A well crafted documentary by Robert Flaherty, on the life and day to day rituals of a Samoan tribe of the island of Savai’i. This documentary depicts the true Moana, form day to day hunting and gathering to fishing, swimming, and other recreational activities, even how he is marked as a man in the village. A very well done and remastered part of cinematography.
The fact that this was filmed 90+ years ago is simply astonishing! How much the relatively modern soundtrack adds to or detracts (or should that be distracts?) from the overall effect is questionable in my mind. While the singing is beautiful, the dubbed voices took away some of the (albeit staged) authenticity. I particularly enjoyed the dressmaking and tattooing scenes. I'm not quite sure what that says about me!
Exquisitely shot and matched seamlessly with ambient sounds of folk song and bird calls, Moana is a charming if somewhat meandering and slow paced film by hyper kinetic modern standards. Not quite up there with Tabu, but nonetheless still a must see for all Flaherty enthusiasts.
To me, this was like a cross between an anthropological study and a slow episode of The Island with Bear Grylls in which all the competitors are experts in island life. The film meanders between staged scenes where little happens - some are interesting, some are tedious. It would have helped if something vaguely dramatic happened, and if the editor was a little more ruthless in the cutting room.