Though noble in its mission and thoroughly educational, the advocacy documentary Eating Up Easter is so narrow in its approach that its reach proves sorely limited.
Basically one big multimedia letter from Rapa Nui (aka Easter Island) native Sergio M. Rapu to his infant son, the film aims to chronicle the history of the young boy’s ancestors, the island’s current issues and its standout conservationists — all in an effort to encourage a future connection between the child and his family home, 2,200 miles west of Chile.
Clocking in at barely over an hour, Eating Up Easter struggles to fill its brief run time with cohesive arguments as Rapu chases the narratives of people he admires, sprinkling in key anecdotes from the past seemingly at random that only occasionally connect with present crises and achievements.
Among these engaging individuals are humorously salty ecologist Mama Piru, who combats the waste that tourists bring to the island and the trash that daily washes up on its beaches; noted pianist Mahani Teave and her singer-songwriter husband, Enrique Icke, who seek to build a music school; and Rapu’s own father, whose embrace of modernism puts him at odds with certain neighbors.
Flawed and disjointed though it may be, Eating Up Easter spreads the word about a special place in a precarious situation, and, like many other cities and countries with economies dependent on tourism — Asheville most definitely included — the film gets viewers critically thinking about the long-term viability of such reliance and how quickly it can all come crashing down.
The mindfulness that the film instills in receptive audience members could very well be its greatest achievement and makes one wonder how the citizens of Rapa Nui are doing while COVID-19 temporarily prevents visitors from traveling to its beautiful shores.
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