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Stars: Marie Wawa, Mungau Dain, Marceline Rofit, Charlie Kahla
Director: Martin Butler, Bentley Dean
This tale of life on the remote Pacific isle of Tanna, part of the Vanuatu group, is welded to a Romeo and Juliet-style love story, entirely enacted by members of the Yakel tribe, with rather varying results. As an offbeat look at a primitive yet loving civilisation, however, the piece carries its own voyeuristic fascination.
The heroine (Marie Wawa) initiated into womanhood as the film begins, has already given her heart to a chieftain's grandson (Mungau Dain). But inter-tribal violence dictates that the girl is promised to a rival tribesman to seal a peace treaty.
The lovers decide to defy their fates, as the action moves from clearings and lakes in the verdant rainforest to the grim rockiness of the island's volcano, still subject to occasional minor eruptions, cascading in sparks against the bleak landscape like the Devil's fireworks.
Based on actual events that changed tribal law, the film certainly moves at its own pace, but there's amazing cinematography by Dean, even if it's a little too dark at times. And, if you're familiar with your Shakespeare, you won't expect a happy ending, although a coda does conclude the movie on an upbeat note.
Australia 2015. UK Distributor: Yume Pictures. Colour (unspecified).
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.
Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.
Review date: 14 Feb 2017