The death of a young boy hits a community like a tidal wave in the riveting film Waru. While the audience is not provided with much detail about the deceased child, the picture slowly begins to form when observing how eight vastly different women react to the news. All linked to the child in some fashion, some are much closer to him than others, each must navigate the sense of grief, guilt, anger and responsibility that they all feel.

To fully grasp the impact of the central event, one needs to understand the film’s construction. Told through eight short films, each made by a different female Maroi filmmaker, and shot within an eight day period (a film a day), Waru is a stunning piece of cinema. Telling each story in real time in a continuous shot, one might be tempted to dismiss the film as merely a gimmick. However, this film defies such labels.

Waru is a film full of life, even when it focuses on the pains of death. Like the spirit of the boy that can be felt in every story, the emotional pain, culture practices, inner strength, and deep sorrow weaves through both the fabric of the community and the film itself. While one of two vignettes do not reach the same heights as the rest of the stories, the performances by the lead actress in tale are blisteringly good.

A technical and emotional feat from beginning to end, Waru is a captivating work that should not be missed.

Wednesday, October 18, 7 PM, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema

Ticket information can be found at the imagineNATIVE website.