Before the white man came to Papua New Guinea, the Ganiga-tribe had rather heartwarming views of expressing one's social status. If someone had too many possessions, one was considered to give them away. The more one gave away, the higher one's status. It is not hard to imagine that this attitude made the Papuans easy victims of the invading capitalism. This documentary for a considerable part derives its strength from the way in which it translates these abstract problems to human conditions. This results in fascinating observations of culturally highly different people, who yet will have to find a modus vivendi together.
The film follows Joe Leahy, son of an Australian expiorer and a native Papuan woman. He runs a successful coffee plantation in a modern, capitalistic way, and lives like a Westerner. His knowledge of the local culture makes it easy for him to mould matters to his will. In business matters, the Papuans are still kids, Leahy says. The quarrel about the conditions of a lease is exemplary of the relationships. The Papuans had thought Leihy agreed to a 50-50 deal. Leahy explains that it has to be 60-40 in his favour due to loans, interest and prices. The Papuans look at him with glazed eyes, protest for a moment, but understand absolutely nothing, and give in.