Rain of the Children(2008)
Vincent Ward's film unravels and re-imagines the story of Puhi, the Tuhoe woman he documented in 1978 for his early film In Spring One Plants Alone. Then she was 80 and caring for her schizophrenic adult son, and Ward was 21, a young art student capturing her way of life. While not the subject of his earlier film, Puhi believed herself to be cursed, and this unknowable curse is what preoccupies Ward now.
Puhi, he discovers, was chosen by Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana to marry his son, she survived the 1916 police raid on Rua's Maungapohatu community and went on to have 14 children. Cutting between early footage, his own to-camera narration, contemporary interviews with Tuhoe descendents, and recreated historical sequences; Ward reveals both the heartrending background of Puhi's belief in the curse, and her lasting power over him. [Source: Sydney Film Festival 07]
BY Flicks Writer
And find out more he does, unearthing a very tragic tale. Puhi (who would eventually have 14 children in total) was ordained to marry the son of Maori prophet Rua Kenana. Stately and long haired, Rua Kenana attempted to revitalise his people after the New Zealand Wars. He called himself the Messiah, likening their plight to that of the Israelites. He created an amazing settlement that housed up to 1,000 followers at Maungapohatu, which he called 'New Jerusalem'. Puhi's life - her husbands, her children's tragic fate and the subsequent belief in a curse - is weaved through these historic times.
I mention all this, because I was so intrigued with the story and found it hugely insightful. The characters and the historical backdrop are just so damn interesting.
The film uses a whirlwind of archival footage, photographs, awesome re-enactments (in which Ward's unique visual flair is on show), and interviews with descendants and historians. Ward may be guilty of over-playing things, or forcing a narrative. For instance, Puhi's 'narration' voiced by Rena Owen sits uneasily and seems to put words in Puhi's mouth (especially when juxtaposed against actual footage of her). But such irks are only slight distractions to the film's bold and imaginative presentation. Like the audience enjoys discovering this story, Ward is enjoying telling it. He unfurls it like a campfire tale, and it's consistently captivating.
Rain of the Children corners and captures a specific part of history and, perhaps more importantly, a specific part of our culture that isn't obvious nor well known. I've been recommending it to everyone.
The Peoples' Reviews
Your rating & reviewRate / Review this movie
Rate and/or review
Rain of the Children
everyone who works in health would benefit greatly from this movie, in all my years of training and the experiences ive had as a mental health nurse there are so many of our people who are misinterpretted, misjudged, misdiagnosed and mistreated, a truly beautifully captured film to be proud of, the best
Showing 5 of 16 reviews. See all reviews