Tautoga Gausia - The Flaw in Sam's Death
Suppose that you only watch the last fifteen minutes during which Sam drowns while his friends look on unwilling and fearful to help; and then the resulting ifoga (apology). How much do you have to know before that point to understand and make sense of the two events? Practically, nothing! The two events represent a distinct cause and effect incident.
Moreover, the fact that the culprits (two friends) do not appear until the end of the movie does not help either. These two characters are supposed to play a major part in the overall story and plot, yet their actual role is brief, insignificant and circumstantial - let alone in a flashback and backstory mode. The maladroit and trivial cause of Sam's death and the subsequent ifoga are both standalone events - take them out and Tautoga Gausia remains largely intact. It would have been better if the cause of Sam's death were to remain a mystery or, again, retain its suicidal intimations - even amidst any controversy. Personally, I believe that it's better to be controversial than to be trivial. Some of the best works of art are controversial in nature.
Suicide is a grave (pun intended) and painful truth for the Samoans. During last year's Christmas holiday season, if I remember correctly, there were about five deaths by suicide in Samoa. Had the makers of Tautoga Gausia stayed with the obvious suicide subtext of Part I, the movie would have been a voice in the wilderness for a very real and serious problem facing the Samoans. Succumbing of the film-makers to a few critics and unfounded fears may have cost Tautoga Gausia a more esteemed, lasting and deserving repute.
Ron Silver, an American actor, director and producer said: "Artists speak the truth to the public without fear of retribution or damage to their careers."
Posted by LV