Wanted to just make a note here about a recent movie from New Zealand that I saw at the San Francisco International Film Festival. It’s called The Dark Horse. Thanks to a friend for recommending it. Here’s the trailer:
It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in theaters recently, besides Whiplash, 12 Years A Slave, and Interstellar (although not so captivating the second time around for whatever reason). Though this film may not be playing at a theater near you anytime soon, I’m posting it here mostly for future reference. Mostly because the film gave me goosebumps at certain moments. Mostly because the film reminded me of why I love cinema. And though the director of this movie (James William Napier Robertson) is not a person of color, his film has re-kindled in me the passion I used to feel about Asian Americans needing to make kick-ass cinema, telling it like how we see it, captivating our audiences, making us laugh and get angry and cry and ultimately heal us. The Dark Horse is kind of conventional in its narrative structure and the story is nothing you haven’t necessarily seen before. But the cultural element, coupled with the awe-inspiring acting of Cliff Curtis and the entire cast basically, made me feel again the magic that has been lost in so many movies these days. Thematically as well, the film touches on some very important topics that have been on my mind recently: mature masculine archetypes, initiation and ritual for boys becoming men, elder male mentors, etc. There is one very brief, yet powerful scene for me where Cliff Curtis’ character tells his nephew (played by an awesome James Rolleston) to send his chess teammate his king energy as he is kicked out of watching the tournament because he cannot contain himself. It reminded me of another scene in the recent movie The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (which is not necessarily a movie I recommend) where the dwarves, who are defending their mountain castle, are able to rally around their king after he is released from the spiritual prison of his greed.
I get the sense that these artists are channeling (consciously or unconsciously) the world’s own lamenting and calling for a return of their Kings.