05 July 2012

Movie Review: Kawa

I have previously thought out loud about 'indigenous' experiences of sexuality. Kawa is a cinematic representation of one of those experiences through the New Zealand Maori lens. Kawariki is a married man who works as a manager of his father and father's friend's shipping business. Weeks before his father is set to retire and pass the family mantle to Kawariki, he separates from his wife because he's gay. When he tells his parents, they are adamant that they reconcile especially in light of his father's retirement. The story ambles through the problems a married gay man goes through in the process of coming out in mid-life. And of course, no coming out story would be sufficient without a handsome young man, meteing Kawa's son Sebastian.

Pana Hema Taylor as Kawariki's son, Sebastian

Maybe he looks familiar since apparently in Spartacus, he plays a middle eastern warrior named Nasir who has a gay, man-on-man thing with another white warrior (my research on this topic points me to Season 2, Episode 5).

In any event, the movie is definitely not another Whale Rider or Once WereWarriors, but it does give us a bit of the flavor or the struggles a middle-class New Zealand Maori goes through as a middle-age man, he comes out of the closet.

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