The story of the movie Kawa
Kawa is a psychological drama that follows the story of a Maori family that involves a dad grappling with his sexual orientation. Kawariki, also known as Kawa, is the father. He is also a successful businessman. He has two children from a straight marriage with his wife Annabelle, one young daughter and an older son. Kawa is from a well-respected and large Maori family.
For the first half of the movie Kawa is seemingly caught between two worlds – the gay world and the straight family world. But Kawa has a secret: he wants to have sex with men. The viewer is provided with insight into his dilemma when Kawa shares: “I made a mistake, I chose the wrong life.”
Even though Kawa begins to separate himself from his family, they fail to realize what Kawa is coming to terms with. At the same time, the film skilfully helps the viewer understand the impact of Kawa’s increasing emotional distance and absence for all of the family members involved.
The film also sensitively conveys the shock experienced by Kawa’s wife when she finds out about Kawa’s secret. The film shows the impact of keeping this secret from the family and the challenges of not talking about Kawa’s sexual orientation. For example, this is illustrated through the considerable strain that occurs because of this between Annabelle and their son before Kawa’s secret becomes known.
The movie was shot in the beautiful setting of New Zealand and climaxes around the time that Kawa’s father retires. During this time, Kawa’s father passes on the role of the family patriarch role to Kawa. But around this time, Kawa’s situation quickly becomes more complicated.
Why should I watch this film?
This thoughtful film was the debut film directed by the talented Katie Wolfe. The movie is supported by a mostly strong cast, and beautiful, rich Maori music is interspersed well within the film. The film explores an often neglected topic that is relevant to many Pink Families.
Directed by: Katie Wolfe. Producer: Nicole Hoey, Christina Milligan. Written by: Kate McDermott. Starring: Calvin Tuteao, Dean O’Gorman, Nathalie Boltt, George Henare, Vicky Haughton. Cinematography: Fred Renata. Production company: Cinco Cine (co-production), Conbrio. Release date(s): October 17, 2010. Country: New Zealand. Language: English Māori language. Budget: Unknown. Duration: 76 minutes.