Movie Review: Four Local Documentaries and a Feature Film

Movie Review: Four Local Documentaries and a Feature Film

A feature film (PALI ROAD) and several documentaries shot in Hawaii will be shown on local screens this weekend. The four documentaries by Joan Lander and Puhipau are by far the better bet. They're part of the 'Oiwi Film Festival in the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum on Saturday May 7 and Sunday May 8.

The four well made documentary films focus on the Hawaiian people—their culture, their lands, and their political struggles.

Voice over: For the past 80 years Waiahole Ditch, named for the valley of Waiahole, has taken water from the windward streams through the mountains to irrigate sugar cane fields on the central plain….

STOLEN WATERS  chronicles  part of the struggle over water rights on Oahu. It's just one of scores of excellent documentaries made over the past three decades by the talented team of Joan Lander and Puhipau, collectively known as Na Maka o ka 'Aina or The Eyes of the Land."

Sadly, Puhipau passed away this past February, and the Oiwi Film Festival has to decided to show these four videos in his memory this weekend in the Doris Duke theater at the Honolulu Museum. It's Puhipau's voice you hear in this narration:

The price paid and the sacrifice made by the residents of this district when the water was removed have never been calculated.

STOLEN WATERS  from 1996 will screen along with PELE'S APPEAL from 1989 this Sunday at 7:30 pm at the museum.

MAUNA KEA: TEMPLE UNDER SIEGE (2005) will also screen at a Sunday matinee. Showtime is 1 pm.

And tonight the 1994 video called TRIBUNAL will screen at 7 PM.

After each of the three screenings, Joan Lander will lead a discussion.

(sot clip-PALI ROAD)

Young woman: "Everything around me is not real to me."

PALI ROAD is a Chinese made feature shot entirely on Oahu. It's premise is intriguing. A young doctor played by Taiwanese star Michelle Chen wakes up after a car accident to discover that she's married to a man who was the rival of the person she wanted to marry. Not only that but she's the mother of a little boy. And there's no physical evidence that her former fiancé exists at all.

Husband: nHe's a figment of your imagination.

Wife: No he's not.

PALI ROAD offers lush cinematography and fine acting, but it's   melodramatic and mind bending plot may exasperate some viewers. And the resolution of the mystery itself is disappointing.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.