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Pōuri: Two original screenplays

Pōuri, as defined on Te Aka Māori Dictionary, means “regret, mournful, gloomy, in the dark.” It is an apt description of the following stories: Unprivate Moments, and Haytham; or, The Māori Gothic. A common thematic tie between the characters is that they regret past actions, have become disheartened, and experience severe distress. As a thesis, the aim is to expand on what a “Māori story” is beyond the familiar, or dare I say, expected. 'Unprivate Moments' is about an estranged father and son reconciling their differences, disguised as a low-level spy film. I see this as an opportunity to take a well-defined genre and treat it in a realistic fashion in terms of location and character, although not necessarily in believability. Set in Whanganui it can play with many tropes and preconceptions, almost with self-awareness without falling into parody or metacommentary. The formatting does not follow industry standards but inverts the layout of the scene descriptions and dialogue. While I cannot say for certain, Stanley Kubrick is the only one I am aware of that has done this when he adapted 'A Clockwork Orange'. His rationale for this break in style was to draw the eye to the visual storytelling rather than the dialogue. 'Haytham' is centred on a young Byronic Māori man during the late 1880s. Like the archetype he is derived from, Haytham is a tall, dark, and mysterious man. As he reveals himself both to the audience and to the other characters, we come to find someone who has been damaged and corrupted. This issue of childhood trauma is the central crux of the story and is explored through his relationships with the women in his life. And finally, despite the script’s setting and intentional use of familial names, this is not a biographical work.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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