Selected Pacific Films for Teaching

 

Prepared for the 2003 NEH Summer Institute

Re-Imagining Indigenous Cultures: The Pacific Islands

East-West Center and the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

 

This guide contains a selection of films that have been used in courses about the Pacific at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and other universities. For more information on these and other Pacific films (excluding Hawai'i), see Moving Images of the Pacific Islands, an on-line database of more than 2,700 films and videos about the Pacific. For more videos about Hawai'i see the UH Manoa library catalog. Choose Guided Search, set "videorecording/DVD" as the search limit and search for "Hawaiians" in Subject (SKEY). The website of the production company Nā Maka o ka 'Āina is another good source for Hawaiian videos. Pacific Islanders in Communications is another source of videos about and by Pacific Islanders, particularly videos that are destined for broadcast on public television. Check their calendar for national airing dates.

Film and video descriptions on this list have been taken from liner notes and library catalogs. The videotape numbers in the entries below refer to the University of Hawai'i audiovisual collection catalogue number. Where there are reviews on-line, the websites are noted.

            For information on courses that use Pacific films see the Pacific Studies Initiative Syllabus and Bibliography Collection

 

INDEX

Navigation and Settlement of the Pacific

Histories

Hawaiian History, Culture, Politics, and Environment

Gender

Tourism

Environment

Nuclear Pacific

Decolonization and the Politics of Independence

Indigenous Tradition and Transformation

Dilemmas of "Development"

Representing the Pacific

General Background

Features

           


 

Navigation and Settlement of the Pacific

 

 

The Navigators: Pathfinders of the Pacific (60 min, 1983)

Explores the ancient navigational heritage of the Pacific people. Mau Piailug, the last navigator to be ceremonially initiated on Satawal and one of the few men who still practice the once-essential art of navigation, is interviewed. In a dramatic demonstration, Mau Piailug sails the Hokule'a, a replica of an original Polynesian canoe, from Hawai'i to Tahiti, using traditional navigation techniques.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 330

 

Sacred Vessels: Navigating Tradition and Identity in Micronesia (28 min, 1997) 

Examines the canoes of Guam and Polowat, Federated States of Micronesia, as symbols of the survival of native culture and a metaphor of the history of the islands.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 16376

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP112.html

 

Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey (60 min, 1999)

Presents a seafaring odyssey with a group of Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, as they build traditional sailing canoes, learn to travel long distances using celestial navigation, and embark on a 2,000-mile voyage from the Marquesas Islands to Hawai'i.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 16378

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP121.html

 


           

Histories

 

Angels of War (60 min, 1983)

Through Japanese, Australian, and American war propaganda, and the memories of those who lived through the war, this film captures the experiences of villagers in the three-year Papua New Guinea campaign of World War II. Made by historians Andrew Pike, Hank Nelson, and Gavin Daws, this includes archival film sequences, still photographs, songs and poems, as well as personal interviews.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 702

 

Compassionate Exile (58 min, 1999)

Tells a story of the Makogai leprosarium in Fiji, which served much of the South Pacific from 1911 to 1969. The video follows the reminiscences of four subjects, three of whom were patients and one who was born on the island. It also uses archival documents to explore this unique multiethnic community. The video crosses the disciplinary boundaries of history, sociology, medicine, public health, and religious studies.

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP131.html

 

First Contact (54 min, 1983)

In the 1930s, Australian miners led by Michael Leahy and his brothers made their first trek into the New Guinea highlands. Compelling footage of the initial meetings between the white men and the highlanders is combined with interviews of the surviving brothers and highlanders who recall the impressions and shock of those events. UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 4387

 


 

Hawaiian History, Culture, Politics, and Environment

 

Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation (58 min, 1993)

Looks at the 1893 coup against the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen Lili'uokalani. Produced and distributed by Nā Maka o Ka 'Āina.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 7820

 

Faces of the Nation (60 min, 1989)

From the Mahele and the 1893 act of war against the Hawaiian Kingdom to the modern-day struggles for land rights, this video looks at one of the first native initiatives for self-governance, Ka Lāhui Hawai'i. Produced and distributed by Nā Maka o Ka 'Āina.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 2254

 

Hawaiian Rainbow (85 minutes, 1988)

