Tracker

From British director Ian Sharp comes an impressive film following a Maori man on the run from a group of English officers across the stunning New Zealand wilderness. Taking place in 1902 just after the Second Boer War, this story reveals much about colonialism and the unlikely friendships that can be struck between hunters and their prey.

Tracker begins with the story of Arjan (Ray Winstone), one of thousands of Dutch settlers who fled South Africa to Commonwealth countries after fighting against the British at the turn of the 20th century. After Maori Kereama (Temeura Morrison) is wrongly thought to have killed a British officer, he is forced to flee to the countryside. Following his trail is Arjan and a group of bloodthirsty officers, who would each like their share of the reward offered for Kereama’s capture. But when Arjan, an experienced tracker, takes his own route in an effort to find Kereama, new affinities are forged between the most unlikely of characters. Because both Arjan and Kereama lost their respective wars to the British, they eventually find common ground in their mutual sense of anger and loss.

Shot on location in New Zealand and featuring magnificent vistas, the film’s wild, striking landscapes offer a stark contrast to the violence of colonialism present throughout the film. More than simply a lesson in colonial history, “Tracker” is a meditation on victimhood and transcendence. “Tracker” encourages viewers to consider what their own histories share with the persecuted individuals in the film. The New Zealand countryside provides the ideal backdrop for pondering the lives of these men and for contemplating what recourse they have to justice and healing. [Synopsis courtesy of Jane Schoettle/Toronto International Film Festival]

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