Saturday, August 05, 2017

Setbisio Para I Publiko #36: Tuleti

In more than a month the 7th Guam International Film Festival will be taking place at the Guam Museum. I received word this week that my latest Chamorro language nerd collaboration with Kenneth Gofigan Kuper will screened. It's title is "I Sengsong Arkham" and follows in the vein of our previous film "Påkto: I Hinekka" in that it features us playing a game that few would ever associate with the Chamorro language or culture, in the Chamorro language. The game itself is called "Arkham Horror" and is a Dungeons and Dragons style game based on the works of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. There are several other Guam and Micronesian based short films and documentary that will also be featured. Thinking about this has put me in the mood for some Guam movies, of which there aren't many, and most of them are not very good. 

The first generation of Guam films, meaning films that were made on Guam in the 1960s and 1970s, didn't feature Guam as Guam, but rather used it as a location for some stereotypical exotic island paradise. The most famous example of this was the first Guam-produced film Noon Sunday. 

In later films, Guam is mentioned but only in passing. It is usually invoked as a military base, and scenes set in Guam, such as the one in the recent flick Pixels, aren't actually filmed in Guam. 

Almost a decade ago, Shiro's Head, which is usually named as the first Guam film, that is meant to represent Guam was released, and while some did not like its artistic and violent take on culture and history in Guam, most agreed that its soundtrack was very enjoyable and effective. When I showed Shiro's Head recently to some of my Chamorro language students, one of them remarked, "is this the first film to use a Chamorro song in it?" As you can hear Joe Mcarrel's covers of his father J.D. Crutch's songs in different scenes. 

My response was no, definitely not. Other films that were made on Guam, because they were meant to be an entirely different place, did not feature Chamorros or the Chamorro language. But a film made prior to Shiro's Head, which made quite a stir in Guam went it first started filming, but later descended into chaos and lawsuits, was Max Havoc: The Curse of the Dragon. 

I have written elsewhere about this film, which was a miserable failure commercially and is barely watchable. It was proposed to be a film that would put Guam on the map, and ended up getting Guam sent straight to the DVD bargain bin of Walmart. Although much of the music in the film is supposed to be generically Pacific or Hawaiian, there is one scene, meant to take place in the Guam Museum, which features the chant Tuleti from the group Pa'a Taotao Tåno'. The scene actually features some Taotao Tåno' dancers in the background, while the two main stars walk through some makeshift artifact stands and displays. 

As a service to the community, the lyrics to the song are pasted below:

****************

Tuleti
Tinige' as David Tedtaotao Gofigan

Tuleti, tuleti, 
Kulan i paluma yanggen gumupu gi langet. 
I tasi yan i tano’, i hatden giya para’isu.
Puntan yan Fu’una esgaihon ham mo’na,
In enra i na’ån-mu nå’i hami ni’ animu.

Para ta tulos, para ta tulos, mo’na i galaide’. 
Kulan i paluma yanggen gumupu hulo’ gi langet. I tasi yan i tano’, i hatden giya para’isu.
Maila’ mañe’lu-ta ya ta onra i anti-ta. Sa’ siha fuma’tinas este i guinahå-ta. Para ta tulos, para ta tulos, mo’na i galaide’.

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