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by Mitchell's Here


Ok, so I think I'm genuinely over my head here and absolutely wish my understanding of Te Reo was a whole lot better than it is.

I was absolutely intrigued by what the title of this short was meaning, and online my search results took my to the anzsw journal, with an article defining Āta as "the principle of growing respectful relationships, specifically for the social services as a transformative approach for Kaupapa Māori initiatives. It is about building and looking after relationships and can support practitioners with understanding relationships and well-being when interacting with Māori. Pōhatu advances the argument that cultural underpinnings of whenua and whakapapa are imperative to ensure cultural transmission and acquisition.
Āta has been described by Pōhatu (2005) as a key element of ngā take pū (principles) and is seen as a ‘behavioural and theoretical strategy’ for building and maintaining relationships."

Impressively deep especially after viewing the hypnotic short, which seemed to be a subversive take on the horror genre, with warp speed recollections of history and betrayal towards Māori through the horror of western colonisation.

The film started slow, an etched black and white stick figure walking towards a cliff before they pressed a button and the world was inverted with the viewer thrown down the horrible gauntlet of history. Some absolutely striking imagery, with the morphs and transformations being unbelievabily smooth. Sound design was also excellent.

It's a heavy film covering important ground. Hard to mark down the story at all. Brave to tell everything visually and not use any scripted dialogue. I liked it a lot, and think that risk taking should be rewarded in this comp.

Main issue and it's kind of a glaring one in my book, is character development or lack thereof. I'm to be honest on the fence whether the box of the required character was even ticked. Not through subversion or an unusual take on the character, but to me they were literally just a body on screen that then allowed the 'horror' to unfold. I have no skin in the game, I didn't enter and am not a judge, I loved your film, but that is what dragged it down slightly for me.

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 4/5

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