Aroview: Vincent Ward's masterful docu-drama - in which he investigates the 'cursed life' of an elderly Maori woman - is a deeply personal odyssey that turns into an enlightening and genuinely affecting untold story that spans a lifetime of 20th century New Zealand history.
Returning some thirty years later to the subjects of his early short documentary "In Spring One Plants Alone", Ward boldly interleaves documentary with drama, the historical and present day, filmed footage and archival photography, and generous interviews with his own direct address and narration. This latter device has been a moot point with some critics, but in our view it adds another intriguing, fable-like layer and affirms Ward's status as a passionate, visionary artist and distinctive cinematic voice.
5 stars (Exceptional) Poetic & compassionate docu-drama of Puhi, an elderly Tuhoe woman, that weaves together her heart-breakingly tragic story with the larger historical significance of the area. Beautiful, haunting, and extremely moving.~GenXGirl