The drum and the mask time of the Tubuan
Award-winning filmmaker and producer Caroline Yacoe's documentary explores the Tubuan, a secret male society of the Talai people of Duke of York Island in Papua New Guinea. Tubuan is also the name of the masks that are worn by the initiates. Because of the secret nature of the rites, the film only depicts the ceremonies and dances viewed by the entire village, not the forbidden ones. The narrator is Melanesian, and a female Talai villager tells of the threat of death to any female who witnesses the rituals of the society. A male villager explains the symbols painted on a Tubuan house, and a Christian priest relates what an initiate has told him about the importance of the ritual to him. These commentaries, along with ample images of the masks, give us an idea of how the ritual underlies Talai society. 'There is a man inside the mask,' goes the saying in Tokpisin.