Tanna (2015)

Continuing my quest of watching as much Oscar-nominated foreign language movies as possible, I stumbled upon Tanna, the Australian-Ni-Vanuatu romantic drama nominated in 2017.

On the island of Tanna, Wawa (Marie Wawa), the granddaughter of the shaman (Albi Nagia), have a secret love story with Dain (Mungau Dain), the grandson of a chieftain (Charlie Kahla). But their tribe, the people of Kastom Road, is at war with their neighbouring tribe, the Imedin tribe, and, in order to make peace, Wawa is promised for marriage into the Imedin tribe. Despite the arranged marriage, Wawa and Dain continue their affair and when the elders learn of this, they plead her to give up the relationship and Wawa and Dain run away.

I'm pretty sure you're thinking this is just another Romeo and Juliet story, and it kinda is. Only this one is based on actual events that took place in the 80s and it's thank to their love that now love marriages are allowed on the island.

There aren't any surprising twists or plot turns. As I just said, it's a story that has been told over and over again already. But this is easily the most delicate and deep Romeo and Julie story brought to the screen. However, it isn't by any means perfect. As a matter of fact, it failed to engage me to that point of feeling a connection to the two lovers.

And still, Tanna is able to transport you to another culture dealing with some of the issues we all face, those regarding love, family and the community we live in. It shows that, no matter how developed a country is, those issues will always be there. Also, the filmmakers handled the culture of these people with so much sensitivity and heart.

Lightyear Entertainment
The directors, Martin Butler and Bentley Dean, also deserve the credits for bringing out of the cast such nice performances. There are no actors in this film but only natives playing roles which is why their performances are so natural.

The most beautiful aspect of Tanna is arguably the cinematography. It's truly stunning and really captures the beauty of the locations, from the lust forest to a live volcanic mountain occasionally erupting lava.


  1. I never e=en heard of this film.it sounds interesting but I doubt I can even find this film to rent

    1. It's pretty difficult to find, but I hope you get to see it.