starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis
screenplay by Niki Caro, based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera
directed by Niki Caro
RIVERS AND TIDES
directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer
by Walter Chaw The images in Niki Caro's second film, Whale Rider, are so heartbreakingly beautiful that at times the narrative diminishes its mythic gravity. It resembles John Sayles's brilliant The Secret of Roan Inish not only in subject, but also in the understanding that film has the potential to be the most cogent extrapolation of the oral storytelling tradition. When the picture's young protagonist sings an ancient Maori song to a dark ocean, there is an indescribable power to the film that springs from firelight--what we've lost in modernity as orphans to our collective past.