Documentary about Hawaiian music and musicians. UH ethnomusicologist Ricardo D Trimillos and George S Kanahele, author of Ku Kanaka, narrate the history of Hawaiian music from ancient chants through the development of the falsetto style of singing, the introduction of the ukulele and steel guitar, the rise and fall in popularity of hapa haole songs, and the cultural rebirth of the 1970s. Features a number of Hawaiian artists. Directed by Robert Mugge.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 1420

 

Hawai'i's Last Queen (60 min, 1997)

Tells the story of Lili'uokalani's life, her embattled reign as the queen of Hawaii, and the ultimate betrayal that led to the loss of their kingdom. Film by Vivian Ducat.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 13586

 

Kumu Hula: Keepers of a Culture (85 minutes, 1989)

Features the hula in outdoor settings as it is taught by the hula masters who have passed an oral culture to each succeeding generation through the medium of the hula. Film by Robert Mugge.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 2480

 

Listen to the Forest (55 minutes. 1991)

Documentary concerned with rainforest preservation. Looks at the traditional cultural and spiritual ways in which Hawaiians relate to the environment. Accompanied by a program guide at the UH Manoa Sinclair AV Center. Film by Eddie Kamae.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 9093

 

Living on Islands (47 min, 1997)

Discusses the serious challenges Hawai'i is facing, such as uncontrolled growth, overpopulation, depletion of natural resources, pollution, and urban sprawl. Points out how early Hawaiians respected the land and lived within what natural resources were available. Explores how we can plot a course for survival and pursue options for a sustainable future. Film by Victoria Keith.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 14100

 

Papakolea: A Story of Hawaiian Land (57 min, 1993)

Examines Papakōlea, the only Hawaiian homestead located in urban Honolulu, which was established under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act but residents still face the threat of eviction. Film by Edgy Lee; http://www.filmworkspacific.com/papakoleavideo.html.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 8675

 

The Tribunal (84 min, 1994)

Convened 12-22 August 1993 in Hawai'i, the Tribunal's purpose was to bring the United States and its subsidiary, the State of Hawai'i, to trial for crimes committed against the indigenous Hawaiian people. The charges included genocide, ethnocide, annexation of a sovereign people without their consent, and illegal appropriation of lands, water, and natural resources. The panel consisted of jurists, scholars in constitutional and international law, human rights activists and indigenous law experts from around the world. A preliminary verdict called upon the United States and the world to recognize the inherent sovereignty of the indigenous people and for all lands to which the people feel they have a claim to be returned without delay. Produced and distributed by Nā Maka o Ka 'Āina.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 10356

 


           

Gender

 

Paradise Bent: Boys Will Be Girls in Samoa (50 min, 1999)

The film that tells the story of the Samoan fa'afafine: boys who are raised as girls and take on the domestic duties performed by women around the home-raising the children, caring for the elderly, and bringing the family together. The film explores the role of the fa'afafine, the anthropological records, and the impact of westernization. Through interviews with fa'afafine, Samoan elders, academics, and other residents of Samoa, the film explores differing cultural constructions of gender and sexual identity. English, and Samoan, with English subtitles.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 17766

 


 
Tourism

 

Cannibal Tours (77 min, 1987)

Shows the encounters between tourists and Papua New Guineans living along the Sepik River. A portrayal of the ways in which the tourists engage with the "primitive" people they have traveled so far to find. Taking endless numbers of photographs, they are preoccupied with acquiring artifacts. The filmmaker interviews the tourists about their encounters; Papua New Guineans describe their encounters with the tourists.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 1296

 

The Lau of Malaita (53 min, 1987)

Residents of Lau Lagoon in Malaita, Solomon Islands, face changing times. Focuses on one islet, Foueda, which has recently abandoned its sacred house, where Christian son is set against pagan father, the flow of traditional knowledge is cut off, and the young seek the rewards of western schooling and knowledge. Film focuses on an attempt to develop village-level tourism by creating a custom museum.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 5288

Review:

Royal Anthropological Institute International Video Sales List: http://www.therai.org.uk/film/diss_world.html

 

Pacific Star (46 min, 1994)

A musical comedy that features the introduction of tourism to a remote Pacific island. Examines the transformation of the people and the community after the arrival of tourists.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 13216

 

