Samoan language film is NZ entry to Oscars

MUMBAI: 36-year old Tusi Tamasese‘s debut feature, The Orator, is New Zealand‘s first-ever entry in the foreign-language Oscar race. The film happens to be the first feature shot entirely in the Samoan language and also the first to be filmed in the South Pacific island of Upolu.

The Orator focuses on Saili, the son of the dead village chief who has been ostracized by the community because he is a dwarf. Quiet and unassuming, Saili is forced to defend his family and way of life with nothing more than words and the power of his voice. In doing so, he claims his rightful place as chief of the community.

Tamasese, who grew up on Upolu, the smaller of Samoa‘s two islands, says it was important that Samoa become a character in the film.

While he wrote the script in English and translated it back into Samoan language, he says he was careful to maintain authenticity by shooting on location with a mostly untrained local cast. Capturing the rhythms and cadence of spoken Samoan were important to the film‘s plot particularly the difference between the villagers‘ everyday musical language and the orators‘ more formal speech, according to Tamasese.

Tamasese‘s ambling, observant directing style, which he says is derived from traditional Samoan storytelling, has wowed international critics and festival audiences alike.

Orator was showered with honors upon its premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, where it was named best film by the CinemAvvenire youth jury, took the top prize from Europe‘s art house cinemas association and received a special mention from the jurors of the Venice Horizons sidebar. And star Fiaula Sanote has picked up a best actor nomination from the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, to be handed out in November.

Amid all of the plaudits, the soft-spoken Tamasese remains humble. He has an idea for his next project but doesn‘t want to give away details. His hope, he says, is that Orator will pave the way for a new Samoan style of filmmaking "that equally tells a Pacific Island story that the whole cinema world can understand and appreciate."

Latest Reads
Govt says 'no mushkil' to 'Ae Dil' even as Pak industry supports Indian content ban

NEW DELHI: Although Indian is almost completely banned in Pakistan now courtesy PEMRA, in India, it became a Catch-22: give in or give up. But, ultimately Karan Johar managed to get an assurance that ‘Ae Dil hai Mushkil’ would be released as scheduled on 28 October, after the Maharashtra chief...

Movies Hindi
Sony Pictures signs three-film deal with international producers

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures International Productions (SPIP) has inked a deal with Mexico and Los Angeles-based producers Eduardo Cisneros and Jason Shuman. With this multi-picture development, the producers will write and produce three new feature films with the studio.

Movies Hollywood
31st October: Genuine effort wasted

Rather late in the day, 31stOctober is a film about the Sikh genocide of 1984 in Delhi in the aftermath of assassination of the then prime minister of India Indira Gandhi. She was killed by her security guards, who happened to be Sikh. That assassination, again, is attributed to the anger of the...

Movies Hindi
TV premiere of Daniel Craig's 'Spectre' on 23 October

Movies Now is all geared up to air the television premiere of the Daniel Craig starrer James Bond movie Spectre. With Diwali round the corner, the movie will hit the TV screens on 23 October at 1 pm and a repeat telecast at 9 pm.

Movies Hollywood
Jio MAMI: Royal Stag Barrel joins Star to promote short films

The Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star has managed to involve Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films to provide a platform within the short films category.

Movies Hindi
India against obstructing Fawad film; Maharashtra assures 'protection'

Even as PEMRA's ban on Indian content looms, the Indian Government has made it clear that it will not create any impediment for the release of producer-director Karan Johar’s 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ starring popular Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, among others.

Movies Hindi
'Thithi' to open Dharmashala fest; to screen 45 features and shorts

A total of 45 features and shorts are to screened at the fifth Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) to be held from 3 to 6 November.

Movies Hindi
New films: The business of a few lakhs

The dull pre-Diwali period has taken its toll. The films released recently as well as last Friday have fallen like nine pins. Some of these have been forced to commit hara-kiri as they would not be able to get playtime at the cinemas in peak period when the flow of star cast films is regular. The...

Movies Hindi
Bollywood supports Govt's Pak policy; pleads for ongoing projects

NEW DELHI: The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd today expressed “genuine concern of all those film producers who have invested heavily in films featuring artistes from across the border.” Even as it expressed unflinching support to the Central Government and solidarity with the...

Movies Hindi

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories