|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Production country:||Neuseeland 2016|
|Running time:||Approx. 103 min.|
|Rated:||From 12 years|
Tamihana Mahana (Temuera Morrison) rules his family with a strict hand in New Zealand in the 1960s. Only his hardness, iron will and deep rootedness in old Maori traditions have enabled him to give his children and grandchildren a quite prosperous life. After all, the Mahana Clan is one of the best and most successful sheep shearers on the North Island. And therefore, despite some unpleasant rules, there is no reason to rebel against Tamihana. Only the 14 year old Simeon (Akuhata Keefe) has his own head and gives his grandfather some answers. Of course, the strict patriarch does not like that at all, which is why he treats the boy with particular severity. When one day a quarrel between the two escalates and Simeon's mother takes her son's side, the family's proud façade begins to crumble and a long-kept secret is revealed&.hellip;
With "Mahana - A Maori Saga" director Lee Tamahori returns to his roots after his time in Hollywood ("James Bond - Die another day"). Based on the autobiographical novel "Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies" by Witi Ihimaeras ("Whale Rider"), the New Zealander has staged a gripping family story that can convince with a gripping story and a no less captivating visual language. Surely, dramaturgically little new ground is broken here. Anyone who has ever seen a family epic will rediscover many familiar elements here. However, Tamahori perfectly understands how to package the well-known set pieces in such a way that you are absolutely tied up from the first to the last minute.
Simon's grandmother's terrible family secret is revealed in the scene where Tamahori proves extreme finesse. This sequence could easily have been striking. But he translates it so artistically that it seems extremely stirring and touching precisely because of what it does not show. It's such elegantly staged moments that make this movie so well done despite a certain predictability. The great actors, the nice music and some small scenes full of refreshing lightness also contribute to the overall positive impression at the end.
You could blame the movie for seeming a little old-fashioned. But for this story, the very traditional and really timeless narrative style that Tamahori chose is perfect. With his rather small film in comparison to his Hollywood works, he has created great cinema in every respect, which is made visually and dramaturgically simple for the big screen. Who likes epic narrative cinema and appreciates moving family stories against a grandiose natural backdrop should not miss "Mahana - A Maori Saga". Absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp