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Tanna (2015)

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Set on a remote Pacific island, covered in rain forest and dominated by an active volcano, this heartfelt story, enacted by the Yakel tribe, tells of a sister's loyalty, a forbidden love affair and the pact between the old ways and the new.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Albi Nangia ...
Grandfather and Shaman (as Albi Nagia)
Dadwa Mungau ...
Linette Yowayin ...
Yowayin (mother)
Kapan Cook ...
Kapan Cook
Mungau Yokay ...
Peacemaking chief
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Margaret Alik ...
Christian woman 2
Jaqueline Nibou ...
Christian woman 1
Johnson Noah ...
Beach chief
Robert Nukwei ...
Christian leader


Set on a remote Pacific island, covered in rain forest and dominated by an active volcano, this heartfelt story, enacted by the Yakel tribe, tells of a sister's loyalty, a forbidden love affair and the pact between the old ways and the new.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two tribes. One love.


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

10 March 2016 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Taboo  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,711, 16 September 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,711, 16 September 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first ever Australian-made film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. See more »


Chief Charlie: If you want to be a good chief one day, you must move beyond revenge.
See more »


Featured in The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful and visceral cinema. Degree of difficulty = 9 out of 10
5 October 2016 | by See all my reviews

'Tanna' is what cinema is all about. Storytelling using the visual medium to illuminate and transport the viewer into another world. Collaborators Bentley Dean and Martin Butler have long histories in journalism and magazine current affairs and have achieved success with their documentaries, but this is their first feature film. They have intrepidly ventured into the picturesque locale of the Vanuatu island of Tanna and its indigenous folk for this tale of star crossed lovers.

Whilst using an age old narrative theme, the conflict at the centre of 'Tanna' is whether to go with your heart or your head (here represented by tradition and tribal custom), the filmmakers have beautifully photographed and captured the daily life and tribulations of this somewhat cloistered population. Plucked from the very villages they were born and raised in, the performances are really fine; having been well cast to handle the daunting task of acting in a movie. Of particular note for me was the wonderful Marcelline Rofit as the younger sibling of the betrothed lead, played by Marie Wawa. Her eyes taking in everything around her and affected by the changes are really fascinating to observe through her perspective. Mungau Dain plays the forbidden object of desire for Wawa, and according to the filmmakers he was chosen for the leading role as he was the most handsome in his tribe. He has a perfect mix of sensitivity and strapping masculinity. The two leads work very well together. 'Tanna' makes filmmaking look easy, but the degree of difficulty cannot be underestimated here. With a remote location, a cast that had never seen a movie, let alone acted in one; the cultural respect and fascination of Dean & Butler is evident in their sensitive and at times majestic portrayal of the peoples of Tanna. Bentley Dean's evocative cinematography and Antony Partos' effective score add to the atmospheric feel of the look and sound of the film. There is some tart dialogue that injects some needed humour and humanity into what might have been a conventional story. For me, seeing filmmakers explore unchartered terrain; both cinematically and culturally engenders more enthusiasm for contemporary film. There are plenty of formulaic directors and writers perpetuating the same notions of mores and perspectives, so it is refreshing to spend a couple of hours with other peoples and other customs. And it is a most affecting and enriching experience.

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