 Selo! Selo! Bigfala Canoe (26 min, 1999)

The inaugural arrival of a cruise ship with its Australian passengers transforms a remote village community in Vanuatu. Explores the experience of a small community coming to terms with cultural change, contracts, and 1050 tourists in search of an exotic paradise.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 17758

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP122.html

 


 

Environment

 

 Em I Graun Bilong Yumi: Popular Theatre and the Melanesian Environment (59 min, 1990) Highlights the work of Sei! Akson Tim in Solomon Islands, Wan Smolbag Theatre in Vanuatu, and Raun Isi Theatre with the National Theatre of Papua New Guinea, community action theater groups. Environment is the key theme: in Vanuatu, a look at the endangered seabird; in Solomons and Papua New Guinea, theater is used to bring a better understanding of the consequences of logging projects. Includes teacher's guide.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 20310

 

Mokil (60 min, 1948)

An ethnographic film depicting life on Mokil Atoll, Caroline Islands. Filmed in 1948, it shows the major aspects of life on a small atoll. Covered are such subjects as canoe building, fishing, taro growing, and house building. Also covers most of the aspects of Mokil social life and social organization including pressures on land, in part due to growing population.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 9391

           

Rising Waters: Global Warming and the Fate of the Pacific Islands (57 min, 2000)

Examines global warming as it affects Pacific Island environments and economies. Study guide available at http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/rw.html.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 18236

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP141.html

 

Since the Company Came (52 min, 2000)

The story of a community's struggle to come to terms with the social, cultural, and ecological disruption that threatens to fragment Solomon Islands. Set on the remote island of Rendova, the film focuses on dispute and division caused by the Haporai tribe's latest development activity: a logging operation. In Solomons Islands Pijin and Lokuru with English subtitles.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 18175

Reviews:

Anthropology Review Database: http://wings.buffalo.edu/ARD/showme.cgi?keycode=1870

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP132.html

 


 

Nuclear Pacific

 

Half Life: A Parable for the Nuclear Age (86 min, 1986)

Examines the facts leading up to the Bravo test, the role of the US government in Marshall Islands nuclear testing and long-term consequences of Bravo. Reveals the effects of the testing on the island inhabitants and on a few US weathermen stationed nearby. With declassified government archival film and contemporary interviews, it presents a picture of the effects of radiation on humans.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 851

 

Radio Bikini (60 min, 1987)

This documentary, nominated for an Academy Award, tells the story of America's first unclassified testing of the atom bomb through the words of eyewitnesses and archival footage that had never been broadcast before.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 2130

 


 

Decolonization and the Politics of Independence

           

Four Corners: Guns and Money (45 min, 2002)

The crisis in Solomon Islands includes interethnic conflict, corruption, bankruptcy of the government, and an uncertain future.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 20447

 

Ileksen: Politics in Papua New Guinea (58 min, 1978)

Records the excitement of politics in Papua New Guinea after independence. Features the first general election in 1977. Follows political candidates as they hold meetings and give speeches. Analyzes the style and structure of the election. Mostly Tok Pisin (PNG pidgin) with English subtitles, includes various Papua New Guinea languages.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 6263

 

Our Island, Our Fight (57 min, 1997)

A documentary produced about the ten-year war on Bougainville, the only filmed interview with Francis Ona (President of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army), and the only record of refugee life in the jungle. Includes dramatic front-line footage of Bougainville's fight for independence.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 16639

 

A Race for Rights (53 min, 2001)

Documents the May 2000 Fiji coup with news coverage and interviews of people with many different viewpoints from all walks of life. Some interviews in Fijian and Hindi with English subtitles.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 19892

 

Where the Rivers Meet-Fiji: A Divided Community and Its Struggle for Peace (36 min, 1998) An InFocus production for the World Council of Churches' Peace to the City Campaign. Looks at ongoing racial tensions in Fiji.

