Solo, a young Samoan interpreter for a Native Court in Colonial, New Zealand Samoa, does what he thinks is best for his people and at times lies as he translates. However, High Chief Nua who’s charged with trespass, understands and speaks English. What follows is a tirade of verbal punches between Solo, Nua, and an old Judge hell-bent on Colonial rule. To make matters worse, Nua’s stranded grandchildren turn up, but forced at gunpoint Nua sends them away. Challenged by Nua, the Judge explodes, declaring them savages, and inferior to whites. Solo finally accepts he is simply a pawn. Taking a stand now, Solo joins Nua having, “Never trespassed on our own land”. Nua pleads not guilty to the charge of trespass, merely attempting to bury her husband on their land as is tradition, but knowing her children are still alone. Seething, the Judge orders Nua to be thrown out like a dog. Disgusted, Solo leaves with a final word in Samoan, “If you’re given a necklace of authority, wear it responsibly or it withers away”. Once outside, Nua’s grandchildren reveal themselves from the bushes. Solo takes them in his arms, looks back at Nua, although tied up – in her heart she’s free.
Liliu screened at the 2019 Berlinale and was awarded the best Narrative Short at the 2019 Hawaii International Film festival.