The Orator

The Orator  {O le tulafale}
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The Orator
O le tulafale
New Zealand, 2011, 110 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: Samoa
US Premiere
Topic: Drama
Program: Awards Buzz : Best Foreign Language Film
Language: Samoan English Sub-Titles

Awards: Venice: Special Jury Prize

While The Orator's status as Samoa's first feature film makes it a native landmark, writer/director Tusi Tamasese's deft command of atmospherics, tone, and rhythm transforms it into a genuinely noteworthy achievement. Primarily employing first-time actors to bring this delicately wrought tale to life, Tamasese centers his film on Saili (Fa’afiaula Sagote), a diminutive pariah who lives with his wife Vaaiga and her willful daughter at the outskirts of a remote jungle village. When Vaaiga's estranged family suddenly demands her return, Saili must settle the dispute through the Samoan tradition of oration. While frequent silent passages lend The Orator a meditative air, they also offer an opportunity to admire the resplendent cinematography of Leon Narbey (Whale Rider) and the subtlety with which Sagote evinces his character's remarkable transformation. Scene by scene, we witness a sense of self-worth being instilled in Saili, lending him the resilience necessary to fight for what he holds most dear. And when the climactic war of words erupts, we find ourselves hanging on every heartfelt word that leaves his lips.

Director Tusi Tamasese is expected to attend both screenings.

DIRECTOR: Tusi Tamasese
Producer: Catherine Fitzgerald
Editor: Simon Price
Screenwriter: Tusi Tamasese
Cinematographer: Leon Narbey
Music: Tim Prebble
Principal Cast: Fa’afiaula Sagote, Tausili Pushparaj, Salamasina Mataia, Ioata Tanielu
Filmography: Debut Feature
Print Source: NZ Film Commission -

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