Yes, the macron is missing from ‘Rurangi’.
Adding a special character within this review didn’t help either. This macron would just “disappear”, excluded from inclusion because “the internet”. Interestingly, Rurangi raises its own questions around inclusion, and this is about our LGBTQ community and their stories.
Rurangi tells the story of transgender activist Caz Davis (Elz Carrad), who returns to the remote dairy community he grew up in, hoping to reconnect with his estranged father (Kirk Torrance), who hasn’t heard from him since before Caz transitioned. Touching down briefly in Auckland, we join Caz as a man who knows who they are. Fighting for the safety of the community who welcomed them, secrets are hiding just below the surface. This sets in motion a course of events which forces Caz back to the home he abandoned, while he struggles with reconciling his identity.
Delivered by a cast representing the gender-diverse community Aotearoa has, it is all about inclusion. Roles typically cast outside the very people they attempt to represent, we see the trans and gay community proudly displayed front-and-center. And no, this isn’t your typical camp affair of hyperbolic rainbow flourish. It is a story of love in many forms, that just is;
Wonderfully acted and featuring trans-people in trans-roles, with Carrad leading the charge as Caz, the message is clear; Normalize everything. And it’s this journey which the township, Rurangi, represents. While some of the community have “caught up” with Caz, we’re also presented with those driven by conflict and ignorance. There are the childhood friends who always related to Caz, in more ways than one. These friends are then mirrored, by those confused by this new present. Former authoritarian roles find their own struggle in growth and letting go; Which is why we see the excellent Kirk Torrance portray Caz’s father. This all happens, while it also manages to touch on environmental issues.
And it doesn’t overwhelm itself doing so.
Yes, it offers the audience the opportunity to not only normalize inclusion, sexuality, gender-diversity and more, but also THE ENVIRONMENT. Another series COULD NEVER, but I digress. It also handles subjects like deadnaming with the same respect and normalization. While it can be consumed as a 5 episode arc, the format which will be shown at the Film Festival absolutely works. The hour and a half I spent with it slipped away like silk, as I found myself so captivated by it; This story we’ve seen misrepresented so many times, finally told by the people it use to misrepresent.
Rurangi is about all of us, as told by the minority.
This shift in perspective provides a look at things some of us needed to see, and some of us needed reminding of; All lovingly told within the “wop wops” of Aotearoa.
A little bit of home, with a little bit more, Rurangi is a deeply affecting romp within groups who deserve to have their stories told by them.
Wonderfully paced, and a wonderfully diverse cast, it's easy to see why this series was included in the Film Festival programme; It is a must-watch.