Study of an island

Year1979 Duration192 min. DirectorRudolf Thome, Cynthia Beatt WriterRudolf Thome PhotographyMathew Flannagan, Sebastian Schroeder EditorClarissa Ambach CastCynthia Beatt, Gabrielle Baur, Susanne Christmann, Edda Köchl, Otto Kayser, Brian Beatt Production Moana-Film Gmbh

This film with a marked ethnographic nature, which was filmed without a pre-established plan and with a script that crosses the lines of documentary and fiction, tells the story of a group of five Germans who arrive on a remote island in the South Pacific called Parapara and belonging to Vanuatu. Their aim is to prepare a publication on the lives of the inhabitants of this remote island.  The tasks were personally assigned: one would study the language, another would study the fauna; another the traditions, institutions and family systems; another the plants and another the songs and stories. However, the blind trust in the western scientific objective clashes head-on with the values and customs of the natives. Therefore, from the very beginning, the head of the tribe does not cease to ask and express his surprise regarding some foreigners “who have not come to rob his land”. On the other hand, as the film progresses, the head of the expedition is clear about one sentence: “the more time we spend on the island, the less we know it”. 


+49. 30. 69 50 90 71

Rudolf Thome, Cynthia Beatt

(Wallau, Germany, 1939)

Son of a bookseller, this German director, screenwritter and producer falls into a current of German filmmakers influenced by Jean-Luc Godard and American tradition known as New Munich Group (Neue Münchner Gruppe), along with other filmmakers like Max Zihlmann, Klaus Lemke or Eckhart Schmidt. In 1960, he registered to study German and History. In 1962, he started working as a film critic for publications, such as Süddeutsche Zeitung. Between 1964 and 1968, he began his career as a filmmaker, shooting short fictional films before making Detektive, Rote Sonne, Supergirl, a free adaptation of DC Comics, and Fremde Stadt. In 1973, he move to Western Berlin with his wife at that time, the producer, Karin Thome, and combined his work as a director with that of a film critic for publications such as Tagesspiegel and Hobo, and also in Berlinale. He later made two autobiographical films: Made in Germany and USA and Tagebuch. In 1977 he founded his own production company, Moana-film. And in 1993 its own distributor, Prometheus. Between 1977 and 1979, he directed Beschreibung einer Insel (Description of an Island) on the Hebrides Islands. His films in the 1980’s tackled more traditional fictional questions: Berlin Chamissoplatz, System ohne schatten and Tarot. At the end of the decade, he won the International Critics Award at the Montreal Film Festival for Der Philosoph. With the turn of the century, he maintained his frenetic pace behind the camera and made a dozen films.


Detektive (1968)
Rote Sonne (1970)
Supergirl (1971)
Made in Germany and USA (1974)
Berlin Chamissoplatz (1980)
System ohne Schatten (1983)
Tarot (1986)
Der Philosoph (1989)
Liebe auf den ersten Blick (1991)
Tigerstreifenbaby wartet auf Tarzan (1998)
Paradiso - Sieben Tage mit sieben Frauen (2000)
Rot und Blau (2003)
Frau fährt, Mann schläft (2004)
Du hast gesagt, dass du mich liebst (2006)
Rauchzeichen (2006)
Das Sichtbare und das Unsichtbare (2007)
Pink (2009)
Das rote Zimmer (2010)
Ins Blue (2012)

Promoted by
Gobierno de Navarra
Organized by
With the aid of
Con la financiación del Gobierno de España. Instituto de la Cinematografía y las Artes Audiovisuales Acción Cultural Española Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia Financiado por la Unión Europea. NexGenerationEU

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