Review: New Zealand film Vai 'deeply-immersive' from a collection of powerhouse women

New Zealand film Vai has finally opened in local cinemas after showings at the Berlin and SXSW Festivals.

Shot by a collective of Pasifika filmmakers, all women, the film is comprised of a series of short films woven together.

Gloriously shot for maximum big screen impact, Vai is a guided tour into the heart and soul of our Pacific Islands and the core of womanhood which pulses through them.

Like the previous film from these producers, Waru, Vai is collection of short films serving the same purpose, and central to each here is a character named Vai.

She slowly grows older with each chapter and each location, starting as a young girl in Fiji and finishing as a wahine toa in Aotearoa, with so much life and love in between.

As with Waru there are strengths and weaknesses within the whole, and with the added challenge of many of the segments shot as single tracking one-shots, but there is so much emotion and empowerment to mine here, and these filmmakers do exactly that.

Each of these cinematic chapters will speak to audience members individually but their power collectively should not be underestimated. 

I found Vai to be deeply emmersive, these powerhouse women deepening my connection to the islands on which I live, and the people from our islands which form our Aotearoa.  

4 Stars.