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A Word to the Wise    cover photo

A Word to the Wise 2017

Not Recommended

Distributed by Distributed by Green Planet Films, PO Box 247, Corte Madera, CA 94976-0247; 415-377-5471
Produced by Produced by Gangway Media
Directed by Directed by J. Esgleas Marroi
DVD , color, 88 min.

College - General Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers

Date Entered: 10/05/2018

ALA Notable:
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Bonnie Jo Dopp, Librarian Emerita, University of Maryland

While on location in Solomon Islands, European cinematographer Jordi Esgleas Marroi met Malaita Island resident Douglas Lui Fo’oa and was struck by this Christian family man’s philosophy of living with nature and doing as little as possible to harm the environment. He interviewed Fo’oa and made this short, often lovely-to-look-at documentary about him and the culture of Solomon Islands. Fo’oa’s narration is often in the present tense. He says, “Sometimes we go in tribal wars” and explains how they roasted and ate certain parts of their male conquests. Later he informs us that these practices ended in the 19th century but viewers may have by now become disquieted by mental images of current cannibalism. Descriptions of worshipful relationships with skyward eagles, deep sea sharks, crocodiles and the land in general (all accompanied by lush cinematic images and well chosen atmospheric music) lead to blaming China for the local logging industry and degradation of the environment. Many naked children play at the beach and Mr. Fo’oa professes hope that they will always appreciate having a quiet life close to nature. He himself feels ‘empty’ when he talks about watching deforestation in his homeland. Though it treats the real issue of commercial exploitation of natural resources, this heartfelt portrait of a sad tropical islander seems too nearly a pean to a mythic, even savage, past to be useful as an educational tool.