DIRECTOR: TEAREPA KAHI STARRING: CLIFF CURTIS, JAY RYAN, MANU BENNETT RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 44 MINUTES
Inspired by actual events, Muru is the story of a local police sergeant who must choose between his badge and his people, when the government launches an armed raid through his Ruatoki community on a school day.
Muru is the latest International Feature submission from New Zealand. This tense, 90 minute film, is inspired by true events that happened to the Tuhoe people in the small community of Ruatoki, which is located on the most Northern Point of New Zealand by the Bay of Plenty. In 2007, the New Zealand government raided this village to arrest activist Tame and other members of the community.
The film begins with a troubled youth named Rusty firing a loaded rifle during an argument at a Rama campsite meeting. The Rama meetings are led by Tame, a leader within the community. These meetings are like boot camps where people in the area come together to talk, and to focus on survival skills meant to preserve the Tuhoe identity. The New Zealand police though have been surveilling these meetings because they believe that they are terrorists plotting to kill the Prime Minister.
This argument that occurs between Rusty and the rest of the group results in the police force to step up their surveillance and to begin planning a raid on the villagers.
A few days later, the entire community of Ruatoki are overcome with policemen, resulting in a brutal attack on these innocent people.
Directed by Tearepa Kahi, the film gives a historical perspective on how the people of Tuhoe have been treated by the police for decades. Led by the brilliant Cliff Curtis, the cast are all incredible in their roles. And it is important to note that Tame plays himself in the film too.
The film is powerful, devastating, intense, vital work. It’s real and emotional. The fact that this film is made by the people who experienced this injustice makes it that much more special. Muru is filmmaking at its best. It’s vital to recognize that the injustice against the Maori people are still happening today, and it’s still happening to Indigenous people all around the world. This film is a reminder, and a plea, for it all to end.