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Tattoo, a promising initial film

Inside the doc TatauOn Friday evening “Tattoo, the Culture of an Art” won the SCAN prize to award a local production amongst the films in competition. A delighted team therefore introduced themselves to the public at Inside the Doc.

The public is strewn around the paepae on Saturday morning, but the atmosphere is joyful and festive. The film “Tattoo, the Culture of an Art” just awarded the SCAN prize, is in the spotlight at Inside the Doc. Barefoot in the sand, the director Jean-Philippe Joaquim and the producer Emmanuel Juan savour the moment. “I am delighted to be on this prize-list. A very emotional one this year,” points out Jean-Philippe Joaquim, making his debut as a director. This recognition offers the opportunity to tackle the issue of audiovisual creation in French Polynesia. “Elsewhere it may be an industry, but here it is more arts and crafts. Professionals are obliged to diversify to get by. It’s complicated,” specifies Emmanuel Juan for whom it is also his first production. For the two men, now it is time to benefit from this prize to gain local, as well as international visibility. Potentially, ‘Tattoo’ may indeed interest Japan, Hawaii and Germany, all countries that are interested in the revival of tattooing. “In Tahiti, we hope that this prize will establish our credibility and our legitimacy and thus enable us to propose new projects.”

With ‘Tattoo,’ we follow the history of tattooing and in particular its appropriation by Polynesian society as a result of the revival of Polynesian culture. We follow its evolution in the wake of tattoo artist Manu Farrarons, but also its export abroad. Why Manu Farrarons? “I am asked why I didn’t choose a Polynesian tattoo artist as a lead, but Manu is perfectly legitimate. He witnessed the revival of Polynesian tattoo; his father was the first to have opened a tattoo shop. Manu was also the chairman of the jury during the Polynesia Tattoo Convention in 2014, he has international recognition, he promotes Polynesia externally, he trained many young people,” specifies again the director for whom tattooing remains a “personal religion, a self-fiction.”

There is an aesthetic aspect to ‘Tattoo’. “No-one would guess, but we are fastidious, quite perfectionist. Hours can be spent on footage; it is our culture in achieving. We are also skilled in animation, so we spent time on it, but it did not cost us any more in the end. We did it all ourselves,” explains the producer.