Intercultural Communications Essay

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Whale Rider is a contemporary fairy film, which depicts our celebration to our spiritual bond together with our natural environment. In particular it shows the celebration of our spiritual bond with the ocean, and its creatures the whales. It has its basis on a Maori legend, transcends local space and time. The film evokes concerns as to the relationship that exists between human with the natural world. It also depicts the role women play in the spiritual traditions as can be seen in the story of Pai (Keisha Castle Hughes) who is eleven years old. The tale takes place within the heart of Maori tribe. It is filmed on authentic tribal property in Whangara on the east coast of New Zealand North Island. There is participation of the Ngati Konohi elders and other members of the tribe.

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Therefore, when a group of whales is washed near the shore their destiny is metaphorically connected with the survival of the tribe. As can be seen from the film the conservatism and rigidity of the male dominated traditions makes the tribe to be disintegrated. Even with the support of his people Pako is cannot save the whales. There is mourning of the revered creatures and tribes mythical lifeline. There is no one in from the tribe who dares to envision what is to come in future. The luxurious photography which is taken underwater and enhanced by digital effects and models together with the energizing rhythms of performance, editing and sounds depicts the transformation of Pai into a whale rider. Pai’s body works together with the ancient creature. His soul makes communication with creature’s awareness. She is able to awaken the dying whale ride ion its back and guides the herd to go back to the depths of the ocean.

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She shows depth of character as she simultaneously quest for equality. She is also aware that her grandfather would not be willing to make her acquire her desires because of his strong attachment to patriarchal values. Her close relationship with her grandmother who lived a life that is universally recognizable to Americans provides warmth and support to Pai in her quests for equality (Leonard, pg 15-22). The film has is thrilling as it unfolds seamingly with Maori music and rituals which bridges the spoken language. Whale Rider never becomes a saccharine because it is partly a straight tale and also partly a gripping mystical fable. Just like in many modern films the music and the Maori songs complement but do not compete with the dialogue which is a welcome change in films. The film whale rider has a different and a more powerful approach. In the film there are no whites and there are only children t-shirts and some music which comes from a boom box that suggest the encroaching force of the majority who had control (Rountree, pg 98-99).

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