Ophir (2020)

  • 1h 37m
  • Alexandre Berman
  • Olivier Pollet
  • France, United Kingdom
  • 2020


“A poetic ode to the indelible thirst of people for freedom, culture and sovereignty.”

Ophir tells the story of Bougainville and its people, who hope for peace, work for freedom and protect their indigenous culture.  

The story of an unknown indigenous revolution and a decade long war, Alexandre Berman and Olivier Pollet’s Ophir describes the attempts of an Australian-owned mining company to take over the residents of Bougainville, to legislate away their rights to life and the things that sustain that life. 

Ophir is one of quite a few ‘David and Goliath’ stories in Doc Edge 2020. European films Acasă, My Home and I Am Not Alone plus a pair of South Africa-set films, How to Steal a Country and Influence, also address the face-offs between powerful interests and disenfranchised members of society.

“Laws written by man
can be changed in the blink of an eye,
but you cannot change
the laws of nature.”

The beauty, poetry and enlightened philosophy of the residents of Bougainville contrast with the dirt of the mining company and the cynical businessmen who exploit every possible loophole in their quest to destroy land. 

“It’s theft,” observes one Bougainville resident. 

“It’s sad that they killed it,” says another, looking at a crater where a mountain used to be. 

“It’s the history of the world,” explains co-director Olivier Pollet.

Alexandre Berman and Olivier’s poetic, dramatic ode to the indelible thirst for freedom, culture and sovereignty offers a gripping exposition of the visible and invisible chains of colonisation.

Read this article about Ophir on RNZ here.

Previous festival selections include:
FIFO: winner, Grand Prix


Alexandre Berman


Olivier Pollet


English, Tok Pidgin, Nasioi

Bonus Content

Phoebe Fletcher Interviews Olivier Pollet & Alexandre Berman

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