Thursday, December 18, 2003

Muguruza and Whale Rider

I received my two Fermin Muguruza cd's on the mail and I am loving them, the lyrics are amazing and the booklets come with the lyrics in Basque with translation to Spanish, French and English, most excellent.

As predicted, the Winter (politically correct term for Christmas) present from my work place is a DVD, and nothing else but "Whale Rider", one of the best movies of the year.

For those of you that have not seen it, let me try to explain why I just love this movie. As you know I am involved in the preservation of the Basque culture for it is the culture of my ancestors. The obstacles we face are huge, since there is politics involved, the two countries occupying the Basque Country show little or no interest in preserving Europe's oldest cultural identity. The new-agey European Union can care less about it obviously since they also do little or nothing in the way of demanding from France and Spain to provide enough room were Basque culture can bloom.

Today in the Basque Country the only pre-Indo European language is spoken, the only other three non-Indo European languages spoken in Europe arrived after the Indo European migrations from Asia which makes Euskara unique even among the non-Indo European languages of Europe which should be more than enough reason for Europe to do something to preserve it and allow the Basque society to continue to work towards projects aimed at strenghtening the use of the language.

Measures like the one by the Spanish regime to call the Ikastolas where Basque children get their education in their own language by the term of "hotbeds of terrorrism" should be severely criticized not only by European organisms like the European Union but by every single human rights organizations like Amnesty International and worldwide organizations like the United Nations.

"Whale Rider" tells us about the struggle of the Maori people of New Zealand to revive their cultural heritage. It is hard for people that has never been robbed of their land and their ways to understand the sense of loss that can get in the hearts and minds of people that has been colonized. But there is always those who love their identity and culture so much that will do anything to preserve it, and that is what the movie is all about.

The main conflict in the movie is between Koro, the leader of a Maori community and his grand daughter Paikea. Koro has been the keeper of the old ways in a community were the youth is lost to the lack of opportunities and the easy access to drugs and alcohol. Koro wants to change that, he knows his people need a new leader but Koro has his own character flaws, to certain degree Koro is a prisoner of his own love for his culture and the problems that arise from wanting to stick to rigid rules.

Paikea is the opposite, she wants to learn, she loves her culture and most of all, she loves her grand father, and she is a free spirit that will of course put her on collision course with Koro, she just won't give up to Koro's idea that the leader most be a male.

The scene before the climax of the movie is electrifying, Keisha Castle-Hugues who plays Paikea gives a riveting performance on a school speech that is supposed to be directed to her grand father, who is absent. Then it comes the magical moment in the movie when Paikea raises to prove that she is indeed, the leader the community needs.

An amazing movie with no costly special effects that depends on two things, honest story telling and from the heart performances by the Maori cast.

Don't miss it!

And by the way, soon I will be talking about "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King", that post will contain spoilers, beware.

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