The Orator (O le tulafale) Directed by: Tusi Tamasese Cast: Fa-afiaula Sanote, Tausili Pushparaj, Salamasina Mataia Running Time: 1 hour 50 mins Rating: Not Rated Showtimes at PIFF: Wednesday 2/15 8:15pm at Lloyd Mall 5, Saturday 2/18 2:30pm at Lloyd Mall 6, Monday 2/20 2:30pm at Pioneer Place 5 Complete PIFF Schedule
PLOT: A quiet little person lives with his wife and her daughter in his village. But when his wife's family decides they want her to move back to her home village, he may have to find his voice.
WHO'S IT FOR? Moviegoers who like films about different cultures and unique people.
Saili (Sanote) lives with his wife and her daughter in a small village in Samoa. He has to fight for all he has, partially because he's a little person and some people seem to think they can push him around. His wife is a bright spot in his life, she believes in him and sees his strength. When her family comes to her and asks/tries to force her to move back to her home village, she stands up to them but also wants Saili to speak up for her. But he refuses to become a Chief and therefore be an "orator." I don't really understand what holds him back, because he's willing to fight against people who try to take advantage, such as a family growing yams on his land. He keeps being pushed and pushed and I just wondered when he would stand up for himself.
Though the festival lists it as a New Zealand film, it's the first feature film from Samoa. The rhythms of the film seem to reflect life on the island nation, they're slow, sometimes almost meandering. At times I grew frustrated by the lack of action. Sanote has a very expressive face, which is great because he refrains from speaking for large sections of the film. When he finally finds his voice, it's a powerful moment. But the journey there was a little longer than I wanted.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10