My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 02/2006

« 'Ghosts' weaves great tapestry from old yarn | Main | Now here’s a practical idea: PNG Pty Ltd »

07 November 2010

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


David Parer's " Bird of the Thunder Woman " 1981 In the Southern Highlands of PNG the Wola people.
This was his fourth AFI award which is the Australian equavalent of an Oscar.
David's uncle was Damien Parer who won the Academy Award for "Kokoda Front Line " in 1943.

ABC re-ran the BBC documentary Tribal Wives last night. This episode was about a rather spoilt and emotionally damaged businesswoman from London experiencing life in a village community at Kitava island in the Trobriands.

I watched it more dispassionately this time.

I still maintain that to plonk inexperienced Western women into a tribal society and watch them squirm at the toilet arrangements and the topless Bilas is TV voyeurism.

But it did have some redeeming moments. The white woman did come face-to-face with the reality that different cultures cannot be viewed through the mental filter of a westerner.

The local family came through as the true heroes due to their loving acceptance of a foreigner in their midst. And she didn't object to the pig being killed in preparation for a mumu. (We eat hamburgers everyday but don't confront the reality of what is involved.)

But her confidential admissions to her PNG sisters were the warm moments. They both had trouble with relationships, were worried about their future, and were consumed with self-doubt.

But the difference was that the PNG women had the security and support of a loving extended family. The English woman was just plain lonely.

Worth watching, and not patronising, but this form of TV has voyeurism at its heart; though it is more engaging and personal than the standard anthropological documentary.

http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/77806790

A group of aspiring Papua New Guinea film makers are documenting the stories of women leaders in PNG.

The film project hopes to tell positive story of women

Violence at home and in society often colour stories about PNG women,and while the film makers do not pretend it's not a problem, they also want to show other sides of life in PNG, with the assistance of an Australian academic.

The Pawa Meri project is funded by AusAID, and run in cooperation between Victoria University in Australia, and the University of Goroka.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/asia-pacific/png-film-project-hopes-to-tell-positive-story-of-women/1121830

Two years ago I somewhat precipitously made some comments about a film called 'Isolated' - a surfing movie made mostly in West Papua. My comments were based on the trailer.

Today I received this message from the producer Geoff Clark. So I wish to put the record straight.

________________

Hi Peter -

I wanted to follow up with you since the article on Masalai Wordpress ran a few years back. The film is finally complete, and I urge you to check out our website and sign the white house petition and become an "Isolated Ambassador for Peace".

What I couldn't expose to you before was that our film is actually about surfing and the West Papuan movement for peace and freedom.

As you know this topic is controversial, and I didn't want any governments or corporations to kill the film before it could be released. I bet that makes you feel a little silly about dogging the film due to the trailer.

You have to keep in mind, in America you need to make these trailers as engaging as possible so viewers make the effort to see the film.

Our film has the appeal of surfing, and experiencing a culture not many Americans get to experience- so that was our hook.

And once people are in the seats- they get to learn about the situation in West Papua, and are instantly hooked and want to become part of the movement for Peace

If you go to www.isolated.tv/takeaction.html you will see our campaign we are launching to help the people of West Papua.

Even though major organizations like Human rights Watch are afraid to tackle this issue, we are not.

And to answer your previous comment from the blog, NO- we didn't have permission to film in West Papua because its a journalism dead zone and no one is allowed to film there.

I will be speaking on Radio Australia on Monday at 1140am, would love for you to listen if you are available too.

As soon as the film receives major Australian Distribution I wills end you a DVD as promised.

Hope you are well.

GC

Geoffrey J Clark
Something Kreative
www.ISOLATED.tv
www.somethingkreative.com

Two more documentaries to add to the list - the Canadian TV production "Departures" had two episodes featuring PNG.

Series co-creators Scott Wilson (Host) and Andre Dupuis (Director and Videographer) travel the world to remote destinations and are amazed by the diversity, history and culture of PNG. Series 3 episodes 5 and 6 are about PNG.