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP142.html

 

Yumi Yet (54 min, 1976)

The official independence film for Papua New Guinea shows the preparations of a colorful, diverse people as they prepare for this historic occasion. Schoolchildren, plumed warriors, officials, and visitors take part in ceremonies from the highlands to the coastal areas.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 705

 


          

Indigenous Tradition and Transformation

 

Advertising Missionaries (53 min, 1996)

In Papua New Guinea, where over three-quarters of the population cannot be reached by regular advertising media, a commercial market is being developed by other means. A theater group travels the remote Highlands regions performing skits to advertise such products as soft drinks, toothpaste, and laundry soap. The "walkabout marketing" group is also engaged by the government to bring social service messages such as the dangers of alcoholism. The four actors occasionally face danger when they run into unexpected local conflicts. Their approach is modified in Yaluba Valley when the village council objects to the family planning script. Some dialogue in Tok Pisin (PNG pidgin) or Yaluba with English. 1996.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 13624

 

Chamoru Dreams (27 min, 1996)

Eric Tydingco searches for his Chamoru roots in his native homeland, Guam. With the help of his family and artist Leonard Iriarte, he learns about Chamoru culture.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 13028

 

Fit for a King (55 min, 1994)

Made in Tonga during the massive 75th birthday and 25th anniversary of the reign of the King, when huge celebrations dominated the kingdom and the expression of feudal homage is at its peak.

 

Gogodala: A Cultural Revival (58 min, 1982)

Missionary zeal, tolerated and encouraged by the colonial government, was responsible for the near total destruction of Gogodala social patterns and artistic expression. A grant from the Australian government enabled the people to reconstruct a traditional longhouse as a cultural center. Presents many views on what the center represents and how change has vastly complicated the question of cultural identity.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 368

 

Happy Birthday, Tutu Ruth (28 min, 1996)

Account of Ruth Kaholoa'a, a 90 year-old great-great-grandmother who continues to cultivate taro in Hawai'i. Some of her 13 children describe their parents and their upbringing.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 13015

 

Man Blong Custom (52 min, 1976)

This BBC documentary follows David Attenborough to a number of sites in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu where cultural traditions are sustained in often dramatic ways, including Malakula, Pentecost land diving, and the Moro movement of Guadalcanal.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 7354

 

Man Without Pigs (60 min, 1990)

After receiving his doctorate, John Waiko, the first Papua New Guinean to reach the status of professor, traveled back to his home village to celebrate his achievement with his people. Fifteen years away from the village leaves him with the problems of insufficient networks and traditional exchange items, mainly pigs, as he attempts to provide a feast and ceremony. Offers a rare insight into the antagonism aroused when conflict between custom and western values occurs in an isolated community.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 6058

 

Moana: A Romance of the South Seas (66 min, 1926)

A silent film, made in 1926 by Robert Flaherty, depicting life in Samoa.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3261

 

 Ongka's Big Moka (also knows as Kawelka) (52 min, 1982)

For the highlanders of New Guinea, the most important event in their lives is the moka, a ceremony at which people, sometimes whole tribes, give gifts to other people. But motives behind the giving are complex and ambiguous. The larger your gift, the greater your victory over the recipient. Portrays Ongka, a highlands big man, organizing his moka.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 5291

 

Place of Power in French Polynesia (30 min, 1983)

The traditional Polynesian way of life has been swamped over the years by foreign, namely French, influences. The reemergence of the traditional culture is the focus of this documentary. Looks at some of the people responsible for this cultural revival and their arts, including the building of a double-hulled canoe, the art of body tattooing, and the fierce dance competition at the high point of celebration of Polynesian culture-the Tiurai Festival. 1983.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 1009

 

The Samoan Heart (28 min, 1996)

The Samoan culture does not reveal its secrets easily as is clear for both Reggie Meredith and So'oialo Sven Ortquist, two western-trained Samoan artists who embrace their heritage in their works. The Samoan Heart documents their personal journeys, struggles, and searches for self and the culture that sustains them.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 13039.

 

Shark Callers of Kontu (54 min, 1982)

For centuries the men of Kontu, a small coastal village of New Ireland, have gone to sea in outrigger canoes to call, trap, and kill sharks by hand. Now, after a hundred years of colonization, economic exploitation, and intense missionary activity that have shifted the base of New Ireland culture, few men still understand the magic ritual associated with shark calling.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 4411

 

Tatau: What One Must Do (26 min, 1997)

Examines the circumstances around, and ritual of, tattooing in contemporary Samoa.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 14238

 

The Transformed Isle: Barbarism to Christianity (Subtitled A Genuine Portrayal of Yesterday and Today, the Story of Fifteen Years among the Head Hunters of the Island of Vella Lavella.) (30 min, 1920)

