I’ve been in a dry spell lately, movie-wise. Haven’t seen anything in the theater or on DVD since Tropic Thunder a few weeks ago. And as a result, this blog has been dedicated almost entirely to the Song of the Day (with the occasional aside on the presidential race).
To remedy that and show a little love to my true passion — movies — I’m introducing an occasional series on ‘Great Scenes’ in cinema.
My first choice is a scene from 2002’s Whale Rider, a lovely film about a young girl’s struggle to break out of patriarchal bonds in a Maori tribe in New Zealand. The girl, Paikea, survived as a baby while her twin brother died and as a result has broken the lineage that was supposed to result in a male savior for her people. Nobody is more aware of this imbalance than her grandfather, who loves Paikea dearly but refuses to accept that a girl might be the leader his people need.
In this scene (which is actually two pieces of the same scene spliced together, cutting out a bit of interrupting action), Paikea delivers a speech for a school recital. She dedicates it to her grandfather but realizes as she’s about to start that he didn’t show up.
Now I never cry at movies, but this film, and this scene in particular, chokes me up every time.
In one of the smartest moves in Academy Awards history, Keisha Castle-Hughes was nominated for Best Actress for her tremendous work in this film. I have little doubt it was due mostly to her work right here.