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On Location at a Nonentity: Reading Hollywood's "Micronesia"

University of Hawai‘i Press
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  • Micronesia
  • Film
  • Representation
  • Hollywood
  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Minor Cinema
  • Oceania -- Periodicals
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy


The subject of “Micronesia” has rarely figured in Hollywood’s cinematic lexicon, but when it does it is usually relegated to the exotic backdrop of the familiar colonial screen. By employing two Deleuzean cinema analytics that consider realism as well as monumental, antiquarian, and ethical historical representations in film, I closely “read” three Hollywood movies spanning fifty years of subjectivizing “Micronesia” in the social cinematic imaginary. Such a reading of His Majesty O’Keefe (1953), starring Burt Lancaster and set in Yap; Nate and Hayes (1983), starring Tommy Lee Jones and set partially in Pohnpei; and Windtalkers (2002), starring Nicholas Cage about the battle of Saipan, allows us to consider both the various “truths” about Micronesia that Hollywood produces and what the functions of those truths are. Finally, the paper takes into account Deleuze’s concep- tion of minor cinema as well as his notion of fabulation in order to offer a counter discourse to the popular Hollywood displacement of “Micronesia” both from the public imaginary and from the islands and Islanders themselves.

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