The Patriarch – Lee Tamahori-2015

The Patriarch (original title Mahana) is a 2015 New Zealand movie, directed by Lee Tamahori and based on the novel “Bulibasha: King Of The Gypsies.” by Witi Ihimaera.

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Mahana is the tale of a king whose power, till that moment historically undisputed, is questioned. He will, indeed, not only lose his kingdom but also his subjects.

It is the awareness awake, individual first and then collective, that the established and imposed order is much more fragile that what is thought and, as a consequence, subvertable.

Tamihana Mahana is the domineering father of a traditional Maori family where he benefits of total devotion and obedience from sons and grandchildrens.

At the same time, on the other hand, he has to deal with time changes, the impact of modernity and western society (we are in the beginning of the sixties), the courage and the critical spirit of his youngest descendant.

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Love is a side theme of the whole movie. The young character appears as a modern Romeo whose adolescent infatuation for the daughter of the rival family,Poatas, is obstacled.

Once again his stubbornness will lead him not to give up, not only satisfying his desires but also making some family’s (Tamihana) skeleton in the closet come to light.

Here we have a umpteenth evidence of how someone’s private and personal life can be affected by the clan decisions. In this model the single components seems to be deprived of their specificity and individuality and considered only in relation to the society and the role they play in it. The family seems, in that terms, to be more a metaphor of the all system then a contextualized institution.

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One of the element of interest of this movie is the director of photography: Ginny Loane. She is one of the few female cinematographer, signing 6 features movies and 17 shorts.

Finally the effort made to draw near the Hollywood universe an extremely situated story, both geographically and culturally,might results a little bit contrived.