As we’re launching, this year, our first collection of Aloha shirts, we want to give Men a voice in our journal section. Our attention has been caught by no less than one of the most iconic figure of Hollywood but before anything else this American « dreamer » who was called mad when he bought himself an island in the Pacific in order to build a village/school/resort structure. Marlon Brando is one the most charismatic and controversial persona of his time, not only he marked the American culture but he also left a profound imprint in the history of Tahiti. Upon his 99th birthday in early April, we pay tribute to his creative visions, determination and his mad love for Tahiti especially Teti’aroa.
« The happiest moments of my life have been in Tahiti. If I ‘ve ever come close to finding genuine peace, it was on my island among the Tahitians. When I first went there, I foolishly thought I’d use my money to help them; instead, I learned I had nothing to give them and they had everything to give me. » (p.322; Brando, songs my mother taught me, by Robert Lindsey.)
His passion for Tahiti started back in his teen years while he was reading the National Geographic that was featuring images of Polynesia. After that virtual encounter he continued to search about Tahiti in books and magazines.
It’s only in his 40ies that he was offered to play the role of Christian Fletcher in the movie Mutiny on the Bounty and given the opportunity to travel there.
When the actor set foot on Tahiti he admitted that the « reality surpassed even [his] fantasies ». The intense beauty of the place and the joyful Tahitians transported him into a whole new dimension and perspective of life.
Breaks in the filming were devoted to explore the island and experience the Tahitian way of life. Dancing « tamure » (Tahitian dance), singing in Tahitian and eating raw fish was his favorite hobbies so much so that the production team of MGM hired a local guy who ferried him back and forth between the main island and the replica of the H.M.S. Bounty, they meant to build for the movie. This guy’s name was Nick Rutgers, and he could track Marlon wherever he had wandered thanks to « radio cocotier » (local gossip) that worked almost better than the police.
During one of those rides, as they were passing by Teti’aroa, M.B. fell in love, when he landed on shore he reported he was « instantly enchanted ».