Facets Cinémathèque

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November 25–December 1, 2016

Chicago Premiere


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Film still: Tanna Film still: Tanna
Best Cinematography
Intl Critics' Week Award
Venice Film Fest
"a tremendous accomplishment, especially considering that the cast had never seen cameras before—much less movies—yet still agreed to star in the drama. Their performances are as stunning as the setting"
  —Washington Post
"A stirring tribute to the power of love and will likely prompt many viewers to shed tears of sadness and tears of joy at various points"
"Rich in both sociological detail and roiling emotions"
  —Village Voice
4stars "Tanna has a warm, shimmering vitality. Like the trees and the birds, the frame feels alive"
  —The Guardian

Tanna is set in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, where Wawa, a young girl from one of the last traditional tribes, falls in love with her chief's grandson, Dain. When an intertribal war escalates, Wawa is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal and soon after, the young lovers run away, but are pursued by enemy warriors intent on killing them. Dain and Wawa must choose between their hearts and the future of their people, while the villagers wrestle with preserving their culture while adapting to the increasing outside demands for individual freedom.

Bentley Dean and Martin Butler's feature debut is based on a true story and its cast features members of the Yakel tribe in Vanuatu. The filmmakers spent seven months living with the Yakel, a tribe whose customs and lifestyle have changed little for centuries. During this time, the filmmakers were told of a great love story from the recent past with the result being a screenplay written in close collaboration with the Yakel and performed predominantly by its members, who had never seen a film before. This Romeo and Juliet story offers not only a glimpse into a remote and unfamiliar place, but also shows that love, not war, takes genuine courage and that even the oldest traditions must contain the flexibility to evolve.

Directed by Martin Butler and Bentley Dean, Australia/Vanuatu, 2015, 99 mins. In Navhal and Nafe with English subtitles.

Tanna has been selected as Australia's official choice for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2017 Academy Awards.


  • Fri., Nov. 25 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Nov. 26 at 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Nov. 27 at 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Nov. 28–Dec.1 at 7 & 9 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation