Whale Rider ★★★½ 2002 (PG-13)
Pai (Castle-Hughes, wonderful in her film debut) is a very determined 12-year-old Maori girl whose very traditional grandfather Koro (Paratene) is the tribal chief. Pai's father (Curtis) should be the next in line but after the death of his wife and Pai's infant twin brother, he's left the family. Although the stubborn Koro loves Pai, he refuses to see his granddaughter as a possible successor and won't train her in the customs that he teaches to the Maori boys. So Pai observes and learns on her own—ready to show everyone that she has what it takes. Title refers to the legend that their ancestor arrived in their land on the back of a whale. Adapted from the 1986 novel by Witi Ihimaera. 105m/C VHS, DVD . NZ GE Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Clifford Curtis; D: Niki Caro; W: Niki Caro; C: Leon Narbey; M: Lisa Gerrard. Ind. Spirit ‘04: Foreign Film.