10 Dec 2013

New documentary offers rare glimpse of untouched island life

5:47 pm on 10 December 2013

A new documentary film about life on the remote northern Vanuatu island of Rah has premiered on New Caledonian television.

"The Last Shore is the creation of the first ever television crew to film on Rah."

They took a glimpse at the daily lives of Rah's inhabitants whose long-held traditional way of life is showcased at the opening of the fishing season.

The producer, Christophe Gargiulo, spoke about filming on an island that very few outsiders have ever had access to.

CHRISTOPHE GARGIULO: You have to know it's a very small island. There are 100 people living around here, around 40 families. They have no electricity, they have no roads, they have no running water. It's not very difficult for them to survive, but to have a modern life there. And they have a very, very, very traditional life. And that was very interesting. So the first part of the documentary is how do they live, the agricultural technique, how do they make their money, because they still use traditional money, artefacts, because they have some nice artefacts, their traditional dance, which is beautiful, varicoloured, still the same as centuries ago. And the second part of the documentary relates to the festivities of the St Andrew, which means the opening of the fishing season with this huge net that is going to extend along the reef.

JOHNNY BLADES: What were some of the key intense moments of the film?

CG: When you go through things in such a place every moment is intense because, first, when you arrive, it's a beautiful place. It's very colourful. The reef is very close to the beach which creates a very beautiful avenue of colours and shapes. It's wonderful. And people are really welcoming. They're smiling, they seem to be happy. They live very isolated on this island. They have very little contact with the external world except for some communications, for some emergency or problems. But for their day to day life, they just live on the island and just think day by day about whether they're going to fish, whether they're going to hunt, whether they're going to collect in the gardens or the forest.

JB: Were there difficulties filming this documentary?

CG: Physically, it was difficult shooting because you have to take several planes to go there, you have to go to Santo, you have to go to several islands to change planes. Sometimes you don't feel very safe in the little planes. You have to walk around three hours in the jungle from the landing ground to the island or you can go by boat. We did both. We walked a little and we took a boat. So, yes, it was a bit difficult. And then after, during the shooting, we had very bad weather, a cyclone going around. For three days I could hardly shoot. But thereafter for four days it was okay.