The official screening of the 40-minute documentary on ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy: Beyond the Legend,’ celebrating 75 years of Kokoda Trail during the war, premiered on Thursday night at Vision City’s Paradise Cinema.
The event which was only for invited guests had an exceptional turnout with almost all seats taken.
Beginning with a black screen like most films, PNG’s history is told by a few lines written out as historians retell the story of the war fought by the Allies and Papua New Guineans against the Japanese in 1942.
A remake of the war opens the film with a scene of a wounded allied soldier, slowly anticipating his last dying moments when a Papua New Guinean local step over to help him.
A classic tale of what the war was like for Papua New Guineans, as it showed the obligation PNG played in World War II – creating this history along the Kokoda Track.
For they were not only porters, they were also soldiers.
Grey faded photographs showed young village men; they could have been your brother, your uncle, father or a loved one, lined for battle with a tin cup slung at their waist.
Imagine the mothers, wives, the sisters and those who were sending off their loved ones out to war, will their hearts not break? Well unfortunately, the documentary did not capture a holistic perspective of the story.
A woman sits beside a fire, reciting a chant – the only female scene you will come across as she recites a magic spell for the protection of a loved one out at war. Yes, as real as the air you can’t see but breathe, so too is the Papua New Guinean traditional beliefs.
The Historians retold stories of men that had spells cast on their bullets so that they never miss a target, while at the same time, a flying bullet from an enemy would miss them.
While the film showed mainly the strife in the Kokoda area, some members of the general public have pointed out how the war also affected the women and other social aspects of life in other parts of the country.
While the creativity behind the film was incredible, there were however, some misfits that were easily overlooked, such as the remade scenes of war, with the talent representing a local man from the Kokoda area, who was rather dressed in a different traditional attire as opposed to how a local man from that area would be dressed.
However, for the creation of such a film, one has to give credit where it is due.
The work put into the film’s production can be seen in its quality; for a locally produced documentary, one can say it deserved five stars for the high quality, special effects and the creativity in it – setting the benchmark for local documentary production in PNG.
From the film you can tell it is a retold story of appreciation, recognition and gratitude for both the forces that fought, and especially for the local Papua New Guineans.
For a first locally produced documentary in high definition quality, showcasing the PNG history along the Kokoda Track retelling the war scenes, it gives you a quick glance into the atmosphere of the time then.
Where faded photographs of the braves and the heroics side by side illuminated the sense of the creation of a life time friendship, intertwined altogether with struggles, uncertainties, and hope, which has now turned into our history.
Related article: ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy: Beyond The Legend’ Screening Next Week