Terry Hunter reviews Christopher Kahunahana's WAIKIKI starring Danielle Zalopany

WAIKIKI, is a powerful, often dreamlike film about a young Hawaiian woman who has three part time jobs and still can’t manage to rent a room in Honolulu. Danielle Zalopany gives an extraordinary performance as Kea, a hula dancer in a Waikiki hotel who also works as a bartender and a part time teacher of Hawaiian language and culture. Moved out from an abusive boyfriend, she lives in her van, saving money to rent an affordable room. Filmmaker Kahunahana wants his audience to realize that Hawaii is nothing like the image tourists have of these islands. He wants people to see how Hawaiians have been cut off from their own culture and lands.The film is a kind of lament for what has been lost and yet it offers some hope for how traditional Hawaiian culture can help Hawaiians deal with their problems today. With despair as its prevailing emotion, WAIKIKI isn’t easy to watch, but the amazing talent of its leading actress and the strong skills of the director make it well worth seeing. (Watch online at hiff.org through Sunday evening Nov. 29. After that, for updates, check http://www.waikikithemovie.com/)

Terry Hunter reviews Christopher Kahunahana's WAIKIKI starring Danielle Zalopany