Monday, February 09, 2009


Moana - auringon poika. US © 1926 Famous Players-Lasky. D+SC+DP: Robert Flaherty - Akeley. With Frances Flaherty and David Flaherty. LOC: Safune village at Savai'i, Polynesia. WITH: Ta'avale, Fa'amgase, Tu'ugaita, Moana, Pe'a. Copyright renewed by Paramount (1953). The Monica Flaherty music version © 1980, 16 mm print of Sami van Ingen, 70 min. Viewed at KAVA Pursimiehenkatu screening room, 9 Feb 2009.

Revisited, I had seen this version before in ca 1985 in Berlin, presented by Monica Flaherty. She utilized early May rebellion songs recorded by David Flaherty. She remembered also Samoan songs from her childhood there. Three principal actors (Moana, Faangese, Pea) were still alive in 1975. Robert Flaherty always wanted Moana in sound, and Monica realized his wish.

A print stretched in all sequences with human motion and equipped with soundtrack. The film was apparently shot at 18 fps, every third frame doubled in the human motion scenes. The sound was recorded in 1975 in Samoa by Monica Flaherty and Richard Leacock. - The original negative was burned by Paramount maybe already in the 1940s. This print is based on the Stockholm dupe. - This masterpiece is the film that was the first to be called a work "of documentary value" in the English language (by Grierson).

The harvest. Fa'angase, the highest maiden. Beautiful harvest songs. The only dangerous animal: the wild hog. The hunting song. Setting the trap. Water out of the tree trunk. The song of returning from the woods. The songs are gentle and tender. Pua a tele! - it's big! The lethal fangs of the hog. A beautiful song as the hog is carried on bars. The sea. The long boat for three. Swimming in the clear water. Fishing with a sharp stick. Peeling the tree bark. Tanning the bark. The manufacture of the Tava cloth from bast (the inner bark) of the mulberry tree.

How the cloth is made. - The interest in little gestures, how hands are moving. - Sandalwood seeds to produce colour. A beautiful sandalwood song. - Lavalava: the national dress. - The boat at sea: sharpening the sticks. - Climbing high to the top of the cocoanut tree in a memorable long shot. - The storm, the big waves. The blow-holes. The rainbow. - The song of the boatmen. Rowing against the waves, falling into the water. The giant splashes. - Expressive close-ups. - The strange animal hiding in the rockpile. - Making fire by rubbing two pieces of wood against each other. - The boy smokes the the coconut crab out of the rockpile. (Expressive close-ups).

The boys hunting the giant turtle. Magnificent reflections. The song of the turtle hunters. The song of the turtle shell. - Faangese cannot eat the oyster but loves raw small fish. - Cocoanut milk out of the cocoanut. The palusami dessert. Baked inside leaves. Breadfruit. A long montage on food. Taro, qf. dioscorea (in Finnish: jamssi). - Green bananas. - A volcanic island. - Faamgase & Moana, at the end of the day, Faamgase decorates Moana with flowers. Massage with cocoanut oil. Age-old rite. Tinkling shells in the ankle. Soft drumming, chorus singing, harmony. - A dance sequence: the pride of beauty and strength. The art, the worship, the courtship of the race. The mating dance. Music imitating birdsong. - Rhythmic music. - The ritual of the tattoo, three weeks, painful. The bone nail. The old-style clothes. Little by little. At great pain. The tattoo music. Light up your oven. Add colour. Dance music: the encourage Moana. Manhood through pain. Beautiful tattoo chorus music. In three weeks, the whole body is tattooed. - Let the kava be prepared. - The kava is prepared in a big bowl. The virgin of the village, the princess, makes the kava. Youth comes into its own. Dances. Harmonious song. Beautiful music as the little boy falls asleep. UA UMA LA VA = THE END.

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