The award-winning story of a young boy who plays guardian and protector to his siblings, but even all his efforts cannot prevent the death of the new baby.
DIRECTOR'S NOTES - Sima Urale
Inspired by my own experience as a child growing up surrounded by relatives struggling with Samoan and Western cultures, O Tamaiti, is about the unconditional bond among children in Pacific Island families.
The story is seen through the eyes of the children. From their perspective, we experience the deepest fears and anxieties, of children who are seen but not heard. Their impressions are of an adult world, where cars zoom dangerously by, Father booms with an almighty voice, and the parents' lovemaking becomes a demented nightmare for the eldest boy, Tino.
In Samoan society, children often assume adult roles of ‘caregiver' or ‘mother and father' to younger brothers and sisters. The core of this film is about a young Samoan boy, and the effects of the burdens and responsibilities he must carry as the eldest in the family.
The narrative places the film in the ‘drama/tragedy' genre. It begins with the birth of a baby and moves through to its tragic cot death. The overall stylistic approach to the film also includes surreal elements.
I hope that the way that the characters, visuals and sound are treated will be a refreshing new approach to Polynesian content in film.
My intention in shooting O Tamaiti in black and white was to shed the stereotypical image of Pacific Islanders as a kitsch culture with colourful paraphernalia that is too often depicted in contemporary films.