Cast: Agnes Pele, Betsy Luitolo, Evotia-Rose Araiti, Fiona Collins
Directors: Amberley Jo Aumua, Becs Arahanga, Dianna Fuemana, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Matasila Freshwater, Miria George, Nicole Whippy, Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki
Eight female directors from eight separate Pacific Island nations celebrate Indigenous resilience and creativity through the life of one extraordinary woman.
Pacific languages retain many key words in common. ‘Vai’, the word for water, is one of these. That’s also the name of the protagonist of this portmanteau film – eight vignettes about Vai, played by eight individual actresses in various stages of her life, from age seven to 80. Vai traverses several Pacific nations to draw connections across the ocean between Indigenous women, family and storytelling traditions.
This ambitious film makes breathtaking use of the natural environment of the Pacific region. But most importantly, Vai gives Pasifika filmmakers control of their own stories. The result is a bold, beautiful showcase of often hidden and misunderstood communities and the complex lives that exist within them.
“It isn’t just gorgeous, it feels spiritually poignant, a reaffirmation of cultural identity and a showcase of the strength of women’s stories.” – RogerEbert.com