The first is around East New Britain and concentrates on the Rabaul volcanoes and war time relics. The second sees them travel to Goroka, experience the Asaro mudmen, then take a canoe trip down the Sepik staying in local villages. They are accompanied by well-known PNG businessman and personality Nick Constantinou.

The photography is fantastic, and the series won several awards. They are respectful and admiring of traditional culture and amazed at the friendliness of Papua New Guineans.

Well worth watching.

Available to view here -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFd_UmP_Vmg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnjxIw7ieHQ

The ABC is reshowing the great documentary series Kokoda, with original reports from Chester Wilmot and film from Damien Parer etc.

Not to be missed.

A B movie was made in and around Port Moresby in 1934/5 - Red Morning, by Wallace Fox for RKO. It's a classic and has many interesting stories about its filming which I came across whilst in PNG.

RED MORNING
Released 1935

Plot: Poverty-row director Wallace Fox came up in the world a bit when he signed on to helm RKO Radio's Red Morning. Steffi Duna, playing the tomboyish daughter of sea captain Mitchell Lewis, is abandoned on the shores of New Guinea when her dad's crew mutinies and scuttles the ship.

Wasting little time, Duna sheds her "civilized" clothes for more exotic duds, encounters surly natives, and rescued in the nick by her fiance Regis Toomey.

This very economically made film was design to utilize footage of a never-completed Merian C Cooper adventure epic, and to put idle RKO contractee Steffi Duna to work as quickly as possible.

Wallace Fox co-wrote the crazy-quilt screenplay of Red Morning with John Twist. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

The scenes where the heroine is escaping from the shipwreck while being attacked by 'cannibals' was filmed outside Moresby on the wreck of the SS Pruth.

A local Hanuabada girl filled in as the stunt woman as the leading US actress was too scared to swim in the sea!

There are some great stories about the making of this film back in 1935. The canoes and actors for the 'cannibals' all came from Hanuabada.

When they came to film the first day on the wreck the locals all paddled away into the distance as they were chasing a shoal of fish and didn't want to miss out on a catch, so that day filming was abandoned.

When the Hanuabada girl (a swimming champion) was first filmed diving out of the wreck of the Pruth she refused to wear the dress of the US actress and stripped off naked before diving in - much to the concern of the US film crew who couldn't put that in their movie in 1935.

Next time they persuaded her to keep the dress on but wanted her to wear a blond wig so she would look like the US actress she was stunting for. She screamed and ran away, as she thought they'd just scalped the actress!

While the film was being made a young Australian (who had come to Moresby on leave from the gold mines at Bulolo) came to the set and started asking the Director all about acting and film making and asked to be given a part.

The director said no as he had no experience, so the chap went back to the mine. His name was Errol Flynn and this is how he first became interested in films.

The rest is Hollywood history.

* Director: Wallace W. Fox
* AMG Rating: ***
* Genre: Adventure
* Movie Type: Romantic Adventure
* Themes: Stranded
* Release Year: 1935
* Country: US

"In Their Footsteps" has been a pretty good series on Channel 9 TV Australia featuring war stories from unsung Aussie heroes and their relatives who have been following up the details of lost loved ones.

Tonight (29 May) features Kokoda and promises to be pretty good.
____________

THE WAR LEGEND WHO NEVER FIRED A SHOT

This Sunday’s episode of 'In Their Footsteps' on Channel 9 tells the extraordinary story of wartime legend Albert Moore, who saw some of the fiercest battles of World War II – but never fired a single shot.

Major Albert Moore was a Salvation Army officer who tirelessly brought coffee and comfort to men on the frontline, tended to the wounded and, in desperate times, did everything he could to make life more bearable for the Diggers.

It was a role he carried out from the searing deserts of the Middle East to the impenetrable jungles of the Kokoda Trail.

