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 (Fiaula Sagote), a diminutive pariah who lives with his wife Vaaiga and her wilful 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.

Original Title The Orator
German Title Der Redner
French Title L'orateur
Other Titles L'oratore - O le tulafale
Directed by Tusi Tamasese
Country Samoa
Available Formats Blu-ray, DCP
Screenplay Tusi Tamasese
Film Editing Simon Price
Soundtrack Tim Prebble
Cinematography Leon Narbey
Sound Tim Prebble
Décors Robert Astley
Costumes Kirsty Cameron
Production Blueskin Films Ltd., O Le Tulafale
Runtime 111 Min.
Language Samoanisch/d/f
Fa'afiaula Sanote Saili
Tausili Pushparaj Vaaiga
Salamasina Mataia Litia
Ioata Tanielu Poto

Mostra del Cinema di Venezia:

CinemAvvenire Award

C.I.C.A.E. Award

Venice Horizons Award - Special Mention

Premier film produit aux îles Samoa, premier long métrage de Tusi Tamasese, «The Orator» revendique haut et fort ses origines. Mais il réussit à se servir de la nature, généreuse, et des rites locaux pour narrer un émouvant conte philosophique à la dimension universelle. 20 Minutes

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