13 October 2006 | damonisho
well-told story without narrative or dialogue
Set in World War I, 6 Maori soldiers fighting for New Zealand, have become separated from their battalion. They make their way through the bombed out buildings of an evacuated town in the twilight of dawn. Low on ammunition, they hole up for the day in a ruined apartment building. To lessen their chance of being detected by the enemy, they wordlessly agree not to speak. With little water and no food, constantly on their guard, the sound of battle in the distance, their predicament seems dire and desperate.
But these six men, drawing on their shared culture, know how to make the best of a bad situation. The performances of the actors are wonderful to see; each actor, without speaking, deftly breathes life into his character, until the audience knows each personality. Cinematography is very good and the lighting is spectacular. The director succeeds beautifully in using a silent war story to tell the audience about compassion, camaraderie, humour, courage, and tenderness.
I saw this short as part of National Geographic "All Roads" project called "A Short Trip Around the World". Tama Tu was the only dramatic offering of this uneven collection of shorts and stands far above the level of the other pieces. But I would recommend seeing all of "Short Trip" if that's the only way that you can get to see this wonderful film.