Audiences know Easter Island or Rapanui mostly for its inhabitants who made tall statues of their ancestors. Recently, director Sergio Mata’u Rapu releases Haka Puai te Kainga. Its English title is Eating Up Easter, showing a different side of Rapanui. Unfortunately, it’s a darker side of Rapanui, one that has waste problem that is destroying his ancestral land. He talks to some activists and experts about the waste problem. Since Rapanui is under Chilean jurisdiction, most of these experts speak in Spanish instead of Rapanui. And they connect the waste problem both to tourists and upper class locals who consume more than the average person.
This has good intentions behind it, especially when it comes to respectability politics. We see some of the activists in either traditional or Western garb. It has more concern for what they’re saying instead of what they’re wearing. These activists speak of certain aspects of contemporary life that affect their lives. It also shows the struggle that comes with activism and letting both the locals and the tourists help with cleanups. There’s an understanding here about routines and how that stops other people from seeing the bigger picture.
But documentaries like this have certain expectations. It mostly talks about the environment, but it also shows the personal lives of both Mata’u Rapu and the activists. And these scenes feel like diversions instead of organic parts of the movie. There’s a lot of material here but it seems more fitting for three separate documentaries instead of just one. I would like to know more about these people, who are inherently interesting and are open to telling their stories. Multiple events that it sticks into a 76 minute running time. They deserve their singular spotlights. Together, it seems like this film crams all of those narratives.
For more information on Haka Puai te Kainga go to https://www.imaginenative.org/haka-puai-te-kainga.
- Release Date: 10/23/2019