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Fiction Night: a journey into the world of Oceania

Preserving a ten-year tradition, Fiction Night opened FIFO 2019 on Saturday 2nd February. This is a fringe evening event where the audience journeyed into the world of Oceanic fiction and voted for their favourite film at the end of the evening.

Chairs were put up in the aisles but there was still not an empty seat to be had in the house. On Saturday night, the Grand Théâtre at the Maison de la Culture was full to bursting point. Over 750 viewers came to the 10th Fiction Night. Since it began in 2009, this fringe evening at FIFO has met with growing success. 70-year old Tepora Redouté is a festival regular. The septuagenarian comes almost every year. ‘I really love these evenings as I find out about other countries and other people. It’s as if I were travelling’. The film from New Caledonia, Blessures, in particular moved Tepora. In the space of fifteen minutes it tells the Kanak story of Grand Kaori (the oldest pine tree), those of seed planters who plant the tree and give life to children, its keepers. In essence, the film raises the question: could the intrusion of woodcutters put an end to all this? ‘Transmission is very important in this film’, confides Tepora, ‘this kind of film needs to be screened at FIFO so that the past is not forgotten. The past helps us to move on’.

Reconnecting

There was a lot of talk about transmission on Saturday evening in the Grand Théâtre…the transmission of traditions, culture and love of land from elders to the younger generation. The Caledonian film The Tree and the Canoe and the Australian film Undiscovered Country were the most striking in this respect. They tell the story of young people in distress, trapped by alcohol and drugs, a far cry from their culture. They also describe how the elders try to coax them back to their identity and land. These two short films received thunderous applause… ‘I was blown away by “Undiscovered Country”’ explains 22-year old Estelle after the screening. ‘It’s essential that there are films covering these subjects as they remind us that nature and family are important in life’. For Coralie and Madeleine, who arrived in French Polynesia only three months ago, these short films enabled them to journey through Oceania but also and above all to find out about the thought processes of Pacific Island people. ‘Quite a few films examined links between siblings. It definitely makes you think.’

Keeping connected

Between emotions and laughter, the films Meke, Baby Steps and Possum left an impression on the audience. They all describe in their own way, and in original forms, the relationship between brothers or between a father and his son. The New Zealand film Possum, was undoubtedly the most successful. ‘It was very good. I was really moved by this big brother who believes he is protecting his brother but ultimately the opposite is the case’, reveals 42 year old Isabelle attending her first Fiction Night. It was quite a discovery for this fortysomething who intends to make the most of FIFO. Noelanie liked the message of love. ‘These are strong values that it is imperative to convey to younger generations. This film is a high-quality production,’ adds Fred. ‘You can tell a lot of work has been put into the picture quality enabling emotions to be reflected more accurately’. Strong messages, an exchange of values, moving images…FIFO 2019 has really got off to a good start!

FIFO – Suliane Favennec