5 PM SUNDAY JUNE 4, GAIETY THEATRE, WAIROA
ONE THOUSAND ROPES
Director Tusi Tamasese (Samoa) 2016 98 min NZ
An old man buries a placenta underneath a lemon tree. Later, we see his hand gently rolling a lemon back and forth on a table, as if he were massaging it. Besides his job at the bakery Maea also works as a traditional birth attendant, a task that requires him to competently massage the bellies of pregnant women. At home tell-tale pale stains on the wall bear witness to pictures that have been removed – Maea has distanced himself from his family following a traumatic and violent episode. But then one day his daughter Ilisa appears at his door. She is pregnant, and has also been physically abused by her boyfriend. What’s more, the spirit of a woman who frequently appears to be sitting in the corner of his living room suddenly decides not to want to go back to her grave in the cemetery. The Samoan men in New Zealand-Samoandirector Tusi Tamasese’s film may be big and strong but their aggression comes with a price: ‘balls are wasted on you’ says the bakery’s large female owner, who can lift the dough machine single-handedly. Unfolding in impressive, mythical images of compelling concentration, Tamasese tells a story about a man trying to face his past, his daughter and his inner 'demons’.