Oceanian cinema, the cinematic voice of the diverse and vast region comprising Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, has carved out a distinctive niche in the global film industry.

This sector has brought to the fore a unique blend of narratives, styles, and perspectives that reflect the rich cultural diversity and stunning natural beauty of Oceania.

Australian cinema has been instrumental in shaping the cinematic landscape of Oceania. From iconic films like “Mad Max” (1979) and “Crocodile Dundee” (1986) to more recent international successes such as “The Babadook” (2014) and “Lion” (2016), Australian films have showcased a wide spectrum of stories and themes, ranging from the adventurous to the deeply poignant.

Best Oceanian Movies

The following list introduces some of the finest films from Oceania. Each one provides a glimpse into the region’s distinctive cinematic voice and cultural narratives.

These films, through their diverse stories and unique perspectives, contribute to the colorful mosaic that is global cinema, reminding us that every corner of the world has compelling tales to tell.

1. The Piano

“The Piano” is a highly acclaimed film directed by Jane Campion. It was released in 1993 and has since become a significant work in the realm of international cinema. The film garnered critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including three Academy Awards.

Set in the mid-19th century, “The Piano” tells the story of Ada McGrath, a mute pianist played by Holly Hunter. Ada, along with her young daughter Flora, is sent to New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner named Alisdair Stewart (played by Sam Neill).

The piano, which Ada considers her voice, becomes a central element in the narrative.

Ada’s life takes a dramatic turn when she meets George Baines, a local worker played by Harvey Keitel, who becomes infatuated with her and offers a proposition.

He agrees to return her beloved piano in exchange for piano lessons and a unique form of payment. As the story unfolds, it delves into themes of passion, desire, and the struggle for personal expression.

“The Piano” is known for its beautiful cinematography, capturing the stunning landscapes of New Zealand and enhancing the emotional depth of the story. The film’s score, composed by Michael Nyman, also plays a significant role, emphasizing the importance of music in Ada’s life.

Jane Campion’s direction and the performances of the cast, particularly Holly Hunter, received high praise from critics. The film explores complex themes such as gender dynamics, power, and the longing for connection in a repressive society.

“The Piano” is considered a landmark film and has left a lasting impact on the cinematic landscape. It remains a cherished work that continues to be celebrated for its artistry and storytelling prowess.

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2. Heavenly Creatures

“Heavenly Creatures” is a 1994 psychological drama film directed by Peter Jackson. The movie is based on the true story of the Parker-Hulme murder case that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the 1950s. It stars Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey in their feature film debut.

The film tells the story of Pauline Parker (played by Melanie Lynskey) and Juliet Hulme (played by Kate Winslet), two teenage girls who form a close and intense friendship. Pauline is a shy and imaginative girl, while Juliet is a charismatic and worldly newcomer from England.

Together, they create a vivid fantasy world called “the Fourth World” to escape their troubled lives.

As their friendship deepens, Pauline’s and Juliet’s bond becomes increasingly obsessive and isolating. Their fantasies and shared experiences take a darker turn, leading them to commit a shocking act of violence.

The movie explores the psychological dynamics between the two girls and the events that led to the murder.

“Heavenly Creatures” received critical acclaim for its compelling storytelling, atmospheric direction, and the powerful performances of its lead actresses. The film delves into themes of friendship, adolescence, sexuality, imagination, and the consequences of unchecked obsession.

The movie is notable for being one of Peter Jackson’s earlier works before he gained international fame for directing “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. “Heavenly Creatures” helped establish his reputation as a skilled director with a unique visual style and a knack for storytelling.

Overall, “Heavenly Creatures” is a gripping and haunting film that explores the complex nature of human relationships and the extremes that people can be driven to under certain circumstances.

   

 3. Once Were Warriors

“Once Were Warriors” is a New Zealand drama film directed by Lee Tamahori and released in 1994. It is based on the novel of the same name by Alan Duff.

The film explores the harsh realities of urban Māori life in New Zealand and tackles themes of domestic violence, poverty, and cultural identity.