Moore’s commitment and bravery inspired amazing respect and affection. As well as being immortalised in a photograph lighting a cigarette for a wounded Digger in 1942, he became a symbol of one of the great legacies of Australians at war: the bonds of mateship.

Albert’s service record has also left a strong impression on a young descendant. His great-great nephew, Nathan Folkes, has been inspired by the example of Albert who, at the age of 42, left his wife and son to assist in the war effort with such courage and conviction.

This Sunday at 6.30pm on 9, 'In Their Footsteps' follows Nathan as he retraces Albert’s footsteps along the Kokoda Trail – a sweaty, gruelling trek that takes him waist-deep through the rivers and up the steep mountains of Papua New Guinea.

At 21, Nathan is the same age as many of the brave Aussie troops who fought and died in the brutal jungle campaign to repel the fanatical Japanese invaders.

And all along the way, this young accountancy student from Ballarat in Victoria asks himself a burning personal question: what would I have done in their place?
_______________

Watch it if you can.

Faces of Climate Change, the International Women’s Day film, is screening in Melbourne next week and it features Papua New Guinea.

When: 7 Mar 11
Venue: Federation Square
Where: Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Contact: Clancy Moore, [email protected], 0410 508 051

http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/climate-change/what-oxfam-is-doing/faces-of-climate-change

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Oxfam Australia is will be showing film series about women impacted by climate change on the big screen at Federation Square on 7th and 8th of March every hour from 11am to 5pm.

The short films from Australia, Bangladesh, Uganda and Papua New Guinea highlight the impacts of climate change on women and their communities and the inspirational role that women are playing in adapting to climate change.

To learn more about the Faces of Climate Change films go to: http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/climate-change/what-oxfam-is-doing/faces-of-climate-change

It's not a film, but PNG now has the dubious honour of featuring in a new popular 'shoot em up' computer game.

Dead Island - "Imagine that you've finally saved up to go on a big, expensive vacation. So you single out the Royal Palms Resort, located in a fictional spot in Papua New Guinea.

"After a wild night of partying you wake up to find out that this luxurious hotel has become infested by zombies. That's right, your relaxing getaway has become home to an army of brain suckers and if you want to survive this you're going to need to get creative."

Maybe there's a touch of irony in choosing PNG as the location where you are attacked by an army of blood-sucking zombies! Perhaps "Palm Island" resort is in Waigani?

http://www.gamingexcellence.com/xbox360/news/3232.shtml

Kiel McNaughton is a NZ TV star best known for his role in the soapie 'Shortland Street'. He has lived in PNG and has a Tolai wife, Kerry Warkia.

Kiel runs a production company with his wife. He has also done stunt work for 'Power Rangers', and the New Zealand film 'River Queen'.

Kiel recently returned from PNG, where he and his son were initiated into a tribe.

A documentary of his experience screens on '20/20' - a NZ current affairs and documentary program on TV NZ next week.

It would be good if any NZ contributors can watch and give us their review. Hopefully TV NZ will post it on their web site.

Re my comments about the Surfing film 'Isolated'.

I have been in email touch with the producer who claims that it is in no way racist or stereotypical of West Papuans where it was filmed.

The magazine 'Rolling Stone' did review it last year, but from a 'feral surfing', not a PNG, perspective.

Geoff Clarke the producer has promised to send me a copy of the complete film after its final edit, which I am happy to review. So I think we should reserve judgment until the film is released and reviewed.

It has been referred to rather ignorantly by various members of the surfing community as filmed in PNG. It was not, but in West Papua.

The trailer is unfortunate.

Another interesting film I have come across - Gina's Wedding - a French film.

"Gina’s Wedding is a love story between Gina, a young German woman and her adopted Highlands village of Napamogona. It is a film about love from a personal point of view and from a collective perspective.

"Gina, who happens to be born in Papua New Guinea where she spent the first five years of her life, goes back there to reconnect with the land of her birth and her beginnings.

