"Princess Kaiulani" the movie

SUBHEAD: The true story of a Hawaiian princess' attempts to maintain the independence of the island against the threat of American colonization.

By Juan Wilson on 16 April 2010 for Island Breath - 

Image above: A still from "Princess Kaiulani" (2010) feature film about Hawaii starring Q'orianka Kilcher in title role.  

This film, with the title "Barbarian Princess" was premiered at the Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu on October 16th 2009 (Princess Kaiulani's birthday) as part of the Hawaii International Film Festival. It tied there with 'Precious" for best feature film. However, one commenter at the International Movie Data Base (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1185344/board/nest/160646092) said:
"Great location, great art direction. Pitiful movie. Not worth your time nor your dime. It seems to me (IMHO) that the movie lacked any kind of cohesive vision for this important story. The plot meanders without an arc and the characters seem almost lost in their roles. Ka'iulani deserves more than a cursory attempt like this one. Hopefully someone else will do her justice in the future."
Video above: From (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GXLnIHsB1g) So be forewarned. 

The stunning actress, Q'orianka Kilcher, played Pocahantas in "The New World". That was a dismal, cloying, politically gutless film that took no chances. If that's what "Princess Kaiulani" turns out to be, I'd rather rewatch "Whale Rider" (2002) with Keisha Castle-Hughes as Paikea: 

  Paikea in "Whale Rider"
or even revisit the epic "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992) with Wes Studi as the "villain" Magua.

Magua in "Last of the Mohicans"

1 comment :

Mauibrad said...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Princess Ka`iulani

Henry Curtis

I went to the opening of the film “Princess Ka`iulani”. The film quickly departed from the history as I have learned it. I am willing to concede that my knowledge of history has errors, but there were so many discrepancies between my understanding and the film that it seemed that someone was tampering with history.

The film showed Ka`iulani riding her horse on windward O`ahu and many scenes in the film occurred there, but she lived on the grounds of what is presently the Ka`iulani Hotel in Waikiki.

The Bayonet Constitution occurred in 1987 and electrification of Honolulu occurred in 1888, however, the film depicted these as occurring simultaneously. There is some discrepancy in history as to whether Ka`iulani threw the switch electrifying `Iolani Palace. The switch logically was turned on at the power plant located in Nuuanu Valley. The film showed Ka`iulani turning it on in a very public event at `Iolani Palace.

The film focused on her resistance to the decision by her father (Archie Cleghorn) to send her to Europe while actually King Kalakaua sent her. The film showed her arriving in England accompanied by only Archie and going to the Theo Davies Estate in Southport north of Liverpool along the Irish Sea. Historically, Archie only went to San Francisco with Ka`iulani, then he returned to Honolulu. She continued on to England with her half-sister Annie Cleghorn and the Walkers. She arrived in Liverpool and went immediately to London (southeast of Liverpool).

The film centered on a long-term relationship and engagement of Clive Davies and Princess Ka`iulani. Historically he was one of the men linked to Ka`iulani, but not the only one. They were not engaged. Towards the end of the film Clive meets Ka`iulani along windward O`ahu and asks Ka`iulani to marry him and move to England. But in reality the event was a lu`au thrown by Ka`iulani for Clive as he was leaving Hawai`i to go to England to marry someone else.

The depiction of her meeting President Cleveland was shocking. The film showed Archie arriving at the Theo Davies Estate, informing Ka`iulani that he had sent telegrams to her regarding the overthrow. Ka`iulani had been unaware that the overthrow had occurred. Theo Davies had kept these hidden as they would interfere with the Clive-Ka`iulani marriage. She and Archie sailed to New York City and then Washington D.C. to meet with the President, but since he had only four weeks left to his term, there was little he could do. She then appeared to go the Honolulu.

In reality, Archie was in Honolulu during the overthrow, Mr. Davies got the telegrams on January 30, 1893, showed them to Ka`iulani, and then Theo Davies, his wife and his daughter Alice went with Ka`iulani to New York City. While they were in New York City the President was being inaugurated (March 4, 1893) having just been elected President. She then met the President. She returned to Europe for 4 more years.

The film had a tight shot of her return to Honolulu. Greeters could not be seen. She was then brought by an armed escort to see the imprisoned Lili'uokalani. In reality, she returned to Honolulu two years after the release of Queen Lili'uokalani and the docks were full of well wishers.

May the next film on Ka`iulani have some connection to reality.

Permalink posted by Henry Curtis @ 5/15/2010 07:34:00 AM

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