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Exploring 'Samoaness' in the Samoan language film The Orator (O Le Tulafale)
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.
2012 (English)In: The Proceedings Book of ISLC 2012, Turkey, 2012, 1839-1847 p.Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The Pacific nation of the Independent Samoa (formerly Western Samoa)  is not known for having a developed film industry.   In 2011, a Samoan languge film called The Orator (O le Tulafale) placed the spotlight on Samoa, its people, and the Samoan culture when it became the country’s first ever film to be accepted into major international film festivals such as the 68th Venice Film Festival.  Samoans the world over have embraced the film for its richness, compassion, and authenticity. Yet at times, the film portrays the Samoan culture as harsh and cruel.   Samoans are usually quick to criticise negative portrayals of their culture but the thousands of comments on the film’s official Facebook page show otherwise.  From April 2011 to March 2012, there were only 11 comments criticising the film on Facebook, and these criticisms were denounced as ‘un-Samoan’. This raised the question as to why Samoans did not react to the unflattering portrayals of their culture, but instead react against legitimate criticisms of the film.  By using Foucault’s concept of heterotopia and the Samoan narrative structure of fāgogo, a heterotopia space and a utopia space are created in which past memories confirming Samoan cultural identity and bonds to the culture are evoked and are (re)experienced by Samoans while viewing the film.  Thus the film’s ability to encourage this is what Samoans praise rather than the actual film.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Turkey, 2012. 1839-1847 p.
, The Proceedings Book of ISLC 2012
Keyword [en]
Orator, Samoa, Heterotopia, Film, Diaspora, Cultural Identity, Narrative, New Zealand
National Category
Cultural Studies Studies on Film General Literature Studies
Research subject
Culture, Identity and Representations
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-10222ISBN: 978-605-86867-0-0OAI: diva2:536569
1st International Symposium on Language and Communication: Research Trends and Challenges (ISLC), Izmir, Turkey June 10-13, 2012
Available from: 2012-06-26 Created: 2012-06-22 Last updated: 2015-12-07Bibliographically approved

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