The story revolves around the Heke family, particularly focusing on the central characters, Beth and Jake. Beth is a strong-willed woman who struggles to keep her family together in the face of poverty and her husband’s violent behavior.

Jake is a charismatic but abusive husband who frequently resorts to violence and alcohol to deal with his frustrations.

The film depicts the impact of Jake’s violence on the family, particularly their children. It also delves into the cultural clashes and identity crisis faced by the characters, as they try to navigate their Māori heritage in a society that often marginalizes them.

“Once Were Warriors” garnered critical acclaim for its powerful performances, gritty storytelling, and poignant portrayal of social issues. It became a significant film in New Zealand cinema and was praised for its unflinching examination of domestic violence and its effects on families.

Please note that “Once Were Warriors” addresses sensitive themes and contains scenes of violence that some viewers may find disturbing.

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4.Whale Rider

“Whale Rider” is a 2002 New Zealand-German film directed by Niki Caro. It is based on the novel of the same name by Witi Ihimaera.

The film tells the story of a young Maori girl named Paikea Apirana, also known as Pai (played by Keisha Castle-Hughes), who challenges the traditional gender roles and cultural expectations within her community.

The film is set in a coastal Maori village in New Zealand. According to Maori mythology, Pai’s ancestors arrived on the island by riding on the back of a whale, and it is believed that the first-born son of the current generation will become the leader of the tribe. However, Pai’s twin brother died at birth, leaving her as the only potential successor.

Her grandfather, Koro (played by Rawiri Paratene), is the current leader and is disappointed that Pai cannot fulfill this role due to her gender.

   

Pai is determined to prove her worth and gain her grandfather’s acceptance. She develops a strong connection with the whales and shows her natural leadership abilities.

Despite facing resistance and cultural barriers, Pai strives to break free from tradition and demonstrate that she is capable of leading her people.

“Whale Rider” explores themes of identity, tradition, female empowerment, and the clash between modernity and cultural heritage.

The film received critical acclaim for its heartfelt storytelling, engaging performances, and its celebration of Maori culture and mythology.

Keisha Castle-Hughes received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, making her the youngest person to be nominated in that category at the time.

Whale Rider
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Keisha Castle-Hughes, Vicky Haughton (Actors)
  • Niki Caro (Director) - Niki Caro (Writer) - Tim Sanders (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

5. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is a 2016 adventure comedy-drama film directed by Taika Waititi. The film is based on the book “Wild Pork and Watercress” by Barry Crump.

Set in New Zealand, it tells the story of a young boy named Ricky Baker (played by Julian Dennison) who is placed in foster care with a couple living in the countryside.

Ricky’s foster parents are Bella (played by Rima Te Wiata) and Hec (played by Sam Neill). Initially, Ricky struggles to adapt to his new environment but eventually forms a close bond with Bella.

However, when a tragic event occurs, Ricky and Hec find themselves on the run from the authorities in the rugged New Zealand bush.

As the pair navigates the wilderness, an extensive manhunt ensues, with the media labeling them as dangerous outlaws.

The film humorously explores their unconventional journey, highlighting the unlikely friendship that develops between Ricky, a rebellious city kid, and Hec, a grizzled bushman.

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” received widespread critical acclaim for its humor, heart, and memorable performances. It is known for its unique blend of adventure, comedy, and touching moments, along with its beautiful cinematography showcasing the New Zealand landscapes.

The film’s witty dialogue, endearing characters, and Taika Waititi’s distinctive directorial style contributed to its success.

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” became a box office hit in New Zealand and gained international recognition, further establishing Waititi as a notable filmmaker. The film’s charm and universal themes of friendship and belonging have made it a beloved entry in Waititi’s filmography.

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6. Two Hands

“Two Hands” is a 1999 Australian crime comedy film directed by Gregor Jordan. The movie stars Heath Ledger in one of his early roles, along with Bryan Brown, Rose Byrne, and David Field.

It is set in the Sydney suburb of Kings Cross and follows the story of a young man named Jimmy who becomes embroiled in a series of misadventures after a botched delivery of cash.

