A funeral like no other funeral.

On 10th September 2006 King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV of Tonga dies after 41 years with near-absolute rule. The funeral, in this last remaining Polynesian kingdom, is an amazing mix of Victorian England and ancient Polynesia.

But even more amazing is what goes on behind the scenes. The whole country is involved in the kavenga that follows the funeral. Kavenga is a gift giving system based on obligations and responsibility that Tongans must meet to maintain social status and prestige. By following Noble Niukapu, a high ranking member of the nobility, the viewer is given a rare view into the great sacrifices and donations that follow a royal event in Tonga - The Friendly Islands.


My first ‘documentary’ – actually more a mix of a art video/documentary/music video… which leaves the film somewhat between two chairs. A more decisive approach would have been preferable. Technically, the main mistake was to load in wrong format - the 4:3/16:9 issue. Also I loaded in SD instead of HD (which it was shot in) due to limited editing capacity. All the mistakes accounted for, I still feel good about this work. Gave useful experience. And I still have the tapes, which I will reload and re-edit and combine with the footage of the coronation (even more crazy stuff!).

Length: 25 min. (cutdown of original version 26.50 min)

Idea, camera, editing & producer:
Smike Käszner

Thanks to Bern Film, Deel International, Niels Sally and not least Sybille Windt.

Thanks to Niukapu family

Supported by
The Danish Art Council (Statens Kunstfond)

For more works see:

copyright 2011

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