Tanna: Romancing Kastom, Eluding Exoticism?


There have been protracted debates about exoticism in representations of the Pacific, in anthropology, visual arts and the cinema. The film Tanna, created and filmed in the Vanuatu island of that name by Australian filmmakers Bentley Dean and Martin Butler has been both celebrated and criticised for its representation of the people and place of Vanuatu as exotic. Such adjudications have to confront the
complexities of a film that is a co-creation between Australia and Vanuatu, that hovers between ethnographic realist and fictional cinematic imaginaries and simultaneously evokes a sense of distance and difference and a sense of the shared human reality of young love and tragic loss. This article offers
an analysis of the film and its critical reception.

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Margaret Jolly
June 17, 2022
Published in
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