In “Two Hands,” Jimmy (played by Heath Ledger) is given the task of delivering a bag of money to a local gangster named Pando (played by Bryan Brown). However, things go awry when the money is stolen by a pair of street kids.

Jimmy finds himself in deep trouble as he must retrieve the money to save his own life. Along the way, he encounters various eccentric characters, including a love interest named Alex (played by Rose Byrne).

The film blends elements of comedy, crime, and drama, showcasing the underbelly of Sydney’s criminal underworld while also exploring themes of loyalty, redemption, and the consequences of one’s choices.

“Two Hands” received positive reviews for its energetic and darkly humorous storytelling, as well as Ledger’s standout performance.

The movie is often regarded as a cult classic and helped establish Heath Ledger as a rising star in the film industry. It showcases his talent and versatility as an actor, paving the way for his subsequent acclaimed roles in films like “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Dark Knight.”

Two Hands
  • Heath Ledger, Bryan Brown, David Field (Actors)
  • Gregor Jordan (Director) - Gregor Jordan (Writer)
  • Spanish (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

7. Walkabout

“Walkabout” is a 1971 film directed by Nicolas Roeg. It is a British-Australian co-production and is often categorized as a survival drama and coming-of-age film.

The story revolves around two siblings, a teenage girl (played by Jenny Agutter) and her younger brother (played by Luc Roeg), who find themselves stranded in the Australian Outback after their father commits suicide.

While struggling to survive in the harsh environment, the siblings encounter an Indigenous Australian teenage boy (played by David Gulpilil) on his traditional rite of passage known as a “walkabout.”

The boy helps them navigate the wilderness and find water, leading to a cultural and emotional exchange between the characters.

“Walkabout” is known for its stunning cinematography, exploration of themes such as nature, colonialism, cultural clash, and the contrast between modern society and indigenous ways of life.

The film has gained critical acclaim for its visual storytelling and its commentary on the human connection to nature and different cultures.

It’s important to note that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been subsequent developments or details related to “Walkabout” that I’m unaware of.

Walkabout (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Jenny Agutter, David Gulpilil, Luc Roeg (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director) - Edward Bond (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

8. The Hunter

“The Hunter” is a film released in 2011, directed by Daniel Nettheim. It is based on the novel of the same name by Julia Leigh. The film stars Willem Dafoe in the lead role and also features Frances O’Connor and Sam Neill.

In “The Hunter,” Willem Dafoe portrays Martin David, a skilled and solitary mercenary who is hired by a mysterious biotech company to track down the last remaining Tasmanian tiger, believed to be extinct.

Martin travels to Tasmania, a remote and rugged island in Australia, where he takes on the job of locating and capturing the elusive creature.

As Martin immerses himself in the isolated wilderness, he encounters a family who lives near his target area.

He forms a bond with the wife, Lucy Armstrong (played by Frances O’Connor), and her two children. Through his interactions with the family and his experiences in the wilderness, Martin undergoes a personal transformation and reevaluates his mission.

“The Hunter” is a contemplative film that explores themes of nature, conservation, and the impact of human actions on the environment.

It delves into the ethical and moral implications of hunting endangered species and raises questions about the balance between progress and preservation.

Willem Dafoe’s performance is widely praised, capturing the complexities of Martin’s character and his emotional journey throughout the film.

The atmospheric cinematography beautifully captures the breathtaking landscapes of Tasmania, enhancing the film’s sense of isolation and intrigue.

“The Hunter” received positive reviews for its thoughtful storytelling, strong performances, and its ability to provoke reflection on environmental issues. It offers a mix of suspense, drama, and introspection, making it an engaging and thought-provoking film for audiences.

The Hunter
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Willem Dafoe, Frances O'Connor, Sam Neill (Actors)
  • Daniel Nettheim (Director) - Daniel Nettheim (Writer) - Ann Folland (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

9. The Castle

“The Castle” is a 1997 Australian comedy film directed by Rob Sitch. It is known for its humorous and endearing portrayal of a working-class Australian family and their fight to save their beloved home from demolition. The film has become a cult classic in Australia.

