The Land Has Eyes

Director: Vilsoni Hereniko
Screenwriters: Vilsoni Hereniko

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


From the island of Rotuma deep in the South Pacific comes an historic tale rooted in the womanly power from which all Rotuman people descend. In this cleverly crafted narrative (with a special appearance by Rena Owen as the woman warrior ancestress), we are reminded of many lessons that go untaught in the modern Western world and that there are times when man must be reminded of woman's power.

In his directorial debut, playwright and filmmaker Vilsoni Hereniko provides a consciously detailed portrait of Rotuman life through the eyes of Viki, a young girl coming of age in a changing world. The vibrancy of her traditional life contrasts starkly with the imposed colonial influences of Christianity and education as Viki navigates the complex mazes of a world that no one before her has had to journey. Guided by a loving father and the lessons entrenched in stories of the ancestress, Viki becomes a woman of strength and dignity on her own terms at the doorstep of a new era.

With a commanding debut performance by Sapeta Taito as Viki and offering deep themes resonating of womanhood, imperialism, and distortions of cultural shaming, The Land Has Eyes is a reminder that, above all else, "the land has eyes and teeth, and the land knows the truth."

— N. Bird Runningwater

Screening Details

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