(There Once was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho), Briar March / NZ, 2009
original version / English and Czech subtitles, 80 min
At first glance Takku Island, which is home to 400 Polynesians, looks like heaven on Earth. A harmonious community living in isolation on this little island lapped by the clear waters of the South West Pacific devotes itself to traditional rituals and music, making their living by fishing, and relaxing in the shade of coconut trees. Nevertheless, global warming has resulted in rising sea levels that have flooded the coral island several times in recent years. This has led the Polynesian government to create a plan to move the islanders to the mainland. However, they are unenthusiastic about what would be a step into the unknown. Instead, the inhabitants invite two expert scientists to Takku in the hope that they will find some solution. This film by New Zealand director Briar March, featuring great camera work and a cinéma vérité style, documents how environmental change can impact upon a native community. Through portraits of individual islanders, it also offers a unique view of the traditional thinking and way of life of the Polynesians, a people whose harmonious co-existence with nature has been harshly interrupted by the negative results of climate change.