×

Troubled Paradise

Narrator: Amy Hill.

Narrator: Amy Hill.

Like life in Hawaii, Stephen Okazaki’s “Troubled Paradise” moves along at a leisurely pace, with plenty of opportunities to gaze at the natural beauty that surrounds those who live on the Big Island. However, the hourlong film’s purpose is primarily educational, and as such it should appeal to those interested in the problems of dispossessed indigenous peoples.

The film is divided into two parts, “Love of the Land” and “Pele’s Children.” Although seemingly schizophrenic, program’s halves share the theme of government indifference to and even attack on native peoples.

The Hawaiians are presented as lovers of peace and nature, willing to get along and go along. Okazaki’s focus is on the hardship of their lives, and how the Hawaiians’ connection to their land is being broken by poverty, rampant development and disregard for their culture and traditions.

The first half of the film details the efforts of a Japanese-U.S. development consortium to build a huge resort hotel on the native Hawaiians’ favorite beach, on a site that endangers ancient remains and burial sites.

“Pele’s Children,” the second half, is about the conflict over attempts to harness the geothermal power of the island’s volcanoes for energy to wean Hawaii from its oil dependence.

Also brought into play is the fate of one of the few remaining rainforests in the United States and how those native Hawaiians who fought in the U.S. armed services have been abandoned by their government.

Despite tackling many subjects in such a short time, Okazaki makes his points loud and clear. He effectively contrasts Hawaii’s natural beauty with the ugly treatment its indigenous people have received.

As an educational look at a little-known people, Oscar-winner Okazaki’s film succeeds.

Troubled Paradise

(Sun. (2), 10-11 p.m., PBS)

Production: Filmed in Hawaii by Steven Okazaki. A presentation of the National Asian American Telecommunications Assn. Producer, director, writer,

Crew: Editor, Stephen Okazaki. Associate producer, Zand Gee. Camera, Okazaki, John Esaki; sound, Sara Chin, Giovanni di Simone; additional volcano footage, Maurice Krafft; additional volcano sound, Doug Hodge; music, George Kahumoko Jr., Dean Kaahanui, Diana Aki.

More TV

  • GOTHAM: L-R: Guest star Cameron Monaghan

    TV News Roundup: Fox Drops 'Gotham' Final Season Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Fox released a new trailer for an upcoming episode of “Gotham” and Disney has announced the cast for its upcoming “High School Musical” series.  FIRST LOOKS Showtime released a new trailer and the official poster for the upcoming fourth season of “Billions,” premiering March 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In [...]

  • Chris Rock

    Chris Rock to Direct Kenan Thompson Comedy Pilot at NBC

    Chris Rock has come onboard to direct the NBC single-cam comedy pilot “Saving Kenan,” Variety has learned. Rock will also executive produce the pilot, which stars “SNL” mainstay Kenan Thompson. Thompson will play a newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Apollo Global Management Buys Majority Stake in Cox TV Stations

    Private equity giant Apollo Global Management has cut a deal with Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises to buy a majority stake in Cox’s 13 TV stations as well as three newspapers and a handful of radio stations in Ohio. Apollo has been in the hunt for broadcast TV stations for some time. Cox’s station group, which includes [...]

  • Ken Jeong TV Take Podcast

    Listen: Ken Jeong on His Return to Stand-Up and New Netflix Special

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, talks with Ken Jeong about his Netflix comedy special, “Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho,” and being a judge on Fox’s “The Masked Singer.“ Jeong started working on his new standup act after ABC canceled his show “Dr. [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Ken Jeong to Star in CBS

    Ken Jeong to Star in CBS Comedy Pilot From 'Crazy Rich Asians' Author Kevin Kwan

    A “Crazy Rich Asians” reunion is happening at CBS. Ken Jeong has been cast in a lead role in the multi-camera comedy pilot “The Emperor of Malibu,” which is being co-written and executive produced by “Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan. In the series, Auggie, the son of a Chinese tech billionaire, announces his engagement [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content