The People of Chea Village live in the Marovo Lagoon situated in the Western Province of the Salomon Islands.
Annually they would organise communal fishing expeditions they called Kuarao and where all the villages took part.
Early in the morning and after days of preparation, a large circle of bush vines was laid out in the lagoon waters near the barrier reef. As people swam with the vines and dragged them along, large numbers of fish were caught by surprise and herded together inside the gradually narrowing circle. Finally, the tightly packed schools of fish were stunned by plant poison and collected in canoes.
The Kuarao has both ritual and practical importance. It confirms the collective and the social stratification of the village while serving as a powerful linkage between ancestral tradition, customary ownership of the reef, and the surplus production of modern cash.
The filming in the Marovo Lagoon took place in collaboration with the local communities and the National Museum of Solomon Islands. The intended audience of this film was first of all the people of the Solomon Islands, which influenced its content and structure. This has ensured that the film has had a prolific life. We have subsequently been told that the film is a big hit among many women, as parts of the film present the backstage life of the men who while making the wines used for fishing out in the outer islands of the Lagoon, converse in a "raunchy" manner.
Chea's Great Kuarao was the first film distributed to all the high schools of the islands. It was the film shown at the first public film screening in the capital, Honiara, following the end of the ethnic violence (1998-2003). It was later screened numerous times on public television.
Copyright (c) 2018 Rolf Erik Scott, Edvard Hviding, Trygve Tollefsen
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