeds to this chief title.

The protagonist is Pai Apirana, a young Maori girl whose grandfather is the village chief looking for a new chief to lead the people. Although Pai feels it's her destiny to take on the role, he is unable to accept a girl as a future leader.

Instead, he teaches the traditional chants, rituals, and warrior techniques, to boys in the community, making sure that the new leader will soon be revealed among them.

But Pai feels a strong kinship with the whales in the water. In one of the most memorable scenes in the film, she calls out to them, and they answer. She must face a thousand years of tradition, to fulfil her destiny.

The movie won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and the Audience Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival while the 13-year-old actress who played the lead, Keisha Castle-Hughes, became the youngest actress to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Tickets cost 100 baht and can be purchased from ticketmelon.com/rivercitybangkok/newzealand. Seats are limited.

Email rcbfilmclub@gmail.com.

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