Lee Tamahori's Once Were Warriors Essay

Lee Tamahori's Once Were Warriors Essay

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Lee Tamahori’s Once Were Warriors


Filmic technique plays a vital role in the way an audience looks at a character or society in a whole. Lee Tamahori’s film “Once were warriors” uses filmic technique in the crafting of the characters, the roles they adopt and the society they live in.

Filmic Technique helps to exhibit the Heke family as trapped in society, with a vicious cycle of alcohol, violence, male domination, unemployment and pointless parties. In order to try and free themselves from the vicious cycle or to just find peace and happiness; each character has a way of escaping the harsh reality of the society they live in. The choice to escape is theirs, and the route they take can be looked at as either real or fantasy.

The opening shot of ‘Once were warriors’ begins with an idyllic and placid landscape, stereotypical of the beautiful scenery of New Zealand. It is presented as pure serenity; it can be any place, any time. The picture is frozen, pretty as a picture. There is no pollution or garbage to be seen. No signs of human life, and is free of all the hustle and bustle of city. The music supports the idyllic image, with a serene and tranquil tone in the flow of the music. The music benefits the picture, and helps the audience create a perfect moment in their mind.

As the camera pans left, the audience is feed the sound of busy city life. The complete opposite to the image the audience had experienced just moments before. The soundtrack is vital, as it creates a direct image to match the visual that the audience sees. The audience at this point must recognise the difference between the two scenes and realise why it was used. The use of soundtrack and carefully structured images creates an uneasy tension in...


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... warriors. But unlike your Jake, they were people with munnah, pride; people with spirit . If my spirit can survive living with you for eighteen years, then I can survive anything.”

The use of filmic technique, at Grace’s funeral helps to convey the release of the Heke’s entrapment. The use of soft tones and a sun setting sky creates a sense that they are at peace now. Jake and his influences no longer trap them.

Throughout the film “Once Were Warriors” filmic technique is used to convey each member of the Heke family as trapped in one way or another. If not by their own actions, resulting in their own downfall, then by their influencing society.

Lee Tamahori takes full advantage of filmic technique to create a powerful and dramatic film. The film captures the audiences not just by looking at domestic violence, but the way it affect those it reflects on.

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