   

“The Castle” revolves around the Kerrigan family, led by patriarch Darryl Kerrigan (played by Michael Caton). They live in a modest house near an airport in Melbourne, which Darryl proudly refers to as “the castle.”

When the Kerrigans receive a notice that the government plans to acquire their property for airport expansion, they refuse to back down without a fight.

Darryl, supported by his loving wife Sal (played by Anne Tenney) and their children, decides to take the case to court to protect their home.

With the help of a somewhat unconventional lawyer named Dennis Denuto (played by Tiriel Mora), they challenge the government’s decision, asserting their right to “the vibe” of their home and the idea that it is an integral part of their identity.

“The Castle” humorously highlights the quirks and values of the Kerrigan family, emphasizing their unwavering loyalty and resilience in the face of adversity.

The film offers a warm and satirical commentary on the Australian spirit, the concept of home, and the clash between ordinary citizens and bureaucratic institutions.

The film’s comedic elements stem from the Kerrigans’ unique personalities, their interactions with the legal system, and the humorous dialogue filled with colloquialisms and Australian slang.

Despite its comedic nature, “The Castle” also explores themes of community, family, and the importance of standing up for what one believes in.

“The Castle” was a critical and commercial success in Australia, resonating with audiences for its relatable characters, clever humor, and heartfelt message. It has since become a beloved film, often quoted and referenced in Australian popular culture.

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The Castle
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Franz Kafka (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 12/15/1998 (Publication Date) - Schocken (Publisher)

10. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” is an Australian comedy-drama film directed by Stephan Elliott and released in 1994.

The film follows the journey of two drag queens and a transgender woman as they travel across the Australian Outback in a tour bus, named Priscilla, to perform their drag show.

The main characters are Tick/Mitzi (Hugo Weaving), a drag queen who accepts an offer to perform at a casino in Alice Springs, Adam/Felicia (Guy Pearce), another flamboyant drag queen, and Bernadette (Terence Stamp), a transgender woman who has recently lost her partner.

Along their journey, they encounter various adventures, challenges, and encounters with the locals.

“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” explores themes of identity, acceptance, and friendship, while also highlighting the LGBTQ+ community’s struggle for recognition and equality.

The film addresses issues such as homophobia and discrimination with a blend of humor, heart, and extravagant performances.

Known for its vibrant costumes and makeup, as well as its memorable soundtrack featuring numerous classic pop songs, the film became a cult hit and received critical acclaim.

It won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and played a significant role in promoting LGBTQ+ visibility and representation in mainstream cinema.

Please note that “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” contains adult themes and language, and it’s rated R (or equivalent) in many countries.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce (Actors)
  • Stephan Elliott (Director) - Stephan Elliott (Writer) - Al Clark (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

9. Lukim Yu

“Lukim Yu” is a phrase in Tok Pisin, one of the official languages of Papua New Guinea, which translates to “See you” or “Goodbye” in English.

It is commonly used as a farewell expression in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island nations.

The phrase reflects the cultural diversity and linguistic richness of the region, where Tok Pisin is widely spoken as a lingua franca, facilitating communication between people of different ethnic backgrounds.

If you have any specific questions or if there’s another topic you’d like to know more about, please let me know!

Lukim Yu
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Godfreeman Kaptigau, Tinzey Mau, Fabian Hera (Actors)
  • Christopher Anderson (Director) - Christopher Anderson (Writer) - Christopher Anderson (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

10. The Coconut Revolution

“The Coconut Revolution” is a documentary film released in 2001, directed by Dom Rotheroe. The film focuses on the indigenous people of Bougainville Island, an autonomous region in Papua New Guinea, and their struggle for independence.

The documentary explores the events that unfolded during the Bougainville Civil War, which lasted from 1988 to 1998. The conflict arose as a result of disputes over land rights and the environmental impact of a copper mine operated by a multinational mining company.

“The Coconut Revolution” depicts how the indigenous people, led by Francis Ona, utilized their knowledge of the land and resources to resist the Papua New Guinea army and the mining company.

They employed creative tactics such as guerrilla warfare and used the natural resources available to them, including coconuts, to sustain themselves during the conflict.

