English Title: Kawa
Original Title: Nights in the Gardens of Spain
Country: New Zealand
Language: English, Maori
Director: Katie Wolfe
Music: Joel Haines
Cinematography: Fred Renata
Pana Hema Taylor
From Auckland, New Zealand, a mid-age married gay man with two children tries to come out of the closet in Aukland, who has also a Maori bloodline and supposed to carry on his traditional bearings as a male leader of the family after his father is retiring. The film is based on Witi Jhimaera’s novel “NIGHT IN THE GARDENS OF SPAIN”, whose previous book is the Oscar-nominated WHALE RIDER (2002).
The film has an over saturated hue, which at first enlightens and spikes the New Zealand exotic natural outlook with a certain degree of intimacy, effectively stimulates one’s tourist appetite, but as time goes by, it is an effort which sadly overstays its welcome, and the steamy and purple gay sauna scenes are both tacky and predictable. There are no twist in the plot, which could be kindly viewed as a commonplace strategy to elucidate an everyday outing process, and the actors are standardly deployed, giving probably the most expected reactions one would expect, a guilty-ridden husband, a devastated wife, a high-school boy with a consenting adult issue and a cute teenage daughter. But the film consciously evades a more inquisitive invasion into the gay counterpart area, since the love interest of our protagonist doesn’t play a pivotal role in the outing and leaves the story halfway through (for another man), instead the film has put all its stamina into a “ true to yourself”doctrine. The melodrama is predestined, but all is under the fine control of the female director Kate Wolfe’s slightly meek faculty and this time Witi Jhimaera’s novel doesn’t bring any ripple like WHALE RIDER, nor is the cast could reproduce a Keisha Castle-Hughes wonder in any rate.
ps: The upper shot in the poster is deceitful since there is no such closeness under the hazy circumstance.