Sport and Identity in the Canary Islands
Lucha Canaria, traditional wrestling, plays a significant role, both as a modern sport and as a factor strenghtening cultural identity, in contemporary life on the – Spanish -Canary Islands off Africa’s northwestern coast, mainly known as tourist attractions like Tenerife or Gran Canaria. While already the aboriginal Guanches population
knew forms of wrestling, it was only in the 20th century that Lucha Canaria developed into a modern sport. A wrestling league system and regular competitions between club teams are as much part of the contemporary sport as are forms of professionalization and big crowds of spectators. At the same time, Lucha Canaria serves as a distinct factor in the preservation of a Canarian identity on a club and village level as well as on a provincial and an encompassing Canary Islands’ level.
Introduced by poetic verses and information on the history and importance of this sport by the local expert Borito (Salvador Sánchez García), the film portrays three main characters: a young wrestler from the club “Adargoma” on Gran Canaria, the woman who re-introduced female wrestling to Tenerife, and another young champion wrestler from La Palma who succeeds to be selected for the competition of two province teams on 30 May, the "Dia de Canarias".
Born in NewZealand in 1901, Raymond Firth (later Sir Raymond) went to London in 1924 and became a student of the social anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. He carried out fieldwork in 1928 on the Polynesian outlier Tikopia/Solomon Islands (restudy 1952), and in 1939 (restudy 1963) in Malaya (Malaysia) together with his wife Rosemary. He taught Social Anthropology as a professor at the London School of Economics (LSE) from 1944 until 1968. He died in 2002.
In this film he talks, at the age of 91, about his life and work, interviewed by Peter Loizos.
In October 1992 the "6th Festival of Pacific Arts" took place on Rarotonga. 23 delegations from all over Oceania and Australia presented dance performances, craft demonstrations etc. The festival's highlight was a pageant of traditional boats. The film describes selected parts of the festival activities and discusses, mainly through statements of festival participants, the relevance of such events and of the revival of traditional boat-building in Oceania for the strengthening of a Pan-Pacific cultural identity.
A Cultural Group of the New Zealand Police travels to Western Samoa to perform at the annual Teuila Festival. Two group members of Samoan origin also return to Samoa on this occasion. While for Auckland-born Tyrone Laurenson, a police officer in Auckland and president of the group, it is just one of his regular visits to Samoa, for Michael Alofa, who came to New Zealand with his parents as an eight-year-old and now works in the security industry, it is the first return after 20 years. By describing the two protagonists' everyday life and work as well as their feelings about the notion of "home", the film exemplifies the split and at the same time double cultural identity of migrants who remain rooted in their Samoan culture, while over the years a new, western-oriented identity in New Zealand emerges.
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