Lupe Faalele: Soaring Doves
In Samoa, they’re called Lupe Faalele, Soaring doves. They are men “sent forth as doves” to care for God’s flock. Because they are considered God’s anointed, they are accorded the highest respect and honor. They number among the wealthiest in the community. Like ancient sacred chiefs, they wield god-like powers and are excluded from normal codes of behavior. New Zealand Anthropologist Felix Keesing wrote, they are treated almost like gods. Who are these Lupe Faalele? Are they the product of Samoan culture or Christian tradition? Or are they men who enter the ministry seduced by the love of money and power? Lupe Faalele the documentary explores power, sexual and money abuse among these men of the cloth, the Lupe Faalele.
In Lupe Faalee: Soaring Doves, director Daniel Pouesi sees a disparaging problem. In short, the film’s focal point is on the dissonance between the church system in Samoa and its people, how funding these temples has created a class system; its citizens are barely scraping through to support it, let alone their families. Another way to put it, as mentioned in the film, is how the people’s focus is shifting from God to money.There is another potent passage in the film, using coarse imagery of “raping the bride of Christ” to spotlight the abuse of the church on the land. The film pushes past the gorgeous and lush Samoan landscape and digs deep into the social trials that are being faced, many of which mainstream Christians in countries like the U.S. may not know about. One of the film’s most beautiful, humanistic portraits is how we see community support woven throughout the people interviewed in the film. In a way, Pouesi’s approach to the subject is like a photographic gallery of real-life characters struggling economically, and in turn with their faith. The film is thoughtful and courageous and altogether heartbreaking to learn more about this culture. Dove is proud to award the film its Approval for Ages 12+.