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The Film “Boy” Directed by Taika Waititi

The film Boy (2010), directed by Taika Waititi, is a comedy-drama that tells the story of a young Maori boy’s relationship with his father, who returns from prison. The story is set in a poor Maori village, with all actors drawn from local communities, and many details communicating the local sense of place. It is directed and edited in a lively visual style that aims to depict the world how Boy sees it, with hand-drawn and fantasy sequences that provide insights into the character’s personality.

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The movie touches upon the themes of growing up, childhood trauma, and abandonment. Boy’s father left him when he was very young, and he has been fantasizing about him throughout all his childhood, imagining him to be a warrior and a hero. When the father returns, Boy’s illusions shatter, as he gradually realizes that he is not the man that he thought he is. When watching the film, it strikes how tenderly and knowingly Waititi portrays the boy, making the viewers sympathize and empathize with him.

As the film is set in the Maori community, it also serves as a representation of the local culture and touches upon Maori issues in contemporary society. In the article “A Short Commentary on Boy” (2012), Leonie Pihama, a New Zealand Kaupapa Maori academic, criticizes Waititi’s portrayal of Maori life. She claims that the film “in essence maintains and reproduces some of the basic stereotypical views of what it means to be Maori” (Pihama 60). She names among the stereotypes that Maori children are often neglected, left to fend for themselves, and live in poverty, while men steal, lie, party, smoke, and often abandon their families. Overall, it seems that the depiction of Maori in the movie is too stereotypical and exaggerated, which does not appeal to all members of the local population.

Work Cited

Pihama, Leonie. “A Short Commentary on Boy.” New Zealand of Media Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, 2012, pp. 59–61.

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StudyCorgi. "The Film “Boy” Directed by Taika Waititi." February 9, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-film-boy-directed-by-taika-waititi/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Film “Boy” Directed by Taika Waititi." February 9, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-film-boy-directed-by-taika-waititi/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Film “Boy” Directed by Taika Waititi'. 9 February.

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