Missionary film showing "improvements" and "advancements" in the lives of Solomon Islanders of Vella Lavella with the coming of Protestant missionaries. Contrasts the pagan period of warfare, head-hunting, and slavery with the seeming peace and prosperity evident after conversion to Christianity. Silent with captions.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 1940

 

Trobriand Cricket: An Ingenious Response to Colonialism (53 min, 1976)

Demonstrates how, over the last seventy years, the Islanders have transformed the game of cricket into a unique Trobriand sport and a colorful ritual. Trobriand political leaders tell how and why they and their ancestors have transformed the game and why the players dress as warriors.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 2288

 

Uiaki Fono: Resolving the Future (25 min, 1996)

Tonga, the last remaining monarchy in the Pacific, is undergoing a reevaluation of its ancient traditional system amid the influx of increasingly western influences. At risk are traditions that have survived for thousands of years. Is it possible for the Tongans to resolve the issues of change and the clamor for democratic government and maintain the unique aspects of their culture?

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 14660

 


           

Dilemmas of "Development"

 

Black Harvest (90 min, 1992)

Sequel to Joe Leahy's Neighbors, this film is a real-life drama about two ambitious men vying for power, two cultures racing towards head-on collision, and a dream that turns sour. Coffee picking buckets, the work ethic, and the promise of wealth are quickly abandoned for spears, bows and arrows, guns, and chanting as inter-tribal warfare erupts on the eve of the crop harvest.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 7458

 

Cowboy and Maria in Town (59 min, 1991)

Stories from the squatter settlements that surround the city of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. The film follows Cowboy and Maria, who have left their villages for the city in the hope of finding a better way of life. Produced in association with the Australian Film Commission, the National Research Institute, and the ABC.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 8674

 

In the Name of Growth-Fiji: A Story of Fisheries Development, Indigenous Women, and Politics (53 min, 2001)

Portrays the life of Fiji tuna cannery workers -- poor wages and working conditions. Shows the human costs of a growth-driven economic model for workers in Levuka's Pacific Fishing Company (PAFCO) on the island of Ovalau. Highlights the clash between World Bank-style, growth-driven development and the traditional values of a needs-based subsistence economy. It also exposes the reality behind the rhetoric of indigenous rights. As the economic tide turns against the cannery, the screws tighten on the factory floor. The women struggle to support their dependent husbands and families, to manage their competing roles as mothers and workers, and to meet the unrelenting demands of culture and religion.

Reviews:

Articles on film posted on Pacific Media Watch: http://www.asiapac.org.fj/cafepacific/resources/aspac/fiji3474.html

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP142.html

 

Joe Leahy's Neighbors (90 min, 1988)

The story of Joe Leahy, mixed-race son of Australian miner Mick Leahy and a highland woman. Leahy has become a wealthy coffee plantation owner and lives in western-style grandeur amid his poorer Ganiga neighbors. Joe Leahy's links to his neighbors and their financial and emotional bonds are explored in this film.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 2285

 

Kasis Road (87 min, 1997)

Kasis Road lies just outside of town. It is a world of corrugated iron shacks, dirt roads, no electricity, fatherless children, and gangs of aimless young men like Tony. There are few jobs and only a bleak future, but Tony and his friends enjoy their freedom until he gets Rachel pregnant. Tony doesn't want to know, but his father brings Rachel and the baby to live with them -- just when Tony has met the first woman he's ever really cared about. The film was shot completely on location in Port Vila, Vanuatu, with a crew of Pacific islanders from Fiji and Vanuatu. A production of Wan Smolbag Theatre. The cast is entirely Ni-Vanuatu.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 16937

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP121.html

 

Kilim Taem (Killing Time) (50 min, 1998)

A documentary based on interviews with young people in the capital of Vanuatu, made in conjunction with, and at the invitation of, the Vanuatu Young People's Project. It addresses issues concerning young people in urban areas, such as police brutality, political instability, crime, unemployment, and lack of education. In Melanesian Pidgin with English subtitles.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 18783

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP122.html

 

The People of Porgera (52 min, 1992)

