A Samoan man with a violent and tragic past seeks reconciliation with his estranged daughter in a fantasy-tinged tale of family, redemption and the power of forgiveness.
Middle-aged Maea is a gentle Samoan man in Wellington who helps bring babies into the world. It's a far cry from the past when he was a tough fighter known as 'The Lion'. Maea lost his family long ago and now lives with painful memories and a volatile spirit that lingers in his house and won't let him forget. When his estranged daughter shows up pregnant and distressed Maea is presented with an opportunity to begin the healing process. The second film by Samoan New Zealander Tusi Tamasese (The Orator) is both tender and tough. The immediate and illuminating perspective is Samoan, but the broad and richly rewarding emotional terrain is universal.
A brooding tale of fractured families and generational conflict that builds towards a reckoning with the past, delivering enough intrigue, craft and slow-burning command of mood and atmosphere to win festival circuit favour and enhance his (Tamasese's) international reputation in the wake of New Zealand Oscar contender The Orator (2011). – Allan Hunter, Screen International
Childbirth becomes a powerful vessel for renewal in this deeply felt drama about a Samoan former fighter atoning for the violence that divided his family and exiled him to solitude. – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
Festival guest: Tusi Tamasese
Talk: After the screening on Monday 12 June is Extended Q&A: One Thousand Ropes at the Festival Hub, starting at 4.15 pm