If you have an alcoholic drink such as Scotch On The Rocks, you have a shot with ice in it. If a marriage or a business is on the rocks, it means that a relationship is in big trouble and may soon terminate. If one’s financial situation is on the rocks, one is likely heading for bankruptcy. In any such case one might be inclined to have a second or third or fourth scotch on the rocks.
Yesterday, Franciscan Sisters Alicia Damien, Barbara Jean and Anne Marie and yours truly found ourselves on the rocks, though not in the aforementioned categories. Since Sr. Anne Marie would be leaving us in a few hours, we wanted to take her to the locality where the movie, Molokai, was filmed in 1999. This film on the ministry of Fr. Damien in Kalaupapa was filmed by director Paul Cox in Kalawao, in the vicinity of the site of the original Hansen’s disease settlement. It featured David Wenham as Damien, Sam Neill as the board of health minister, Kris Kristofferson as Rudy Meyer, the first superintendent of the settlement, Peter O’Toole as an English medic with Hansen’s disease, and Alice Krige as Mother Marianne Cope. When this movie was filmed in 1999, an entire village was built in the vicinity of the original settlement in Kalawao. After the filming was completed, the village was totally dismantled and the land returned to its original pristine beauty.
The present access to the location of the film site begins at Siloma Church and takes one downhill by a partly overgrown pathway to the rocky fields on the edge of the ocean. After slipping and sliding on this wet pathway, and avoiding branches which seemed intent on slapping us in the face, we broke into a clearing. We picked our way through a landscape strewn with stones, rocks and large boulders, hoping to find some evidence of the movie’s village. However, we found none. It was fitting that this small section of our coastal peninsula had been returned to its present day inhabitants, the axis deer and the wild pigs.
After stretching our legs and our energy, and going as far as we could safely go without twisting an ankle, we turned tail and slowly made our way back to Siloama and my paddy wagon. We had not collected any relics except for a set of pig’s teeth, but we had enjoyed our exploration. When I returned to my house , I could have had a scotch on the rocks, since someone had brought me a bottle of Glenlevit several months ago, but I prefer Bailey’s on the rocks. So cheers, and don’t forget to watch Molokai while you are sipping your scotch on the rocks. Aloha.
Fr. Pat Killilea ss.cc.
St Francis Church, Kalaupapa