The film showcases the determination and resilience of the Bougainville people in their fight for self-determination and protection of their land.

It sheds light on the power of community solidarity, resourcefulness, and non-conventional methods employed by the indigenous population in their struggle against a more powerful adversary.

“The Coconut Revolution” garnered critical acclaim for its portrayal of the Bougainville conflict and the unique strategies used by the local people. It raises important questions about the impacts of resource extraction, indigenous rights, and self-determination.

The film not only documents the specific events of the Bougainville Civil War but also addresses broader themes related to colonization, environmentalism, and resistance.

It serves as a testament to the resilience of indigenous communities and their ability to challenge oppressive forces in their quest for justice and autonomy.

The Coconut Revolution
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Joseph Kabui, Francis Ona (Actors)
  • Dom Rotheroe (Director) - Darren Bender (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

11. Aliko & Ambai

 “Aliko & Ambai.” It’s possible that the title may be misspelled, or it could be a lesser-known or regional film that is not widely documented.

If you have any additional details or if there’s another film you’d like to inquire about, please let me know, and I’ll do my best to assist you further.

12. I’m Moshanty. Do You Love Me?

“I’m Moshanty. Do You Love Me?” is a 1997 documentary film directed by Tim Blue. The film explores the life and music of Jamaican reggae artist Winston “Moshanty” McAnuff, also known as Electric Dread.

The documentary follows McAnuff’s journey from his humble beginnings in rural Jamaica to his rise as a musician and his struggles in the music industry.

Through interviews, performances, and archival footage, the film sheds light on McAnuff’s unique musical style, blending reggae, roots, and African influences. It also delves into the personal challenges he faced and his quest for recognition and success.

“I’m Moshanty. Do You Love Me?” provides a glimpse into the life of a talented artist and offers insights into the reggae music scene in Jamaica.

Please note that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been subsequent developments or details related to the film or Winston McAnuff that I’m unaware of.

I'm Moshanty - Do You Love Me?
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Moses Moshanty Tau, Pastor Shirley Tau, Dr. Nelson Barry (Actors)
  • Tim Wolfe (Director) - Tim Wolff (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

13. Mr. Pip

“Mr. Pip” is a film released in 2012, directed by Andrew Adamson. It is based on the novel of the same name by Lloyd Jones. The movie stars Hugh Laurie in the lead role, along with Xzannjah Matsi and Kerry Fox.

Set on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, “Mr. Pip” tells the story of a young girl named Matilda (played by Xzannjah Matsi) who is caught in the midst of civil war.

Her village is in turmoil, and the only solace she finds is through her teacher, Mr. Watts (played by Hugh Laurie).

Mr. Watts, a white man from England, becomes a beloved figure in the community as he introduces the children to the works of Charles Dickens, particularly “Great Expectations.”

Through the power of storytelling, Mr. Watts opens up a world of imagination and escapism for Matilda and her classmates, transporting them from the harsh reality of their surroundings.

As the civil war intensifies, Matilda’s life becomes intertwined with the fictional world of “Great Expectations.”

The lines between fiction and reality blur, and the story explores themes of the transformative power of literature, the resilience of the human spirit, and the importance of imagination in the face of adversity.

“Mr. Pip” received mixed reviews from critics, with praise directed towards the performances, particularly that of Hugh Laurie, and the emotional impact of the story.

The film showcases the contrast between the beauty of Bougainville’s natural landscapes and the harshness of the war-torn environment, highlighting the resilience and strength of its characters.

Overall, “Mr. Pip” is a poignant film that explores the enduring power of literature and storytelling, even in the most challenging circumstances. It examines themes of hope, imagination, and the human capacity to find solace and inspiration through the world of fiction.

Mister Pip
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lloyd Jones (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 07/12/2024 (Publication Date) - John Murray (Publisher)

14. Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree

“Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree” is a children’s novel written by Albert Wendt, a renowned Samoan author. The book was first published in 1994 and has since become a popular choice in Pacific literature for young readers.

The story is set in Samoa and follows the life of a young boy named Alofa Filiga, who is known as Lovey. Lovey lives in a small village and dreams of a brighter future beyond the limitations of his everyday life.

