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Movie Review – The Orator

Like Mike
Like Mike

Now, it’s not every day that you get to see a film that is a ‘first’ for a country as ‘The Orator’ is. Why is it a first? Well it’s the first every feature film to come out of Samoa! So, really, this isn’t just a film, it’s also history. Not only that, but the press screening I was invited to was only the 2nd screening of the film, outside of cast and crew screenings, with the first screening having been its world premiere at the world famous Venice film festival! It’s moments like those that I feel very privileged to have the job I do.

“Saili, an unassuming villager & taro farmer, lives happily with his beautiful wife Vaaiga and her teenage daughter Litia. Their existence, whilst happy and peaceful; is unconventional. Vaiga has been banished from her ancestral village for many years. Saili faces serious threats to his plantation as well as his family & has been denied his father’s chiefly title. Life is complicated further by Litia's blossoming beauty that is getting the attention of the young men in the village. Matters ultimately come to a head, requiring Saili to speak up, speak out & defend all that he holds precious.”

Now, anyone who has ever been to one of the pacific islands will know that life flows by rather slowly, in a good way, and this film captured that ideal perfectly with the story unfolding nice and slow without ever feeling like it was grinding to a halt. The film had a certain level of inevitability about it, but that’s ok, as in some ways it helped build up that ending even more. But the stand out thing for me was the performance of the lead actor Fiaula Sanote and there is a part of me that thinks this could very well see a nomination for him at the academy awards next year. Some might disagree, and I do admit he would be a dark horse, but I’d happily still lay some money down on that. Also, if we are going to talk about academy awards, I also think this film could be up for best foreign film next year as well. I guess only time will tell with those.

9 out of 10 from me!

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