Film: 5997

Social History | 1980 | Sound | Colour


The revival of Polynesian culture and cultural pride in French Polynesia, especially Tahiti. Includes traditional tattooing, dancing, and canoe building as well as use of film to bring culture to a larger audience.

Two aerial shots of Tahiti. Aerial shot of Papete its capital. Driving through the town centre traffic. Driving past yachts moored in the harbour. A still lagoon, white water breaking on reef in distance, backed by hills rising into mist. Tourists sunbathing on loungers. Series of shots of tourists in town, looking at stalls. Focus on souvenirs, post cards and picture of nuclear explosion/mushroom cloud (while the commentary makes a sly reference to local dependence on government employment). Young local girl inserts video cassette and turns on TV. Mother and kids watch Television. French historical drama film on TV. Small child engrossed. Same movie on TV. Local people in traditional dress on a film set, woman holds script. Various shots of the film being made, local people directing, operating and acting enthronement of a new high king. Interview with director, a Tahitian poet, (in French, English subtitles) who says he is trying to remind locals of the 'sacred' within the Polynesian culture. More shots of the filming, including the ceremony being acted out with dancing and music. Close up of tattoos on warriors. Close up of a tattoo being done in the traditional manner. Interview with tattooist explaining spiritual / historical significance of tattoos. Shots of mist shrouded hills over looking inlets. Two canoes rest amongst trees looking out over water. Young mother with baby on her hip comes between traditional houses to give a drink to her husband on a canoe. Man grinds up ink. Tattooist ties feathers for a traditional hair decoration while describing his art. Canoe builder trims his canoe. Young mother is interview (in English) and explains the significance of her babies name. Tattooist explains the patterns he will use on next subject. Tattooing in action. Explanation of the role of pain. Repeated shots of tattooing and explanations from the tattooist, finishes with the view that tourism is essential for subsidising the cultural activities. A young woman cooks in a modern kitchen, she is a top dancer. Eats a meal with her boyfriend. Series of shots of dancer at rehearsal of a theatrical show.

She is interviewed about dancing (in French, English subtitles). Troop putting on costumes for tourist show. Drummers giving beat, girls dancing on stone courtyard with tourists sitting at tables in the background. Tourists clap, girls dance. Men & woman dancers singing. Dancer interviewed again. Dancers performing. Musicians playing. Dancer & boyfriend at a festival. Table of trophies waiting for winners. Canoe competitors greet each other. Canoe off loaded from truck. Outrigger lashed on. Canoe carried down to the water. Canoes racing, 3 man then 6 man. Canoe builder trimming his wooden canoe, while explaining that he is Maori and wants to recreate the Polynesian voyages of expansion. The Expedition leader explains what they plan to do. Canoe builder explains how side paddles work. Leader shows the material to be used for sails. Canoe builder explains what finished canoe will look like and how constructed. Leader says they will make NZ. Canoeist explains why he thinks Christians oppose his work. Drummers at a large dance festival, dancers performing. Audience applauds enthusiastically. A singing dance. Cameramen and media interest. Series of single dancers, male and female. The trophies awaiting winners. Man and Woman together. Small girls dancing. Small boys dancing. Singing troop with guitars. Film director comments (in French, English subtitles) on the revival of Polynesian culture. Singers at the festival. Dancers.

To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 5997.