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we are still here


starring: Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Clarence Ryan, Villa Lemanu, and Leonie Whyman

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Spanning 1000 years, We Are Still Here tells eight stories of grief and resilience as experienced by the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the South Pacific Islands.

Through the eyes of eight protagonists, We Are Still Here traverses 1000 years from past,present, and future to explore stories of kinship, loss, grief, and resilience of Indigenous people from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

From the beginning of time, in a Utopian world, a traditional fisherwoman and her Daughter are fishing when they pull up an ominous ship, foreshadowing stormy seas and tragedy to follow. Forward to 1862, a British Settler threatens an Aboriginal man to lead him to safety, whilst in New Zealand, tribes cocooned deep in the forest are preparing for a terrifying future.

Anthology tales can be a mixed narrative bag, a mixture of stories that feel directionless and are a jarring experience for the audience. What makes We Are Still Here completely different from the norm is that while it has eight different protagonists with different writers and directors, it is the shared vision and overarching story being told here that binds them all together. 

Whether it's using animation or a vision of a future world, We Are Still Here manages to depict not only the suffering and plight of indigenous people but also their achievements and hopes for the future. Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne’s depiction of a young Maori woman at the origin of the haka is particularly moving in its raw emotion and power. The tale of an Aboriginal tradie harassed by a white cop defies all the expectations that are ratched up by the structure of the story in the very last frame of the film, leaving you with questions that will haunt you for days. 

Beautifully crafted and arresting in equal measure, We Are Still Here is a must see.


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