A unique film record of change at Porgera, site of a major gold mine that opened in 1990. When filming began in 1981, the people were living in the bush according to ancient traditions. Now, they have received compensation payouts and western-style houses. Story of how the people of Porgera are embracing change -- and finding out what that entails.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 11823

 

Samoa: I Can Get Another Wife, But I Can't Get Any Parents (28 min, 1983)

Due to the economic depression of Samoa, many people emigrate to Auckland, New Zealand, which has the largest Polynesian population in the world. Shows a young Samoan couple and their daughter who decide to emigrate over the objections of their families, the sadness of the parting, and the eventual reconciliation of the young people with their parents upon their leaving.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 1010

 

Tukana: Husat i Asua? (120 min, 1984)

Tells the story of a university dropout who returns to his native village in Buka Passage, North Solomons. Beset by conflict with his family over whom he should marry, he resorts to excessive drinking to escape his problems. A feature film in Tok Pisin (PNG pidgin) with English subtitles.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 704

 

Yap: How Did You Know We'd Like TV? (55 min, 1982)

Shows the introduction of American television to Yap, a small island of 6,000 inhabitants in Micronesia. With incongruous images of locals glued to the television set against the beauty of their island paradise, this film gives a witty but disturbing account of cultural imperialism at its most cynical and blatant. Yapese and English dialogue, English subtitles.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 4435


 

Representing the Pacific

 

Hawai'i on Screen (45 min, 1992)

An examination of "Hollywood's Hawai'i," this video draws on clips from more than 40 films and television shows shot in or based in Hawai'i. Included are the ways local culture was presented, such as Hollywood stars performing their version of the hula, the stereotyping of Hawai'i's indigenous people, and cinematic themes of racism and cross-cultural romance.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 7816

 

Taking Pictures (56 min, 1996)

Australian documentary filmmakers explore the issues and pitfalls of filming across cultural boundaries through interviews and samples of their films of Papua New Guinea including Trobriand Cricket, First Contact, The Shark Callers of Kontu, Joe Leahy's Neighbors, Black Harvest, Cannibal Tours, and others. It also covers the work of indigenous Papua New Guinea filmmakers and their own experience making sense of film and culture.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 14933.

Reviews:

Anthropology Review Database: http://wings.buffalo.edu/ARD/showme.cgi?keycode=43

Screening the Past. http://www.latrobe.edu.au/screeningthepast/reviews/rev598/pix.htm

 

O Tamaiti: The Children (15 min, 1996)

A short film about Tino, the eldest son in a Samoan family, who is given the task of caring for his siblings, including a newborn baby. 1996.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 16410

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP122.html

 

Velvet Dreams (46 min, 1997)

A look into the kitschy world of black velvet painting. Features the internationally famous black velvet painter Charles McPhee and perspectives of Pacific Islanders such as Reverend Mua, a Samoan minister and poet, who "rarely gets to meet topless women in his line of work." Interviews with artists, collectors, dealers, and scholars in New Zealand, California, and Tahiti. 1997.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 17151

Review:

The Contemporary Pacific: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/cp/CP122.html

 


 

General Background

 

Oceans of Dreams, Currents of Change - A series of half-hour overview films, made in the 1980s.

 

Western Samoa (26 min) - The nine islands forming Samoa (formerly Western Samoa) have been said to be the heartland of Polynesia. A review of Samoa's embracing of Christianity and its values and customs is included. Also explored are Samoa's fast-growing population, changing trade patterns, and unique social system.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3528

 

Vanuatu (26 min) - Discusses the many languages of Vanuatu, the contrast between its undisturbed traditional areas and the sophisticated capital, and the feelings and viewpoints of the people of Vanuatu.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3531

 

Tuvalu (26 min) - Looks at contemporary Tuvalu, the old ways, the new challenges, and how people live in this tiny island nation. Depicts the strong traditional life and cultural identity of Tuvalu's people.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3545

 

Tonga (26 min) - An overview of Tonga, its past, present, and future. The last kingdom in the Pacific, Tonga has a unique history and social and political system.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3544

Solomon Islands (26 min) - The gold of King Solomon's mines inspired the name for the Pacific nation of Solomon Islands. This program examines the rich tradition and village life that continues alongside adaptations to modern ways. Shows extreme contrasts between islands.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3530

 

