The 5th Pacific Film Night: a great success

ART 1 FIFO 075FIFO kicked off on Saturday 1st February at the Maison de la Culture’s large Theatre with the long-awaited 5th Pacific Film Night. Demonstrating that it is open to fiction through the fringe events, what could be more appropriate to open this 11th FIFO than an evening devoted to 9 short films this year exclusively from Polynesia and New Zealand.

The art of the short film: permits great insight to the gravity of the history as well as everyday life for these South Pacific societies, in just several minutes. With a sharp, sensitive and accurate perspective, like every year this 5th year gathered its dedicated spectators and an increasing number of particularly interested parties: ‘It was good, really good, I had never been before and I am not disappointed’ confided a festivalgoer.

These 9 short films touched, provoked laughter and almost brought tears to a room bursting at the seams.

The programme alternated all cinema genres, from the most serious to the most amusing with Rai et Mana, Lol and Hou A Ha’Amata Ai, all short Polynesian films lasting 2 minutes. Humour being a true asset to the evening. A real breath of fresh air to then go on to tackle more dramatic subjects: ‘Really excellent, an enjoyable cultural time and a few little known historical facts about New Zealand in Milk & Honey. It was very interesting. I did not know about the persecutions that the Samoans and Polynesians were subject to in the 70s, when the economic crisis hit them. They were the target of violent deportations although the majority of the immigrants without documents were Europeans and Australian,’ said René a regular to FIFO, an event that he would not miss for anything.

In Tatau, a film from New Zealand, Chantelle Burgoyne poetically tackles a man’s old age and his regret at not having finished his traditional tattoo. Guided by his last wish, he revives his traditions and the love of his culture and his own, embodied by his daughter.

Intergenerational relationships have been approached differently but always with great emotion, colour and clarity. We see the family marae revived through the eyes of a child in the short film The Lawnmower Men of Kapu. It is where everyone must find their place to perpetuate traditions and bring their ancestors to life, symbolised here by this gathering house decorated with carved beams, authentic genealogy, a sign of the strong links that are forged between the members of a group and its tribal genealogy.

Lastly a new generation’s perspective on a society in distress forgetting the most important thing caught festivalgoers off guard. Mischievous and tender, with I’m going to Mum’s or simply a disturbing reality, the violence that too many children are still subjected to with Lambs where the survival of a teenager is at stake.

All these short films are rivals for the public vote. The public will in fact be voting for their favourite film at the end of the evening. A special prize will be awarded at the prize giving evening, on Friday 7th February.

Short but hard-hitting: that is the strength of the Pacific Short Film Night: maximum emotion in minimum time. A success this year once again!