The “Flying Fox” in the title refers to Lovey’s nickname, given to him because of his affinity for climbing trees and his agility.

Through Lovey’s eyes, readers are exposed to the challenges faced by Samoan families, such as poverty, social inequality, and cultural conflicts.

Lovey’s dreams and aspirations are juxtaposed against the backdrop of a changing society, highlighting the tension between tradition and modernity.

The novel explores themes of identity, resilience, and the power of imagination.

Lovey’s journeys into the world of storytelling and fantasy provide him with an escape from the harsh realities he faces, allowing him to navigate the complexities of his own identity and find hope amidst adversity.

“Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree” is celebrated for its lyrical prose and its portrayal of Pacific Islander culture and traditions. It captures the unique rhythm of Samoan storytelling and incorporates elements of oral tradition into its narrative.

The book not only offers a window into Samoan life but also promotes themes of cultural pride and the importance of community bonds.

Overall, “Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree” is a poignant and inspiring coming-of-age story that resonates with readers of all ages. It provides an insight into the Pacific Islander experience and encourages young readers to embrace their dreams and cultural heritage.

Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Wendt, Albert (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 09/01/1999 (Publication Date) - University of Hawaii Press (Publisher)

13. Sione’s Wedding

“Sione’s Wedding” is a New Zealand comedy film directed by Chris Graham and released in 2006. The film revolves around a group of four friends of Pacific Islander descent, Sione, Michael, Stanley, and Albert, living in Auckland.

Sione, the protagonist, is under pressure from his parents to find a girlfriend and get married.

When Sione’s younger brother, Sefa, is deemed a “loser” by their parents due to his lack of ambition and girlfriend, the group of friends decides to help him prove them wrong.

In an effort to redeem Sefa’s reputation, the friends plan an elaborate hoax to make it appear that Sione is engaged to a beautiful woman named Vaimoana.

However, their plan quickly spirals out of control, leading to a series of comedic and chaotic situations. The film explores themes of family, friendship, cultural expectations, and love.

“Sione’s Wedding” offers a lighthearted and humorous portrayal of Pacific Islander communities in New Zealand, with a mix of cultural traditions, modern settings, and the challenges faced by the characters in reconciling their cultural heritage with contemporary lifestyles.

The film showcases the cultural diversity and vibrant Pacific Islander identity within New Zealand.

The success of “Sione’s Wedding” led to a sequel titled “Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business” released in 2012. Both films became popular within New Zealand and among audiences appreciative of multicultural comedies.

Please note that the film may contain cultural references and humor specific to the Pacific Islander community and New Zealand context.

Samoan Wedding
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Oscar Kightley, Iaheto Ah Hi, Shimpal Lelisi (Actors)
  • Chris Graham (Director) - James Griffin (Writer) - Magnolia Pictures (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

14. The Orator

“The Orator” (original title: “O Le Tulafale”) is a Samoan drama film directed by Tusi Tamasese and released in 2011. It is the first feature film from Samoa and is predominantly spoken in the Samoan language.

The film tells the story of Saili, a small-statured and mute Samoan man who faces various challenges in his life. Despite his physical limitations, Saili aspires to become a “tulafale,” a traditional orator who holds a respected position in Samoan culture.

However, he faces discrimination and ridicule from others in his village due to his size and inability to speak.

As the story unfolds, Saili is confronted with personal struggles, family conflicts, and cultural traditions.

Through his determination and the support of his wife and daughter, Saili finds his voice and challenges the expectations placed upon him.

“The Orator” explores themes of identity, cultural traditions, social status, and the power of personal expression. The film provides a glimpse into Samoan culture and traditions while addressing universal themes of resilience and the fight against discrimination.

“The Orator” received critical acclaim for its authentic portrayal of Samoan culture, strong performances, and poignant storytelling. It won several awards at international film festivals and played a significant role in raising the profile of Samoan cinema on the global stage.

Please note that the availability of “The Orator” may vary depending on your location and the platforms or sources you have access to.

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15. Three Wise Cousins

“Three Wise Cousins” is a 2016 Samoan-New Zealand comedy film directed by Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa.