Papua New Guinea (26 min) - Viewers learn about Papua New Guinea's unusual terrain as well as its distinctive people. Contrasts the more traditional highland peoples with the amalgam of cultures in the lowlands. Shows the importance of mineral resources and reviews traditional and contemporary life and the challenges and changes facing the nation.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3529

 

Niue (26 min) - Niue is the world's largest coral island and the world's smallest nation. The island's depopulation to New Zealand is explored, and the contemporary issues it faces are discussed. Niue's economic system is examined, as well as its attempt to retain a cultural identity.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3446

 

Kiribati (26 min) - Looks at the contemporary and traditional life of the 65,000 people that live on Kiribati's 460 square miles. What the land lacks in natural resources is compensated by a vast ocean economic zone.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3543

 

Fiji (26 min) - Looks at Fiji's unique position in the South Pacific as well as its traditional and modern life as expressed by the viewpoints of the island inhabitants. Explores the relationship between the indigenous Fijians and the Indian people who together make up the bulk of Fiji's population.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3542

 

Cook Islands (26 min) - The Cook Islands are a collection of small coral atolls spread over a vast area of the South Pacific ocean where a new cultural renaissance is taking place. The educational system, and economic and political links with New Zealand are examined.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3527

 

Pacific Passages (30 min, 1997)

Pacific Passages is designed to take students out of the textbook and into the sights and sounds of the contemporary Pacific. From thatched houses in Papua New Guinea to the highrises of Honolulu, stages of life are marked and accompanied by art and ritual. Uses the world-renowned collections of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and recent footage from the region to explore the cultures of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Aimed at secondary school and above.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 14108

 

Storytellers of the Pacific (120 min, 1996)

A two-part series. Program 1, Identity, examines the question of how a people come to have an identity. Includes stories from Coast Miwok of California, Samoa, Hawai'i, and the Chamoru people of Guam. Program 2, Self-Determination, looks at the issue of self-determination through the words and stories of four cultures who have had to struggle to keep their cultures intact; the Nixqually people of the Pacific Northwest, Native Hawaiians, the Seri people of the Sonoran Desert in northern Mexico, and the Aleuts of the Pribiloff Islands in Alaska.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 13273.

 


 

Feature Films

 

Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree (90 min, 1990)

Based on a story by Albert Wendt. Pepe is a young Samoan living a life of defiance against his father's search for money and success and the Christianity of contemporary Samoan society in favor of the values and beliefs of "traditional" Samoa.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 4059

Review:

nzvideos.org: http://www.nzvideos.org/flying.html

 

Mutiny on the Bounty (133 min, 1935)

Fletcher Christian leads the crew of HMS Bounty into mutiny in 1789. From the novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. Starring Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 637

Rotten Tomatoes link to multiple reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/MutinyontheBounty-1014481/reviews.php?critic=all

 

Mutiny on the Bounty (176 min, 1962)

Based on the novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Hall. Story of the most famous mutiny in history aboard the HMS Bounty in the South Pacific in 1789. Starring Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard, Richard Harris, Tarita. 2 videocassettes.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 1210 (1, 2)

Review:

ATC at the Movies: http://www.sff.net/people/adam-troy/moviehtmlsrc/movie-mutiny.html

 

Ngati (90 min, 1987)

Set in the tiny Mori community of Kapua on the East Cape in 1948. Change is in the air; truckies threaten to displace drovers, and the old freezing works, the district's main employer, is on the brink of closure. The town's concern is equally focused on Ropata, the twelve-year-old whose illness neither Mori nor Pakeha medicine will cure. A stranger visits and learns about the Mori villagers and about himself. Screenplay by Tama Poata.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 4060

Reviews:

TV Guide: http://www.tvguide.com/Movies/database/ShowMovie.asp?MI=8449#review

Wellington Film Society: http://filmsociety.wellington.net.nz/Ngati.html

 

Once Were Warriors (102 min, 1995)

Based on the novel by Alan Duff. In a poor suburb of Auckland, Jake and Beth Heke live a life defined by drunken parties, unstable friendships, and confrontations with authorities. Jake, a complex man with a rascal's charm, is weighted down by a quick temper, alcoholism, and an evil streak of male entitlement. Beth's beauty has been scarred by broken dreams and Jake's beefy fists. Yet her inner strength and desire to save her family make her the solid center around which this story of tragedy and hope is constructed.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 12070

