MA’OHI NUI, au cœur de l’océan mon pays

MA’OHI NUI, in the heart of the ocean my country lies
An ancestral voice recites the past, present and future of the Ma'ohi, the people of Tahiti. She speaks to Tanaoa, a young man in search of the fading identity of his people. Eye-witness accounts recall the nuclear testing done by French colonizers from 1966 − 1996 on the French Polynesian atolls Moruroa and Fangataufa, near Tahiti. The words can be heard to the hollow rumbling sound of a bomb explosion in slow-motion, resembling the roar of traditional Polynesian drums. The Ma'ohi sensed the horror around them, yet they were disempowered and could not turn away. Deceived and compelled through money and the seductions of modern life and dispossessed of their land, they gradually lost connection to their Polynesian ways, their resources, their language and their ocean. But the Ma'ohi spirit is resilient, it resists and it survives. Poet and political activist Flora Devatine’s ethereal words recapitulate and empower the voices of a people seeking the path of independence.
by Annick Ghijzelings
with Flora Devatine
Belgium 2018 Tahitian, French 113’ Documentary form


  • Flora Devatine (Narrator)


Written and Directed by Annick Ghijzelings
Cinematography Caroline Guimbal, Annick Ghijzelings
Editing Annick Ghijzelings
Music Herman Martin
Sound Design Annick Ghijzelings, Jean-Jacques Quinet
Sound Jean-Jacques Quinet
Producer Isabelle Truc
Co-Producer Javier Packer-Comyn

Produced by

Iota Production


Annick Ghijzelings

Initially a writer, she turned to film-making after adapting her own stories for the big screen. Working as a documentary film-maker ever since, her filmography includes Terre terra terrae, The Very Minute and 27 times Time. In MA’OHI NUI, in the heart of the ocean my country lies she shows the determination of the Ma’ohi people of Tahiti to overcome contemporary forms of colonization.


2008 Terre terra terrae 2010 The Very Minute, unfinished 1 > 7 2016 27 fois le temps (27 times Time) 2017 MA’OHI NUI, au cœur de l’océan mon pays (MA’OHI NUI, in the heart of the ocean my country lies)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018