The film “Fiji Time” is about Jean’s return to Fiji after leaving over 40 years ago. A beautiful story that I like to share. The film is by Alexandra Lacey....
When you are born in a land your ancestors have stolen, who are you?
Fiji Time is a film by Alexandra Lacey that tells the history of colonialism in Fiji and its aftermath through the prism of one British colonial family’s experience.
In 2008, 82 year old Jean Bish returned to the land of her birth after leaving over 40 years ago. The film follows Jean in Fiji as she experiences highs, such as meeting a long‐forgotten childhood friend, and painful lows, such as finding her beloved family home reduced to rubble. As she travels across the island on her personal journey, Jean not only narrates her own experience of growing up in the well‐manicured world of British colonialism, but she also introduces us to the darker stories of the Bish family history.
The scenes of Jean returning to the island are interwoven with the story of George H. Lee, Jean’s great‐grandfather, who arrived in Fiji in 1870 to make his fortune. Jean is drawn to George’s story both as compelling family history, but also as emblematic of the larger story of colonialism: a story of adventure, exploitation, and arrogance.
Tropical memories, dark family secrets, and the harsh legacy of colonialism collide in Fiji Time, the fascinating account of a woman’s emotional return to the land of her birth. Searching for remnants of her past, Jean faces a severe crisis of identity, as her idealised memories of a colonial childhood clash with her radical politics and the fractured political and cultural present of Fiji, a country rocked by a series of coups.
Ultimately going beyond one family’s story, Fiji Time reveals the larger story of Fiji through its current inhabitants and examines how colonialism fractures and disrupts the identities of both the colonised and the coloniser. As the film interweaves these two stories, it contextualises them within the larger history of Fiji and the present‐day legacy of England’s entanglement with the island.
Through this history, we see the legacy and impact of colonialism on all of Fiji’s inhabitants: colonials, Fijians and East Indians. By interweaving the past and the present, the personal and the historical, Fiji Time creates a rich and nuanced understanding of an island often little known outside of its immediate horizons. The three stories inform each other, allowing the viewer a deeper understanding of not only Fiji, but the way in which colonialism inserts itself into a culture, takes hold of all parties and doesn’t let go.