"The village organises a traditional wedding according to their customs, where Gina is to marry Mark, her English fiancé.

"Gina’s journey as a bride leads her away from her old concept of person. But this mirrors the village’s journey out of tribal besiegement into uncharted territory"

Synopsis and details here -

http://www.tvfrance-intl.com/upload/bdf/flyer/flyer_36272.pdf

This link also has other info about PNG-related film, including “Voyage, voyage Papouasie Nouvelle Guinee” filmed for French and German Television – ARTE. This is a travel guide to Papua New Guinea.

And “La Famille Maden” is a film about the birth of a nation – PNG. Won three film awards in Europe in 2003.

Sorry my French isn't too good.

Exploitation of PNG of the worst kind? A new surfing movie has been released called 'Isolated' which claims to have been filmed in PNG.

It portrays PNG as inhabited by savage tribes of primitive cannibals. The film script includes such phrases as 'the cannibals are just over there', 'we will all die if we venture off this track', and makes repeated reference to the primitive nature of PNG people and rampant cannibalism etc.

It is doubtful it was actually filmed in PNG. The Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea was originally approached for help in making the film, but never heard from the producers after the initial contact.

The Asssociation says: "It is now become evident that the film has been completed and out there for the world to view and claims to be shot in PNG and seems to portray Papua New Guinean communities as horrifying cannibals.

"I believe that it may have been shot in Solomon islands and West Papua as none of our ten affiliated surf clubs, communities and registered land and sea based surf operators around PNG were aware of this film crew and SAPNG and or PNGTPA were notified including the PNG Institute for Film which has to give clearance."

As one of the actors claimed to contract malaria while making the film and spent time in a Jakarta hospital, it seems they made the film in West Papua, not Papua New Guinea as claimed.

More details on Emmanuel Narakobi's Masalai blog.

One more to add to the list which I don't think we have mentioned, Tribal Wives - another BBC series (why do they seem to lead the world in intelligent and interesting documentaries?).

This series plonks white English meri's down in tribal communities in various places around the world and documents their attempts to come to terms with local traditions and conditions.

Season 2 Episode 4 is set in Kitava, the Trobriands.

"Lovelorn London-based PA Becky Camilleri heads for the island of Kitava off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Here, she is paired with a new 'tribal father', whose strict edicts leave her struggling to cope.

"However, despite facing difficulties adjusting, her time among the indigenous people allows her to reflect on relationships back home - and brings to light some surprising revelations from her past. Narrated by Paul McGan."

I have a serious problem with this series. While it does not overtly stereotype 'tribal' communities (indeed it is usually the wite meris who come off looking stupid), the whole premise of the series is suspect.

I think it does pander to western stereotypes of remote communities in different cultures. 'Look - they don't have flushing toilets! Help I have no deodorant! I don't want to eat this rubbish! I can't stand not having a shower! I can't go topless!"

It makes living with a remote community in a developing country for a few weeks an entertainment for a privileged an ignorant few, being constantly watched by a film crew. Like an episode of 'Survivor' or 'Big Brother in the Jungle'.

Live in PNG community for real for an extended period of time. It is not entertainment. For that reason this is voyeurism, not real documentary.

I don't recommend this one - it might make you angry (as it did me).

I agree with Peter Kranz. I also watched the ABC last night and enjoyed the documentary on a possible explanation to the distribution of vegetation and wildlife around the South Pacific.

I don't know what history research they used to come to their conclusions. The credits ran too quickly for me to see who they were. But I think there would be other historians who would disagree with them.

What they said about the Lapita people didn't seem to fit in with what I had read previously.

The second episode of the series South Pacific was shown on ABC TV last night. Some comments -

Overall the photography is stunning, the commentary interesting and informative and in general the series is a great introduction to the geography of the region. It is a very useful educational resource for teachers.

However I have a few bones to pick with the second episode.

