The last three days of Hawai’i Film Festival and I finally got to make it to the first movie I have been wanting to watch, since I was flicking through the 2016 HIFF Program Guide, last week in class. The Patriarch is a reminiscent story of the Maori people in the rural areas, around 1960’s. The family drama is portraying the battle for supremacy in between two sheep-shearing families whose deep truths for power and prestige goes beyond the tangible, materialistic things and is more of a connection of egos, love, hope and deep suffering.
The story’s preface is the dominant presence of the grandfather and the passive, obedient behavior of everyone else in the family, in a very hard working modern family at that time. The representation of men in the family was done in a very strong, yet classy and high class manner. From the youngest one in the family, Simeon, to the most powerful and proud figure, Tamihana, their presence is not just a respectable one in the community, but they are all handsome and dress incredibly well. Mahana’s status was definitely a dominant one, it was about making sure that people know who they are and that they are in control. Making the money and provide wealth for themselves was a must among the men of that family.
The one thing that captured my attention was how beautifully women were portrayed in the movie. Three generations of female energies were represented through strength, self- respect and loyalty. Simeon’s mother was the typical, genuine image of a strong, caring mother and a devoted and supporting wife. In some of the most critical situations, where they got banished from Tamihana’s land and her husband’s accident, she showed so much courage and perseverance in what being through thick and thin with someone means.
The pastoral sceneries were beautifully shown through the use of cinematographic effects, where the richness of the colors is taken away. The desaturated colors matched the content of the movie perfectly and added a splash of a more dramatic, intense feel to it, communicating emotional ideas to the audience.
The Patriarch was definitely a great choice, I would love to watch it again and go deeper into the history and the culture of the indigenous people of New Zealand.