Watch Rain of the Children
- 1 hr 38 min
Rain of the Children is a 2008 New Zealand documentary film directed by Vincent Ward that explores the life of a Maori woman named Puhi, who was declared a witch by her own people in the 1940s. The movie is a sequel to Ward's earlier 1984 documentary, In Spring One Plants Alone, which tells the story of Puhi's life until her 50s. Rain of the Children picks up where its predecessor left off and focuses on the latter part of Puhi's life, as well as her children and grandchildren.
The film is not a traditional documentary in the sense that it does not rely on interviews or voiceovers to tell the story. Instead, it employs a unique narrative technique that blends reenactments, archival footage, and poetic imagery to create a cinematic experiential journey. The movie is divided into three parts, each representing a different phase of Puhi's life. The first part is about her childhood, the second is about her middle age, and the third is about her old age and death.
The movie opens with a long shot of a mountain landscape, followed by a voiceover that sets the tone for the film's poetic style. The voiceover is spoken by Ward himself, who introduces the viewer to the story of Puhi and her family. He explains that he had met Puhi in the 1970s when he was filming In Spring One Plants Alone and that he was struck by her resilience and strength.
The first part of the movie is set during Puhi's childhood, and it shows her growing up in poverty in a small Maori village in New Zealand. The reenactments are accompanied by Puhi's voiceover, in which she describes her memories of the time. The scenes are beautiful and poetic, capturing the spirit of childhood with a sense of wonder and magic. The movie's cinematography is stunning, with sweeping shots of the landscape and close-ups of small details.
The second part of the movie is set during Puhi's middle age and focuses on her children and grandchildren. The reenactments are interspersed with interviews with Puhi's family members, who share their memories of her. The movie delves deeper into the themes of identity, family, and spirituality, and it becomes more emotional and introspective. The scenes in this part are less dreamlike and more realistic, reflecting the complex relationships between family members.
The final part of the movie is about Puhi's old age and death. The reenactments become more abstract and surreal, reflecting Puhi's deteriorating mental health. The movie becomes more poetic and meditative, as it explores the themes of mortality, memory, and legacy. The camera work is more experimental, with extreme close-ups and kaleidoscopic effects. The voiceover becomes more philosophical, as it contemplates the meaning of life and death.
Rain of the Children is a deeply moving and poetic film that defies traditional documentary conventions. It is a visual and auditory feast that invites the viewer to experience the world of Puhi and her family in a unique way. The movie is a testament to the power of storytelling and the strength of the human spirit.
Rain of the Children is a 2008 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.