The first ten minutes were about PNG - the variety of wildlife (including first ever shots of the mating dance of the Goldie Bird of Paradise), the venerable age of human settlement and the probability of New Guinea being the staging post for the colonisation of the South Pacific by plants, animal and humans. But I believe there were some inaccuracies.

-- The latest archeological evidence is that human habitation in PNG dates back at least 50,000 years in the highlands, not the 'less than 40,000' quoted in the program.

-- The first ten minutes featured Sepik initiation rituals to show the relationship between humans and crocodiles. However there was no attempt to explain the human or cultural aspects to initiation, how widely it is practised or indeed where (the Sepik was not mentioned). After watching the program you might think that this is some sort of widespread and common practice in PNG, which is far from the truth. This segment bordered on being patronising and stereotypical (look at the superstitious noble savages!).

-- The program repeatedly said that the mainland of PNG is less than 100 km from the Solomons. Look at a map - it's more like 600 km! The 100 km only works if you island hop across New Britain, New Ireland and Bougainville - which are a long way from the PNG mainland.

-- The program stated as fact that Polynesian migration occurred due to seafaring advances made by the Lapita people who came via New Guinea. There is considerable academic debate about this. For example, the 50,000 year old human habitation of the highlands predates Lapita evidence by many thousands of years, so how did they arrive? The highlands people are genetically and linguistically distinct from the coastal Motu (who may or may not be the descendant's of Lapita colonisers).

-- Also no mention was made of the annual Hiri (trade) voyages undertaken by the Motu in lakatoi, which must have been very significant to the spread of life across the Pacific.

But I'm nit-picking. It's a lovely series and worth watching.

Another movie to watch out for. 'South Pacific' (not the musical) - Sunday 2 January at 7.30 pm (ABC TV).

"Come on an amazing journey to the South Pacific, with this stunning six-part series, uncovering the breathtaking beauty, amazing people and unique wildlife."

Great list! Could you post links to internet sites you know of that relate to them, some are not so easy to track down.

The Masalai Blog run by Emmanuel Narakobi had information about three PNG films recently screened at the Anuu-ru-aboro 4th International Film Festival in the Northern Province of New Caledonia.

Levekuka Clay, Nokondi’s Morning Call and Mama Bilong Down Under are three films produced by the Yumi Piksa project consisting of students at the University of Goroka (UOG) in 2009.

http://masalai.wordpress.com/

Thanks Don, just had a good talk to Jim Gerrand about PNG films. He just sent me an email and mentioned a few more.

"Another film which you might have seen was 'Jakupa' J was one of the pioneer 'naive' artists who were fostered around the time of independence. Like Kauage from Chimbu and Akis from Madang, Jakupa was from the highlands (from Bena Bena near Goroka) Sorry to say Jakupa is another friend who has since died.

Two of my other films I mentioned were 'Point Five' (promoting village self-reliance) + 'The Late Starter' (re NIDA;s role & foreign investment in PNG)

However my film efforts were made on a shoe-string and pale beside the subsequent landmark documentaries made by Robyn Anderson/Bob Connolly (the great trilogy: First Contact, Joe Leahy's Neighbours and Black Harvest') and others Denis O'Rourke ('YuMi yet'?Independence film, 'Shark Callers', Eleksin(?) Sepik Tours) & Gary Kildea ('Bula Yungu' 'Trobriands Cricket') for example.

There was an unsung but hopefully not forgotten Japanese film that many might decry but to me it was memorable & significant It was called 'Journey to the Stone Age'

Thanks also for the introduction to PNG Attitude ...I am preoccupied with China and Cambodia so my memories of PNG are deeply buried but of course some of the best and worst come floating up as they did this afternoon in our chat together."

So there's a few more to add to the list. I really loved "Trobriands Cricket"!


The Highlands Trilogy are available for purchase as a boxed set from Roadshow.

