Colonized people see the world from inside a mirror. From outside, you’re oblivious (because: what changed?) But if you’re colonized – on the side that lost – life itself loses meaning. Imagine: the country you call home vanishes, you are invaded, and the invaders never leave. Even your name for your country is unwritten on a map. Aotearoa (“the land of the long white cloud”) is the Maori name for New Zealand. The name New Zealand comes from Europe (“old” Zeeland is a region in the southwest of Holland). Vincent Ward’s new documentary, Rain of the Children, is an attempt to get the view from inside the mirror. It’s the story of a Maori woman, looking back.
Let me take you to a wooden planet. Far out in space, imagine a giant satellite inhabited by monks. A medieval cathedral – almost a mile high – dominates the skyline. It’s surrounded by wheat-fields. In the distance there are windmills turning. This was to be the setting for Alien 3… if director Vincent Ward had had his way. I, for one, would have chopped down several trees to see it happen. But sadly, fate (and a management re-shuffle at 20th Century Fox) killed the project. Alien 3 was shifted to a space gaol. Vincent Ward moved on. Now, he has a new movie about his native country. It isn’t set on a wooden planet, but it still has Ward’s touch.