The film follows the story of Adam (played by Neil Amituanai), a Samoan-New Zealand young man who travels to Samoa in an attempt to impress a girl he likes, Mary (played by Gloria Ofa Blake).

However, Adam quickly discovers that traditional Samoan customs and expectations clash with his modern city upbringing.

Adam’s two wise and traditional Samoan cousins, Tavita (played by Vito Vito) and Mose (played by Fesuiai Viliamu), guide him and offer advice on how to navigate the cultural challenges and win Mary’s heart.

Through humor and comedic situations, the film explores themes of love, identity, and the clash between modernity and tradition.

“Three Wise Cousins” gained attention as a low-budget independent film that resonated with audiences, particularly in the Pacific Island community.

It became a box-office success in New Zealand and Australia and received positive reviews for its light-hearted comedy and cultural representation. The film’s success also contributed to increased visibility and recognition for Pacific Island filmmakers.

Three Wise Cousins (2016)
  • Three Wise Cousins (2016)
  • Three Wise Cousins (2016)
  • Neil Amituanai, Gloria Blake, Susana Fanueli (Actors)
  • Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa (Director) - Three Wise Cousins (2016) (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)

16. Moana

“Moana” is a 2016 animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the film tells the story of a young Polynesian girl named Moana Waialiki who embarks on a journey to save her people and restore the heart of Te Fiti, a goddess.

The film is set in the ancient world of Oceania and draws inspiration from Polynesian mythology and culture. Moana, the daughter of the chief of Motunui Island, feels a strong connection to the ocean and is chosen by the ocean itself to embark on a quest.

With the help of the demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), Moana sets sail on a perilous voyage, encountering various challenges and mythical creatures along the way.

“Moana” is known for its captivating visuals, vibrant animation, and memorable songs composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina.

The film received critical acclaim for its portrayal of Polynesian culture, its empowering portrayal of a strong female protagonist, and its themes of self-discovery and following one’s own path.

The film’s depiction of Moana as a determined and courageous heroine resonated with audiences worldwide.

“Moana” became a commercial success, grossing over $600 million worldwide. It was also nominated for two Academy Awards and won numerous other accolades for its animation, music, and storytelling.

“Moana” is often celebrated for its positive representation of Polynesian culture and its message of embracing one’s identity and heritage. The film’s blend of adventure, humor, and heartfelt moments has made it a beloved entry in Disney’s animated filmography.

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MOANA US/SD
  • Ron Clements (Director) - Osnat Shurer (Producer)
  • French, Spanish, English (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

17. Balibo

“Balibo” is a 2009 Australian war film directed by Robert Connolly. The movie is based on the true events surrounding the deaths of five Australian-based journalists known as the “Balibo Five” during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975.

The film follows the story of a group of young journalists—Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, Malcolm Rennie, Brian Peters, and Tony Stewart—who travel to the town of Balibo in East Timor to report on the brewing conflict.

As the invasion intensifies, the journalists find themselves caught in the middle of the conflict and ultimately meet tragic fates. The film also delves into the investigations carried out years later to uncover the truth behind their deaths.

“Balibo” explores themes of war, journalism, political corruption, and the search for justice. It highlights the bravery of the journalists who risked their lives to report on the events unfolding in East Timor and sheds light on the often dangerous nature of their profession.

The film received critical acclaim for its gripping storytelling, powerful performances, and its dedication to portraying the events as accurately as possible.

It was praised for its commitment to shedding light on a significant chapter in Australia’s history and for raising awareness about the atrocities committed during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.

“Balibo” features an ensemble cast that includes Anthony LaPaglia, Oscar Isaac, Damon Gameau, Gyton Grantley, and Nathan Phillips. It is a poignant and thought-provoking film that offers insight into the human cost of war and the importance of journalistic integrity.

Balibo [DVD]
  • Swedish (Subtitle)

18. Beatriz’s War

“Beatriz’s War” (A Guerra da Beatriz) is a 2013 East Timorese film directed by Luigi Acquisto and Bety Reis. It is the first feature film produced entirely in East Timor and is notable for being a significant contribution to the country’s emerging film industry.

