'In one of the last traditional tribes in the South Pacific, a young girl, Wawa, falls in love with her chief’s grandson, Dain. When an inter-tribal war escalates, Wawa is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal. The young lovers run away, but are pursued by enemy warriors intent on killing them. They must choose between their hearts and the future of the tribe, while the villagers must wrestle with preserving their traditional culture and adapting it to the increasing outside demands for individual freedom. Based on a true story and performed by the people of Yakel.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'Tanna is not an ethnographic documentary. It is rather a cinematic work of art, which is to say that it is an independent film made outside Hollywood for Pacific audiences and other interested viewers. At the same time, I think it is one of those rare movies that succeeds as both (like The Fast Runner or Smoke Signals, or perhaps, The Dead Lands). The story it tells of two young people, and their love which runs afoul of collective norms and values, is of course a story that echoes one we all know. But Tanna is set in a rural corner of contemporary Vanuatu, of all places. And its actors, who are villagers dressed in nothing more than raffia skirts and penis sheaths, speak in their vernacular. So the obstacles that block their love are of a Melanesian kind rather than of the sort that fair Verona might impose. Thus Tanna's imagery is not at all strange to any of us who have done fieldwork in the region.' (Introduction)