This Way Of Life
- Director:Thomas Burstyn
- Cast:Peter Karena, Colleen Karena, Aurora Ottley-Karena
- Release Date:November 04, 2010
- Distributor:Gil Scrine
- Running time:84 minutes
- Film Worth:$13.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Gorgeously shot and skillfully told, this thought provoking documentary raises questions about our lifestyle choices and the costs that ensue.
Peter Karena is a horseman, part-time philosopher, and free spirit. From the outside, he and his wife Colleen - who, like their brood of kids, have magnificently long, free-flowing hippie hair - look like sixties counter-culturalists, but they actually have more in common with the self-sustaining farmers of centuries ago. The Karenas live off the land, hunt their own food, and generally keep outside the system. But they go to church on Sundays, and in some ways are quite traditional. The photogenic Peter speaks openly and articulately about his life (as does the highly likable Colleen) and his uneasy relationship with his stepfather, who's seen here briefly but hangs over the entire documentary. This ups its interest value. This Way Of Life is not just about an alternate way of living; there's a real narrative, with Peter's stepfather dramatically manoeuvring the Karenas out of their house. We follow the family as they, with their fifty horses in tow, face homelessness, and later wind up living in an (albeit huge) shed.
Peter was initially approached to make an instructional DVD about breaking in horses, but the filmmakers found a fascinating story in him worth telling. Expertly edited, gorgeously shot over four years in remote areas of New Zealand, and narrated by the eldest son - the charmer Llewelyn - This Way Of Life is also about child-rearing. The sight of small children, without crash helmets, on large horses, may alarm some, but these parents know what they're doing. Their unbridled kids are so full of joy that you may wish that you were a Karena.
This documentary should be seen with at least one companion - preferably more. It sparks discussion and raises questions - questions about how to live by your own code, and whether a life without compromise comes at a cost.