When your culture is commercialized and its history downplayed or erased, there are times you have to remind yourself and others that who you are isn’t for someone’s entertainment.


Director(s) Wei Li
Screenplay By Wei Li
Date Released (Film Festival – Tribeca Film Festival) 6/14/2022
Genre(s) Drama, Young Adult, Animation
Duration 13 Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Cast
Tehura Tainatea Voirin
Paul Ben Luckhart

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

Tehura has loved to dance since she was a child and even makes a living from doing so. However, when tourists disrespect her dance, her culture, and what gives her life, she reignites her passion for dance by making it a means of protest.

Things To Note

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Tehura

Born and raised in Tahiti, Tehura has always loved to watch her people dance and even join in on the fun. However, taking part in the exploitation of her culture, and dealing with the glares of tourists who fantasize about her more than are appreciative of how she dances, has grown old.

Paul

Paul is but a simple tourist who is mesmerized by Tehura’s performance and, like his friends, seems to not understand boundaries.

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

Highlights

The Dance Animation

Movement in animation is something many take for granted. The flow of an arm, whether swinging as someone walks, or presenting grace in a dance, can be challenging. So to see Tehura move in a way that is fluid and really shows her years of training, it is like when people call a location part of a story, like New York City. But in this case, the animation doesn’t just feel like the medium in which the story is being told, but part of the story itself.

It presents the would-be innocence of Paul and the rage at his arrogance and ignorance from Tehura. The animation also amplifies both the world Paul sees and the one Tehura lives in differently, almost like a third party who wishes to understand both and try to show you there are multiple sides to this story.

An Animated Protest

Throughout the world, many BIPOC cultures have to commercialize their culture for survival. The indigenous especially, throughout the various pacific ocean nations, find themselves having to water down and sometimes bastardize their culture for tourist currency while being subject to colonizers owning the place they work and dictating how they can express themselves.

One live-action example is “The White Lotus,” but a better example is “Tehura.” In watching her dance for fun, to connect with her community, you see the joy which comes from learning about one’s culture through movement. The way you are to move your hips and feet, the positioning of your arms, and how the combination makes a language of its own. Then there is the music, the clothes, and you getting to put your own spin on it in informal settings and adding a bit of yourself to the moves.

Yet, for Tehura, this isn’t the case if she performs for tourists like Paul. She is foreign and mesmerizing – exotic. What she presents is not a cultural exchange but rather seen as a seduction from a foreigner’s point of view. Hence the way Paul and his friend act, and even if Paul apologizes for his friend being too forward, this doesn’t excuse him for still wanting to cross the boundary between performer and audience.

And in watching Tehura’s final dance, a protest and scream, letting out every emotion she has held back, you are given a powerful piece of animation that doesn’t have too many peers.

Movie Directory

An old school film reel drawn by artist Dean Nelson.

On The Radar


Ratings

  • Recommended: Some of the best-seen movies we have ever watched and mentioned to friends, family, and strangers as films that need to be seen.
  • Positive (Worth Seeing): Whether you’ll have to go to the movies, download, or stream, movies of this category are worth your time and money with few, if any, qualms from us.
  • Mixed (Divisive): Due to this movie having a few quirks, of which may work for some and for others be a problem, we believe your enjoyment of this movie will depend on your taste.
  • Negative (Acquired Taste): While one or two elements kept us going until the end, unfortunately, we’re of the opinion this film never reached the potential it was marketed to have.

Special Categories/ Tags

  • Indie: By our definition, independent films are films you have to seek to find due to limited availability or lack of a marketing push.
  • Film Festival: Featured in this tag are films and shorts which were discovered thanks to various film festivals, so some of the productions may not have wide availability but still may deserve to be on your watch.
  • Shorts: Be it ten or fifteen minutes, or a half-hour, these quick teases or films get right to the point, often show the potential of filmmakers and the actors who have joined them in their journey.
  • Ending Spoilers: Trying to remember how a film ended, or want a different take on the ending, then check out the "ending spoilers" category. 
Tehura (Tainatea Voirin) dancing
Tehura (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
"Tehura" is a powerful piece that is a staunch reminder that animation, while traditionally used as a medium to entertain children in the western world, can be used for far more.
Highlights
The Dance Animation
An Animated Protest
Disputable
85


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Avatar of Amari

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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