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FORTY ACRES AND A LEI - 2006

SELECT ANOTHER FLICK CHICK MOVIE REVIEW FROM THE FILM CRITICS IN BLUE
J. ThorburnV. AlexanderC. PattersonJ. CorcoranPolly Peluso
Erica VitalD Mitchell

ERICA HECTOR VITAL

"FORTY ACRES AND A LEI" HAWAIIAN FILMMAKER EDGY LEE EXPLORES THE PARADOXES OF PARADISE

By
Erica Hector Vital
Red Rock Review
Las Vegas Round The Clock
http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com

ericavital@cox.net
ericav@theflickchicks.com
ericav@lasvegasroundtheclock.com

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

FORTY ACRES AND A LEI: HAWAIIAN FILMMAKER EDGY LEE EXPLORES THE PARADOXES OF PARADISE
Film review and Interview by Erica Hector Vital


Under the seduction of blue waters and the golden allure of sand, shore, and skin, lurk the politics and policies that have shaped the islands of Hawaii since Captain James Cook landed on the Big Island in 1778. After Cook, came the missionaries, followed by American business interests whose desire to have more control of the island’s resources, and therefore more profits, led to the deposing of Hawaii’s ruling monarchy. When the landing of U.S. Marines and Navy stripped Queen Lili’uokalani of her powers in 1893, a way of life, a language, and a culture of some 2,000 years were stripped from the island nation as well. This is the stuff of which history is made and a people dismantled. Hawaiian born filmmaker and actress Edgy Lee chronicles this dismantling and re-apportioning of paradise through a lens of nostalgia laced with activism in the award-winning documentary THE HAWAIIANS: REFLECTING SPIRIT.

It’s an old story: a native people, initial European contact, the disease, the dispossession, the despair that over generations turns to apathy, alcholism, and drug use. “After many, many years of Hollywood images of happy Hawaiians under the sun, greeting guests, the reality is so much more,” says Edgy Lee, casual and warm in interview but as precise and empassioned in her knowledge of the island of her birth as any historian. “The flipside of globalization, homogenization, is that we lose so much.”

Lee fills each shot with the beauty of what was lost. The effect is haunting. A legendary white owl appears over a misted field at dawn, a Nihau elder recalls the necessity of leaving her ancestral home, a native herbalist walks the forest, sharing tradition, and in the films most poignant moment a Hawaiian saltmaker, standing with one of the two remaining traditional salt mines at her back, mourns the concepts of ritual, family, and spirtual purpose that were once a part of a land whose value is now based on market price and the forces of tourism and elitism that have driven generations of native Hawaiians off the island.

Leggy and attractive, Lee began as an artist and television actress in the 80’s and is acutely aware of the power of image. Interviews of Hawaiian celebs and academics, along with scenes from films past that have made Hawaii and its islands part of traditional Hollywood kitsch, are intercut with the faces of native Hawaiians set among traditional tableaux and lit with a painter’s eye. Such scenes are rich and beautifully framed, evoking a time and a people.

Lee’s film premiered at the opening of the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., a fitting distinction as the demise of Native American identity is the plight Lee closely associates with that of native Hawaiians. The nationwide tour of THE HAWAIIANS: REFLECTING SPIRIT coincides with an impending Senate vote on a bill to restore native rights. Introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, the provisions of The Akaka Bill do not blatantly demand fulfillment of a 1862 Native Hawaiian Homestead Act which was to cede plots of land to native Hawaiians and therefore preserve tradition and family. But the ghosts of the Homestead Act and its promise walk through Lee’s documentary, so that along with comparisons to the disenfranchisement of Native Americans, the film also raises the spectre of another great concession granted to African-Americans upon Emancipation to receive forty acres and a plowing mule as their beginning share in the American dream.

With its promise of uncomplicated leisure and exotic beauty, this nation within a nation, 132 islands spread northwest and southeast within the Pacific Ocean, has become a repository for American fantasy when the reality for many native Hawaiians is a way of life that in its growing divide between classes and devolution of opportunity is reminiscent of a Third World, and scattered, populous.

THE HAWAIIANS has toured through Atlanta, Detroit, Arizona, Washingron D.C., Chicago, and New York. Lee hosted a gala premier April 11 in Las Vegas. The Akaka Bill comes before the Senate the first week of June. Information on the bill and Hawaiian history and lore can be found at www.hawaiians.com. Edgy Lee has been commissioned by PBS to begin a series of spots on drug use and education. Her films on the alarming rise of Meth use among native populations was simulcast throughout the Hawaiian islands.
Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

SELECT ANOTHER FLICK CHICK MOVIE REVIEW FROM THE FILM CRITICS IN BLUE
J. ThorburnV. AlexanderC. PattersonJ. CorcoranPolly Peluso
Erica VitalD Mitchell

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