The Orator

The Orator

(O Le Tulafale)

Drama set and shot in Samoa, the first Samoan feature film and the debut from writer/director Tusi Tamasese. Winner of three awards at the 68th Venice Film Festival and eight awards at the New Zealand Film Awards 2012.... More

"Small in stature and humble, Saili lives a simple life with his beloved wife and daughter in an isolated, traditional village... Forced to protect his land and family, Saili must face his fears and seek the right to speak up for those he loves." (Venice Film Festival)Hide

  • Winner of Special Mention, Art Cinema and CinemAvvenire Best Film at the Venice International Film Festival 2011. Winner of eight awards including Best Film, Director (Tusi Tamasese), Actor (Fa'afiaula Sagote), Actress (Tausili Pushparaj) and Screenplay at the NZ Film Awards 2012.

  • Directed by Tusi Tamasese (feature debut)

    Starring Faafiaula Sagote, Tausili Pushparaj, Salamasina Silivelia Mataia

    Written by Tusi Tamasese

    Produced by Catherine Fitzgerald ('Rain of the Children', 'Two Cars One Night')

    Cinematographed by Leon Narby ('Dean Spanley', 'No 2', 'Whale Rider')

    • Drama
    • 110mins
    • Rating: M contains violence & offensive language
    • Samoan with English subtitles
    • Samoa

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Flicks Review

Polynesia finally gets its moment in the sun with this family drama set in an isolated Samoan village. The Orator provides a cinematic window into contemporary life on the island as well as an overview of more traditional aspects of Samoan culture.... More

The film is a co-production with New Zealand and some of our most highly respected technicians make strong contributions. Cinematographer Leon Narbey and sound designer Tim Prebble combine to create a setting rich with lush, natural colour and atmospheric touches on the soundtrack. The result is an authentic world with a mythical quality that seems in tune with the palpable emotional content of the story. This is a movie that is more concerned with the importance of the characters’ intimate moments than it is with a fast-moving plot.

Populating the cast is a predominantly untrained collection of locals. Their low key performances fit the mood and universal themes of the film, while a few moments of well-executed comic relief are on hand when things need livening up. Rookie writer/director Tusi Tamasese juggles these technical elements well but it’s the obvious empathy for his characters that is the most pleasing hallmark of his feature length debut.

The Orator won’t be for everyone, as it unfolds at a pace some may find catatonically slow and lacks any eye-catching flash. However, it’s an undoubtedly sincere statement about a unique corner of the world.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 6 ratings, 7 reviews
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BY Ponyboy lister

I love seeing different cultures on screen and this was the first Samoan focused film I have ever watched. in that respect it was fascinating but the plot did not draw me in to another world.

I get the impression though that the director & NZ Film Commission assumed that as long as this was exotic in location/people, had exceptional presentation via good cinematography/musical score, that it would win an Oscar. Where they missed out was in the lack of dialogue & engagement of plot/film characters' to viewers'/Film Judges'. Hence 'A Separation' (Iran) taking the 2012 Foreign language film Oscar and beating 'The orator' @ the 2011 Asia Pacific Screen Award - for the best... More film. Lessons' to be learned for next time - maybe?Hide

Born in Samoa and relocate in US, one would think, just another Samoan films full of songs and dance and a whole lotta babble, find it that it was in Closed Captions and English, caught between 2 worlds. Being Deaf and Samoan, we can all relate to Saili (main character). It's a great film, beautifully made and I would love for Tusi to cast one from a Deaf point of view, believe me, people are not so kind :( again, the movie in itself will be epic. One of a kind and please make more of the dark... More stories untold. With Love, Deaf SamoanHide

I was moved by this film (honestly). It doesn't have any huge hollywood actors or flash cars/ guns/ explosions, but it provides a window into the unique Samoan culture and captures an audience prepared to take a moment to explore their culture and holds the viewer's attention desperately waiting to find out what is going to happen. The performance in the final scenes of the film are exceptional in my opinion. A heart breaking and heart warming film, exploring the Samoan culture and heirachy... More within village life.Hide

This was sensational and truly inspirational. The Orator moves at no means a fast pace, but it is much in tune with the villagers tones of life, allowing you to feel truly immersed in Samoan culture. It is also the story of outcasts and underdogs, forced to face larger than life issues and over-come fears in order to do right. It's a film where some may walk away feeling down, but if you truly look into the film for what it's worth, you'll walk away feeling a million bucks, just like Fa'afiaula... More Sagote would have felt like in the film. Truly worth a watch and real insight into a different way of life. A great film on many levels.Hide

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