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11 Ratings


New Zealand, 2017


A sisterhood of Māori female directors bravely share their insights into the complexity of child abuse, in a sequence of eight short films that seamlessly become one. At the centre of their stories is Waru, a boy killed at the hands of a caregiver.

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Critics reviews

The framing and all-natural lighting, lacking the requisite time for more nuanced set-ups, miss opportunities to clarify the story or deepen the characterizations; some actors would have profited from multiple takes. But Waru is a feat nonetheless, gaining in potency what it sometimes forsakes in polish.
December 27, 2017
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I can imagine this slender movie (it runs less than 90 minutes) functioning as a large and generative foundation for an entire course whose scope might include: cinematic form, Māori culture, indigenous representation, feminism, and national counter-history. The experience of watching it felt absolutely monumental to me because it was working on all these levels.
December 08, 2017
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It offers a rare justification of the long-take aesthetic, elevating a by-now overused technique from a gimmick into something more vital. The washed-out look of the digital cinematography heightens the sense of grief. . . . Beyond its formal ingenuity, Waru is a clarion call for Maori culture (and New Zealand as a whole) to heal itself in the face of a national crisis. In this supremely empathetic film, one small death looms large over everyone and everything.
September 10, 2017
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