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Danièle J. Suissa
Tenuously based on the legends of Easter Island, Chile, this story details a civil war between the two tribes on the island: the Long Ears and the Short Ears. A warrior from the ruling class falls in love with a girl from the lower class, and must decide on his position in a time of great civil unrest. The ruling class are demanding larger and larger Moai (stone statues), a task which the lower class and the island ecology are more and more reluctant to provide. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
Rapa Nui is more than just a bunch of Polynesian (and Hispanic!) actors running around half-nekkid. It's an allegory about the dangers of theocratic government, and a tale of class struggle. Rapa Nui is the Polynesian name for Easter Island, that famous dot in the Pacific Ocean with the mysterious statues. We get to see how these things were carved - and why. The Long Ear tribe has effectively subjugated the Short Ear tribe, forcing them to carve Moai (statues) in order to placate the gods. Director Kevin Reynolds uses the island and the carving of statues as an effective backdrop to illustrate the enmity between the tribes, as well as a power struggle for eventual spremacy of the island. The film is driven by visuals and ideas. The writing hardly ever rises above so-so, and it's jarring to hear Polynesian-looking people with British, American and Latino accents. But the film has a certain power to fascinate, and for that alone I recommend it highly.
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