"The extraordinary companion piece to YUMI YET, recording the excitement of politics in Papua New Guinea during the first election after colonial rule."
directed and produced by Dennis O'Rourke & Gary Kildea
photography - Dennis O'Rourke / editing - Peter Berry
sound recording - Gary Kildea
57 minutes 16mm/video Rated G 1978
The villagers learn the Westminster electoral system in their first independent election ("ileksen" is Melanesian Pidgin for "election"); the dominant impression is one of chaos: a land with rich cultural traditions and very specific economic and political problems striving to fit itself into an imported form of democracy.
Without media experts to package their campaigns, Papua New Guinea's politicians employ a wide variety of vote-getting techniques. One, in full tribal dress and feather headgear, uses a hand-held loudspeaker to make a simple point: "Forget the others!", while another, more reserved, opts for genteel cups of tea with the headmistress of a mission school.
"ILEKSEN is an extraordinary documentary that entertains as well as provokes, makes you laugh as well as think. Its best feature is that it does all this without a hint of patronising, having an obvious respect for a people who have had Western-style politics thrust upon them and are working out the democratic process in their own unique way."
- Derek Malcolm, The Guardian (London)
"'We have independence but it hasn't changed' a resigned voter declares at one point in this second film from Papua New Guinea by Dennis O'Rourke. Sensitive and perceptive ... it's another gem ... This report of the first elections in Papua New Guinea has many of the virtues of the earlier YUMI YET, plus new strengths. Again O'Rourke displays his singular talent of constructing a political vision using simply extraordinary images and observed contradictions.
It's a rich, complex and fascinating analysis of neo-colonial politics, made with rare insight and skill. Don't miss it."
- Carl Gardner, Time Out (London)
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