Based on a novel by Whale Rider writer Witi Ihimaera, White Lies - New Zealand's entry in the 2014 Oscar competition for best foreign-language film - is an intense drama that explores with great humanity and sensitivity such difficult topics as race relations, skin bleaching and motherhood.
Paraiti is the healer and midwife of her rural, Maori people - she believes in life. But new laws in force are prohibiting unlicensed healers, making the practice of much Maori medicine illegal. She gets approached by Maraea, the servant of a wealthy woman, Rebecca, who seeks her knowledge and assistance in order to hide a secret which could destroy Rebecca’s position in European settler society. This compelling story tackles moral dilemmas, exploring the nature of identity, societal attitudes to the roles of women and the tension between Western and traditional Maori medicine.
"Thematically, White Lies is essential cinema, unafraid to delve into female issues even contemporary societies grapple with." ~ Film Journal International
"[Whirimako] Black is a towering screen presence who honours not only Rotberg's and Ihimaera's creation but also the centuries-old dignity and customs of her people." ~ Screen-Space
"Showcases a triangle of strong female performances, impressive cinematography and music." ~ ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Official Selection Toronto International Film Festival 2013
Directed by Dana Rotberg | 2013 | New Zealand | 96mins | Drama | English and Maori with English subtitles.