Here's one site that offers them for sale for $47, but I make no claims about them. There other sites selling them too.

http://www.mightyape.com.au/product/DVD/The-Highlands-Trilogy-The-Complete-Collection-3-Disc/1477566/

If you haven't seen 'Black Harvest", I would encourage you to see while it is still available ABC's iView.

The third in the series of Anderson/Connelly's famous trilogy of films (First Contact, Joe Leahy's Neighbours are the first two) it has been praised as one of the best documentary's of all time - high praise indeed.

I would agree. It is extremely moving, confronting and powerful. To be honest, one of the few films that has made a cynical old bastard like me cry.

Barbara - You can find more about "In the Year of the Dragon" by contacting Jim Gerrand in Sydney 02 9416 1018, email [email protected]

Jim might be able to help you track down other Papua New Guineans who accompanied Michael Somare on his visit to China.

That one is called, predictably, 'New Guinea Patrol'. It was produced by Maslyn Williams in 1958 and goes for 43 minutes. Screen Australia sells copies along with 'Along the Sepik'.

They also have copies of 'In the South Seas' about the Trobriands, directed by Jim Fitzpatrick in 1948 - all of 11 minutes.

Also Meg Taylor's 'My Father, My Country' retracing the Taylor/Black patrol made in 1989, again by Film Australia, 56 mts.

Bill Gammage and my ex-kiap brother in law, Barry Taverner, were involved in the film and it complements Bill's excellent book about the patrol.

There was an Australian drama film made in the nineties or eighties partially set along the Sepik but I can't remember it's name.

Also 'Colonists for a Day' with Jim Sinclair, made in 1994 by Alec Morgan and Chris Oliver - 55 mtes.

The PNGAA has copies of some of these for sale.

'Black Harvest' about Joe Leahy and the Ganiga people, is available to watch on ABC iView. Directors Robin Anderson, Bob Connolly, 1992. The follow-up film to First Contact,

http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/355809

Rossco - When I was teaching in PNG, many times I was able to show those incredible Damien Parer documentaries on the Kokoda offensive to my students. I'm not certain how I got them.

When I was a Brandi High School near Wewak I was able to borrow the amazing old black and white films from the Divine Word missionaries at Wirui Mission. They had an incredible set on the history of China.

I wonder what happened to those films, probably disintegrated by now. Many years later I found many of the former members of this order living in retirement at the Divine Word centre in Epping. They would have some stories to tell!

I certainly showed a lot of films on PNG, anything I could find, during my 13 years of teaching up there.

Next Sunday at 8.30 pm, the ABC is showing 'Sisters of War' based on the true story of Lorna Whyte an army nurse, and Sister Berenice Twohill, a Catholic nun captured by the Japanese at the Vunapope mission, Rabaul.

Should be worth watching.

There's more info about the film at the ABC TV web site.

This is an excellent list. Sad that the average Papua New Guinean has no way to see, much less obtain, any of these.

And, of course, Australia's first Oscar, Kokoda Front Line (1942) by Damien Parer, along with his other PNG-based documentaries, Moresby Under The Blitz (1942), Assault on Salamaua (1943) and The Bismarck Convoy Smashed (1943).

I just found this on the web under videos on China: "In the Year of the Dragon", Sydney, J G Gerrand, 1977 (66 min), English - A documentary film of the state visit of Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Michael Somare to China immediately after the death of Mao Tse-tung and the selection of a new leader."

I showed this film to many classes. I seem to remember that Somare was the first foreign leader invited to visit China after the death of Mao Tse-tung.

This is actually an important film and I'm sure this trip had a big impact on Somare. I'm trying to track down some of the other Papua New Guineans who went with him.
___________________

I stand fully corrected - KJ

Was there a film called Year of the Dragon about Somare's first visit to China? Probably back in the 1970s?
_________________________

There was a movie by this name - nothing to do with Somare, though - KJ

Include "Along The Sepik", a Commmonwealth Film Unit documentary made in the Ambunti sub district when I was ADO there 1960-63.
____________________

Just added. Thanks, Des - KJ

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.