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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Taika Waititi ('BOY', 2010) will attend the 2012 Berlinale with 'JOJO RABBIT' (2012)


Taika Waititi will attend the 2012 Berlinale with his new film project (currently in development) JOJO RABBIT (2012). Taika is an actor/writer/director from the Raukorekore region of east coast New Zealand and of Te-Whanau-a-Apanui descent.

Two years ago his film BOY (2010) held its North American premier at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film BOY, above and beyond, is everything a superb film can aspire to be. It is by far one of the greatest film achievements I have seen in recent years and stays long with its viewer after having seen it.

Set in Waihau Bay, New Zealand, in a world that holds ancient indigenous traditions that have long suffered under the heavy weight of British colonization and more recently hegemonic Americanization, the rich culture and traditions that once were have slowly disintegrated with the winds, leaving the descendants of New Zealand’s earliest natives fatherless and motherless in a way (with a scarred cultural identity and loss of tradition).

'Boy' is an 11 year-old living on a farm with his brother Rocky. The farm belongs to their ‘gran’ who leaves them alone for a week when their dysfunctional criminal father, Alamein, suddenly appears after a release from prison. Boy and Rocky have no mother (she died in childbirth when Rocky was born), a dud father (a total ‘egg’), their absent gran, a goat and each other. That’s all they have in this world; that, a dilapidated house and some buried treasure the father insists on finding so they can all get rich and run away from Waihau.

BOY in a way is an Everyman (Everyboy) in 1980s New Zealand with a major father figure complex who projects his ideal of the father figure onto his idol of the time, Michael Jackson. Where Boy’s father fails, the heroic ideal of Michael Jackson fills the gap, and Boy creates this world between fantasy and reality in order to survive what is in fact a very sad and tragic situation. Rocky also loses himself in fantasy by believing he has magic powers and Alamein himself (also an Everyboy who never really grew up) escapes the tragedy of his dead wife and his heavy heart with the dream of getting rich and escaping town to begin again.

BOY is a heartfelt tragicomedy that renders you crying as you laugh and laughing as you cry. It is rare to find such truth in comedy, that it is only in such a tragic situation that one must laugh, for if not one might die from the pain. Great comedian Mel Brooks once said: “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.” 

BOY is a film that will not soon be forgotten and makes the works of its breakthrough director, Taika Waititi, not to be missed. In fact, whoever misses a Taika film is an EGG!   


-Written by Vanessa McMahon, January 21, 2012.

See a preview here, of Taika Waititi ‘s brilliant BOY:

Taika Waititi