Rain of the Children

  • 101'
  • New Zealand
  • 2008
At the age of 21, the naive Vincent Ward met Maori Puhi (almost 80) who led a secluded life with her schizophrenic son Nikki in the outback of New Zealand. He stayed with them for nearly 2 years and used it as the subject for his award-winning observational documentary In Spring One Plants Alone. Thirty years later, he returns to get answers to all the questions still open about the woman who allowed him into her life, but remained silent about her painful past. Ward's expedition quickly grows into a penetrating film version of the greater story of a Maori tribe that surrendered itself to the Tuhu prophet Rua Kenana, who compared their fate with that of the Jews. A turbulent and often violent story was to follow. Rua chose Puhi as the wife for one of his sons and at the age of 14 she had the first of her 14 children. Apart from the youngest, they all died or were taken away from her.
Ward combines archive material from his first film with eyewitness accounts from relatives and tribal members still alive and detailed fictional scenes in which several dramatic moments from Puhi’s life are performed by professional actors. With Rain of Children, he is making up Puhi’s last will and testament. He comes to understand why Puhi and her tribe thought that a curse rested on her and he is finally able to let her go. (EH)

Director
Vincent Ward
Country of production
New Zealand
Production Year
2008
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
Length
101'
Medium
35mm
Languages
English, Maori
Producers
Vincent Ward, Marg Slater, Tainui Stephens
Sales
New Zealand Film Commission
Screenplay
Vincent Ward
Cinematography
Leon Narbey, Adam Clark
Editor
Chris Plummer
Production Design
Shayne Radford
Music
John Gibson, Jack Body
Cast
Miriama Rangi, Rena Owen
Website
http://nzfilm.co.nz/film/rain-of-the-children