Easter Island’s (Rapa Nui) iconic stone statues have long drawn the interest of the world. For centuries, the “mysteries” of its past have been sensationalized, drawing curious visitors to its shores. In recent years, this tiny, barren island has found an economic boon as tourism skyrockets, yet the indigenous culture and the island’s fragile environment are suffering.
This hour-long documentary, directed by native Rapanui filmmaker Sergio Mata’u Rapu, explores the dilemma his people are facing. Crafted as a story passed down to his newborn son, Sergio narrates the history of the island and his people. Intertwined are the stories of four islanders. In their own voices, these Rapanui reveal the reality of modern life and the actions they are taking to preserve their culture and environment amidst rapid development. A local ecologist leads recycling efforts to tackle the mounting trash problem while also battling the endless waves of international plastic trash that wash up on shore. Two musicians struggle to create their dream - a free music school they hope will preserve cultural practices and reunite their fractured community. And Sergio tries to understand the motivations of his father who welcomes the advantages of the West by building a mini-mall in the center of the island’s only town. In the end, Eating Up Easter reveals, in microcosm, the complexities of balancing growth and sustainability that we are facing all around the world.