It is very rare to see indigenous people portrayed with such simplicity and beauty. Without falling into the traps of the Noble Savage stereotype that Herman Melville and others created in our western culture. Human societies have conflict and drama and violence and myth and love. This story turns out to be a story about a society that is able to learn from its mistakes and evolve. And we can learn from it.
Although I never visited a Kastom village, I did visit Tanna Island twice for work and was lucky to see the volcano. The plot of the film is fairly simple with a Romeo and Juliet storyline. The film is beautifully shot with shallow depth of field and amazing colours and landscapes. The main characters are all so charming in their innocence and simplicity. I loved it but have a personal interest in seeing Tanna again.
In its use of a volcano as the core of Mother Earth, here is some of the most indelible landscape shots in a terrain where that now seems common. Letting the rituals of the Yakei play out is when the film shines; people never seen in cinema who exude warmth and confidence. More context then for why Butler/Dean villainised another tribe to elevate this one? All cultures need a Romeo + Juliet variant, this one's true