Rain of the Children Rural kid'S REVIEW

Gloomy and exploitive

A disappointing movie from a film-maker reknowned for his dark portrayals of the landscape and people in New Zealand Aotearoa. Vincent over-dramatises almost every scene with dingy grainy footage that does nothing to capture the beauty of the Urewera's or the people who live there. As somebody who grew up in rural landscapes, very like the ones that appear in this film, I was dismayed but not surprised to see that Vincent Ward has once again managed to extract the worst in everything that he sees and force his dispiriting view on subjects and audience alike. In one scene after he has visited and filmed Puhi, he leaves the poor woman so distraught that she is reduced to chopping wood against the grain in a state of dejected melancholy. Where many New Zealanders who have lived rural lifestyles might have felt a sense of nostalgia for the old houses, huts and enamel utensils that Ward attempts to film - Ward somehow succeeds in removing all vestiges of rustic charm and replaces fond memories with bleak and cruel renditions bathed in tinted film stock that filters out all traces of warmth. Be warned - "Rain of the Children" is depressing. Perhaps as a film student Ward was inspired by miserable renditions of Van Gogh's life story and thought to style himself as an equally miserable artist. Such a pity that he chose imagery more befitting Edward Munch than Van Gogh's warm rich canvases that generally featured far more cosy tones in spite of hardship.