This article considers the ways cinematic emotions—both those they depict and those they elicit in viewers—are nationally and culturally specific. Tracing the affective rhythms of Taika Waititi’s New Zealand feature film Boy (2010) and its reception at home and abroad, the author contends that, while the film’s moving scenes of childhood expression appeal universally, its oscillations of joyous self-performance and consequent shame also invoke specifically national affective contexts. Off-screen, too, Kiwi viewers’ variously proud and ashamed responses to the film support allegorical views of New Zealand as a child prone to cultural cringe on the global stage. But Boy also responds to dynamics of colonial and racialized shame, grappling with and condemning their enduring effects. Nonetheless, shame also emerges as a resource for reparation and transformation, a creative force that displaces the shaming white gaze and centers Māori self-expression and imagining within national feelings.
Smith, Angela Marie
"Children, Affect, and National Feelings: Shame in Taika Waititi’s Boy (2010),"
Antipodes: Vol. 34:
2, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/antipodes/vol34/iss2/12