Whale Rider Film Techniques Essay Examples

Whale Rider Essay

Every culture has it’s own traditions and many of the times these traditions are broken when new generations are born. In the film Whale Rider depicts a culture in transition. The Maori, the native Polynesian people of New Zealand, are looking for a male descendant of Paikea the brave leader who escaped death on the back of a whale to lead them and restore the traditions. Koro Pai’s grandfather has been waiting for the first born of the new generation who should be chief. Unfortunately the tradition was broken when Pai’s twin brother passes away. What Koro does not understand is that Pai is the leader everyone has been waiting for.
The people from Maori have been waiting for a long time and many have lost hope and are leaving the village. The culture has also become unhealthy for example, when Pai comes home and notices that the women playing cards at the dinner table have been smoking. Pai states, “ Maori women have got to stop smoking, we have to protect our childbearing’s.” This quote helps to show how the women do not care about their health and just smoke. Another example when Pai goes to her uncle Rawiri’s house to ask if he can teach her taiaha, the uncle is just lying down being lazy with his wife smoking. By the uncle being lazy he has gained weight and is not slim as before.
The families of Maori have also become ruptured for example; when Hemi goes up to present his father only stays for the first part and then leaves with his friends. By Hemi’s father leaving his presentation early, Hemi feels upset he really wanted to show his father what he has learned about his culture. Another example is how Pai’s father leaves Pai with Koro while he’s in Germany pursuing his career as an artist. Pai’s father leaves her because he doesn’t believe that there is a leader anymore and shows that he does not want any part of the culture.
Koro insist for a male because he’s stuck in this tradition that does not exist anymore. Koro’s high standards make him look stubborn and that is why he pushes Pai away from him. For example, in the beginning when Koro goes to see the baby boy and tells Nanny to take Pai away from where he is. Nanny insists on making him acknowledge his granddaughter and hands Pai to him to carry her. He explains to Nanny that his son can have another child. By his son having another child the tradition will continue. This shows how Koro does not...

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Niki Caro directed the film 'The Whale Rider'. She has used a number of cinematic techniques in this film to create atmosphere and sometimes show what the character is feeling. These three well-used techniques are camera shots, lighting and sound and dialogue. By using these techniques Niki has created a film that is emotionally connected to the viewers.

Firstly, Niki Caro has used lighting incredibly well in this film. For some scenes in the film the lighting effects used gives us an insight into the character's mind or the mood of that particular scene. For example when Koro walks out of the house and finds the whales stranded on the beach it was at nighttime. This appealed to me greatly. It is very dark and eerie so it implies that something bad has happened. She cleverly makes this incident continue right to morning. When the sun rises it suggests that it the worst was over.

But it was a gloomy day though; I think her purpose was to show that most of the whales that have beached were going to die. She has definitely used lighting well in this film.

But with the lighting alone, a real, dramatic atmosphere cannot be created. So Niki Caro uses background music and dialogue to add feeling to the film. For example at the night when the whales beached there was slow and sad background music accompanied by the sound of the whales crying out into the night. As slow music is played at funerals it is usually thought that something dreadful has happened. Using this combined with lighting gives the watcher the definite idea that something bad has happened. In the scene where Pai is giving a speech about her deep love for her grandpa she was crying. This shows us...


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