O LE TULAFALE – THE ORATOR
O Le Tulafale/The Orator is a contemporary feature film written and directed by Tusi Tamasese, produced by Catherine Fitzgerald for the NZ Film Commission and shot on the island of Upolu in Samoa by acclaimed cinematographer Leon Narbey. The story of the film is deeply moving, universal (love, honour and courage) and cloaked in the language, setting & events that are authentically and uniquely Samoan. The film screened in competition (& received a special mention) at the Venice Film Festival 2011, and is released in Samoa and New Zealand October 6th 2011. The official website for the film is here
While The Orator is the first feature film that I have composed the score for, it also represents the unique situation of being able to intimately combine the score and sound design via working in the dual roles of composer and sound designer. Music for the film involved the combination of traditional Samoan instruments and drumming, manipulated field recordings and found sound elements, along with traditional orchestral score. Three cues feature the beautiful vocals of Bella Kalolo and two source cues feature Kas Tha Feelstyle. But I feel the greatest achievements in the soundtrack are the moments of near silence, and their role in the emotional landscape of the film. "The stillness and the silence were important to me," says Tamasese. "The world in Samoa is very laid-back and people don't move that much. But if people are sitting, there is a silent conversation going on."
Download selected music cues from the film HERE (choose your own price & format)
Listen to selected cues from the film:
Simon Morris, Radio NZ: "I've never seen a film that looked and sounded so authorative, as soon as it arrives you just look at it and know this is the real thing...."
Leslie Felperin, Variety: "Melancholy score and sound design by Tim Prebble enhances the tragic mood without overdoing the emotions or the ethnic vibe."
Helen Martin, ONFILM: "The subtlety in shooting, editing and performance styles feels European, allowing for the story to be told as much in silence as in dialogue and action... Then there is the beautifully judged soundtrack, with Samoan music and instruments, evocative in enhancing mood and atmosphere..."
Peter Calder, The NZ Herald: "Thanks in large part to the almost edibly gorgeous cinematography of Leon Narbey, the film is a sumptuously moody visual experience: the opening shot, of rain on a mountain, might have been painted by McCahon; water runs mercury-silver off taro leaves; tiny details like a snail on a gravestone are lingered over lovingly. The sound design is equally precise and evocative...."