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11th Fiction Night: humanity at the heart of Oceania

An evening of fiction to follow an afternoon of short documentaries: on Saturday 1st February, the room was packed once again for the 11th Fiction Night at the Grand Théâtre de la Culture. 11 high quality fiction films, lasting from 4 to 20 min, were screened.

This story was really moving about a coloniser imposing his rule without regard for what lay before him and without considering the natives’. Djimaa had trouble speaking, overwhelmed with emotion. This is the forty-year-old’s 6th FIFO and she can’t get enough. Each year the quality of the screenings is high according to the festivalgoers. Liliu, the first film of this 11th Fiction Night, left no-one in the room unmoved at the Grand Théâtre de la Maison de la Culture. It shows the disregard of colonisers regarding Samoan customs. The acting is excellent. ‘The characters confronted us with a whole host of emotions’, confirmed Teremu. The 33-year old man is particularly aware of the level of acting, himself training to be an actor. ‘The film with the pakeha grandpa and the young Maori boy was also very good. There is virtually no dialogue, it all lies in the acting, and they succeeded in conveying every emotion’. Walk a Mile tells the story of an old grouch who lives in a house next door to a family with young children. They are too noisy for his liking. When a tragedy occurs at the neighbours, the old grouch realises that he cares. A great story of love and attachment imbued with humanism.

Human relationships

This film was not the only film to wow the audience. Fiction Night was a feast of emotions provided by short films where characters share both happy and sad times. The ups and downs of life. Our Father portrays a New Zealand family of Samoan heritage, forced to confront the shadows of its history. Two girls live with their grandmother as their mother has died. Their father has abandoned them. When he returns after four years absence, the demons resurface. The women in the family join forces in the name of healing. ‘The sequences are both sad and beautiful’, confides Mira with tears in her eyes. This is her first FIFO and she is delighted that she came. ‘It’s a great moment for sharing and learning new things. It takes me out of myself and I was deeply struck by the films. There was a lot of emotion. Is it always like this?

Laughter and emotion

A mixture of tears and laughter. #Collaspsingempire generated giggles among the audience. A date takes place in a restaurant that neither the man or woman are familiar with but which has a good reputation. There is a scene where absurdity plays a large role. Two animated films are part of this selection where absurdity is blended with laughter. Love Bytes tells the story of a lonely robot in a desolate world in search of happiness. A concept unfamiliar to him. Troll Bridge immerses the viewer into the crazy character of the last barbarian hero, age 87, and his encounter with a Troll, keeper of the bridges. There is plenty to please the youngest in the audience at this Fiction Night. ‘I’m a regular and I always come as a family and with my children. Through these films, we can introduce them to our histories and those of our neighbours, and also be entertained’, assesses Cyril who was particularly moved by the film Ori, produced in French Polynesia. This film that tells the story of a young deaf girl learning to dance the ‘ori tahiti’, spoke volumes to Isabelle, a festival regular. She has attended Fiction Night from the start. ‘My parents are deaf. I always thought that Tahitian dance with its gestures was accessible to deaf people. I could really relate to this film’. Each year, Isabelle is blown away by the power of the stories from each of the countries in Oceania. Stories that she discovers at FIFO. This 11th Fiction Night was no exception to the rule

Suliane Favennec/ FIFO 2020