The film is set during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor and revolves around the character of Beatriz, a woman who is forced to endure various hardships and atrocities during the conflict.

Beatriz’s husband is arrested and taken away by the Indonesian military, and she embarks on a journey to find him and seek justice.

“Beatriz’s War” is a powerful drama that examines the impact of the war on individuals and families, as well as the resilience and courage of East Timorese people during a time of great adversity. It explores themes of love, loss, and the quest for justice in the face of oppression.

Please note that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been subsequent developments or details related to “Beatriz’s War” that I’m unaware of.

19. Abdul & José (The Stolen Child)

 “Abdul & José” or “The Stolen Child” related to your query. It’s possible that the title or details might be different, or it could be a lesser-known or regional film.

If you have any additional information or if you could provide more context about the film, I’ll do my best to assist you further.

The Stolen Child: An Enthralling and Tense WWII Historical Novel (Jews, The Third Reich, and a Web of Secrets Book 2)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kagan, Roberta (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 370 Pages - 09/19/2021 (Publication Date)

20. The Stolen Children of Timor-Leste

“The Stolen Children of Timor-Leste” refers to a dark chapter in the history of Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor).

During the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste from 1975 to 1999, a significant number of Timorese children were forcibly taken from their families and communities.

The Indonesian military and its affiliated groups carried out these abductions with the intention of assimilating the children into Indonesian culture and erasing their Timorese identity.

The abducted children were often taken to orphanages or placed in Indonesian families, where they were subjected to forced assimilation, cultural suppression, and sometimes even abuse.

The systematic abduction of children had devastating consequences for families and communities in Timor-Leste.

Many parents were left in anguish, uncertain of the fate and whereabouts of their children. The children themselves were robbed of their cultural heritage and experienced a profound sense of loss and disconnection from their roots.

After Timor-Leste gained independence in 2002, efforts were made to reunite the stolen children with their families and help them reconnect with their Timorese identity.

The “Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation” (CAVR) in Timor-Leste conducted investigations and documented cases of the stolen children, aiming to bring justice and healing to those affected.

International organizations and human rights groups have also been involved in supporting the efforts to locate the stolen children, provide psychological support, and promote the preservation of Timorese culture and heritage.

The issue of the stolen children of Timor-Leste remains a painful and ongoing legacy of the Indonesian occupation.

It serves as a reminder of the lasting impact of conflict and the importance of truth, reconciliation, and preserving cultural identity.

Efforts continue to this day to address the consequences of these abductions and promote healing and justice for the affected individuals and their families.

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The Stolen Children
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 188 Pages - 07/11/1998 (Publication Date) - Random House Australia (Publisher)

21. East Timor: Birth of a Nation

“East Timor: Birth of a Nation” (also known as “The Birth of East Timor”) is a documentary film directed by Luigi Acquisto and Stella Zammataro. The film was released in 2002 and focuses on the struggle for independence in East Timor.

The documentary provides a historical account of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, which began in 1975 and lasted for nearly 25 years.

It covers the resistance movement led by the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) and the subsequent violent crackdown by Indonesian forces.

“East Timor: Birth of a Nation” explores the human rights abuses, killings, and atrocities committed by Indonesian troops during their occupation. It also showcases the resilience and determination of the East Timorese people in their fight for independence.

The film incorporates archival footage, interviews with key figures involved in the independence movement, and personal stories from East Timorese individuals who witnessed or were affected by the conflict.

“East Timor: Birth of a Nation” provides a comprehensive and emotional portrayal of the struggle for self-determination in East Timor and the eventual establishment of the country as an independent nation.

It sheds light on the historical context and the challenges faced by the East Timorese people during their long fight for freedom.

Please note that the availability of “East Timor: Birth of a Nation” may vary depending on your location and the platforms or sources you have access to.

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The Creation of the East Timorese Economy: Volume 2: Birth of a Nation (Palgrave Studies in Economic History)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lundahl, Mats (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 01/30/2020 (Publication Date) - Palgrave Macmillan (Publisher)