Selected Reviews:

filmcritic.com: http://filmcritic.com/misc/emporium.nsf

Roger Ebert: http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_reviews/1995/03/968227.html

Movie Reviews UK: http://www.film.u-net.com/Movies/Reviews/Once_Warrriors.html

Joan Ellis: http://www.joanellis.com/reviews/ONCE_WERE_WARRIORS.htm

Mobius Home Video Forum: http://www.joanellis.com/reviews/ONCE_WERE_WARRIORS.htm

Reelviews: http://movie-reviews.colossus.net/movies/o/once_warriors.html

Cinerama: http://www.guidetocinema.com/once.html

dvd.net.au: http://www.dvd.net.au/goto.cgi?http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=891

Cynthia Fuchs: http://www.mith2.umd.edu/WomensStudies/FilmReviews/once-were-warriors-fuchs

epinions.com: http://www.epinions.com/content_54908587652

 

Sons for the Return Home (115 min, 1979)

Based on the novel of the same name by Albert Wendt. A love story of a Samoan youth, who has come to New Zealand with his family for economic reasons and for his education, and falls in love with a Caucasian girl. Reveals the challenges of racism and cross-cultural learning in such relationships. 1979.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 4058

Review:

nzvideos.com: http://www.nzvideos.org/sonsreview.html

 

South Pacific (150 min, 1957)

Classic Rogers and Hammerstein musical with Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor. Many of the island scenes were filmed on Kaua'i, Hawai'i. 1957.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 667 and DVD 719

Reviews:

Guardian Unlimited: http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/critic/review/0,1169,621076,00.html

 

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (80 min, 1931)

The life of a young Tahitian pearl fisherman. Academy Award for cinematography.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3640

Review:

Milestonefilms: http://www.milestonefilms.com/siteindex2.html

 

Te Rua (95 min, 1991)

Rewi Marangai, a Maori lawyer, and Peter Huaka, a performance poet, collaborate to seize three Maori carvings from a German museum that were originally stolen from a Uritoto meeting house. A feature film by Barry Barclay.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 10276

Review:

New Internationalist: http://www.newint.org/issue227/reviews.htm

 

Utu (101 min, VHS; 118 min, DVD; 1983)

Tells the story of a Mori warrior employed as a guide by a British regiment in New Zealand, during the British Colonial campaigns of the mid-1800s, who rebels and seeks revenge ("utu," in Mori) against his employers for slaughtering his people. Epic film about relations between the Mori and the British in the 1870s. Directed by Geoff Murphy. Contains some Maori dialog with English subtitles. (DVD is the unrated director's cut.)

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 3076; DVD 0631

Reviews:

Digitally Obsessed!: http://www.digitallyobsessed.com/showreview.php3?ID=755

TV Guide Online: http://www.tvguide.com/Movies/database/ShowMovie.asp?MI=25339

1-World Festival of Foreign Films: http://www.1worldfilms.com/utu.htm

Movie and Video Review: http://www.blackpowder.co.nz/movie_archives.htm

 

Whale Rider (105 min, 2002)

Based on the novel of the same name by acclaimed New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera. It tells the story of a young girl's fight to prove her love, her leadership, and her destiny. It was shot on location in Whangara and draws on the legend of Paike, who escaped death by riding to shore on the back of a whale when his canoe capsized. The film won the People's Choice Award at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival.

Reviews:

Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/05/09/1052280431793.html

Media Resources: http://www.purenz.com/index.cfm/purenz_page/E17CC0F2-9B9A-4197-85EA-95C3DAFF6E2E.html

xtramsn: http://xtramsn.co.nz/entertainment/0,,7126-2089548,00.html

Filmcritic.com: http://www.filmcritic.com/misc/emporium.nsf/2a460f93626cd4678625624c007f2b46/a0a6539e967afda288256d110014fec7?OpenDocument

 

White Shadows in the South Seas (88 min, 1927)

The first MGM film to use synchronized sound (music and effects), it is the romance between a drunken doctor and an island woman. Filmed in the Marquesas. Directed by Robert Flaherty, who also made Moana: A Romance of the Golden Age.

UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 4310

 

 

Last modified 3/3/05