L’Ordre et la Morale: Looking Beyond the Transnational in a Non-indigenous Film About Recent Pacific History

Karin Elizabeth Speedy


Most films about the Pacific may be described as transnational in terms of production (and often content), but is it ever possible, within a Postcolonial or Indigenous critique, to move beyond conversations about appropriation? And is the transnational aspect of the film the most useful way to categorise it? Specifically engaging with the Mathieu Kassovitz film L’Ordre et la morale, a retelling of the 1988 French military assault on Kanak hostage-takers in Ouvéa, New Caledonia, this article explores whether we can reconcile the twin dangers of Pacific narratives going untold (and the consequent erasure felt by Indigenous people) versus the peril of Pasifika people seeing only shallow, erroneous, or negative stereotypes of themselves on screen. What role, if any, can non-Indigenous filmmakers play in the cinematic reproduction of Indigenous Pacific histories?


transnational cinema; Pacific film; New Caledonian history; Kanak independence; Mathieu Kassovitz

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol14iss2id334