Reviewed by Vaughan Ames

The nineteenth year of Keswick Film Club was rounded off on Sunday with 'Boy', a joyous Maori film from New Zealand. Set in a small, backwater township in the Bay of Plenty, we are guided through "his interesting world" by Alamein (called Boy by everyone), a young teenager who tries to find the joy in everything – even though he has pretty well nothing.

He lives with his Nan and endless small children, awaiting the day his Dad will come home from his deep-sea diving job...or is he a roadie for Michael Jackson...or fighting in the army? Whatever Boy thinks he is, Boy dreams of his hero taking him away to the city, to a better life. We are introduced to reality when the kid behind him in class leans over and says "You’re dreaming, bro. Your Dad is in prison - in the next cell to my Dad".

But reality is not enough to bring Boy down. Even when his Dad – Alamein senior - turns up with a couple of losers – the fellow (and only) members of his gang: Boy's response is a huge grin, even though we can see Alamein is going to be no good. He's really come back to find the buried treasure he hid when the police were chasing him "I buried it near a post. I just can't remember how near...or which post". Inevitably it is Boy who finds it – not the promised one million dollars, but nine hundred – and, almost as inevitably, Boy's pet goat chews it all up!

Boy gradually realises just how useless his Dad is, especially after he has been made to look a fool by him in front of his school friends and his goat is killed by his Dad driving badly. Boy eventually attacks his drunken father for not being there for his family when Boy's mother died. The next morning it looks like Dad has just run off again, but we see him by his wife's grave and there is just the chance that Boy has brought him to his senses...

The acting, especially James Rolleston as Boy and the director Taika Waititi as Dad, was superb. The film is actually from 2010 but was not released here until Waititi's film 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' brought him to worldwide attention. We started the evening with a short he made in 2004 - 'Two Cars, One Night' – which was Oscar nominated and definitely showed the roots of what he is interested in – fatherless children and their problems.

Now all this might sound a bit depressing (!), but, to me at least, it was the opposite. Throughout all this and with little or no hope for a better life, the film keeps us laughing and Boy keeps dreaming; the moral of the story is definitely 'always look on the bright side of life: find the joy'. This is beautifully emphasised by the end scene – all the cast are on stage doing a Haka-type dance and laughing into the camera. The audience left feeling GOOD!

So there you go; another year of films from around the world which started in Sweden last September and ended in New Zealand, visiting 22 countries along the way (and that is without counting the Festival!). We hope those of you that came along enjoyed them and we look forward to seeing you again in September – and, if you still haven't given us a go, why not? It will be our Twentieth Year, so time to celebrate... That reminds me; better start working on that next programme...