The vast expanse of the island world in the South Pacific evokes a fascination that people associate with boundless freedom. At the first moment we imagine white sandy beaches, shady palm trees, deep blue sea, intensive colours and aromas, which beguile the senses.
Today the topic of freedom concerns many directors and film productions in the South Pacific region whose history is affected by colonisation, independence movements and the search of identity by the native population.
The Aborigine Elder Kevin Buzzacotta takes active part in politics in southern Australia in order to lobby for independence from the Common Wealth and against racism towards the Aborigines. In a satiric way, here it gets juggled with that stereotypical image of the natives of the fifth continent. Almost like an argument for the Aboriginesâ freedom and the respectful cooperation of two cultures, the Dutch director Rolf de Heer whoâs already known in Berlin delivers the first documentation in the native language. The Balanda, as the Aborigines call the white population, and the community of the Ramingining pursue a common target namely the construction of a canoe. However in Papua, New Guinea for generations the population looks for its freedom in intoxication from the Betel nut. The plant, which grows in the coastal regions of that archipelagic state, gradually reaches the Highlands through the prospering trade and there defines the contemporary economical and social reality.
The director Chris Owen accompanies a family in everyday life where even the infants are slaves of intoxication and the paradisiacal effect of the Betel nut. And then you catch yourself wondering whether Chris Owen himself is one of the many dropouts who get addicted to the charm of this region.
A little bit farther in Auckland, New Zealand, you can meet the man of the Maori tribe, called Starfish who lives out his freedom on the streets by washing reams of car windows and is indicative with this film portrait of many native descendantsâ everyday life in the land of the long white cloud. And finally a Rapa Nui family, natives of the Easter Island, pipes up in order to counter the widely held belief to be an extinct population. For the first time you get to learn the native point of view.
The 10th EthnoFilmfest invites you to take advantage of the opportunity to experience many films and documentations about the South Pacific island world and to let an illustration of boundless cultural diversity pass your eyes.