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The film Once Were Warriors is a deeply moving story about Jake and Beth Heke and their five children - a family in crisis Although the story takes place in New Zealand and the characters portray an urban Maori native family many of the scenarios situations and characteristics that are presented in the film are relative to our own country and culture I found the viewing and reviewing of this film to be extremely triggering for me emotionally Over and over again I found myself drawn back to the memories and emotions of a time when my own lifestyle reflected only too closely the events that were depicted on the screen Time and again my fists clenched in sympathetic agony and my stomach knotted with tension in anticipation of the next scene which from my experience I knew would be coming The characters seemed so real that I could replace the names and faces with those of people I have known well Most of whom dwell now in the place of spirits or no doubt wish they did I found myself contemplating deeply on the concept of duality - both the duality represented in the timeline of my own history and the duality that the characters wrestle with in the film The plot with its stark images seems to be based on duality illusion and reality love and hate courage and fear power and powerless past and present strong and weak hope and despair drunkenness and sobriety slavery and freedom and finally life and death The opening scene introduces this it begins with a placid scene of a beautiful mountain lake and green hills beyond Pure timeless serenity with music befitting the scene But soon the camera pulls back pans left and we begin to hear traffic and the din of city life The music changes to heavy-metal guitar grating the nerves As the camera perception changes we realize that
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