Mungau Dain, Villager Star In Pacific Island Film, Dies At 24

“Tanna” won eight awards at international film festivals and was nominated for best foreign-language film at the 2017 Academy Awards. Mr. Dain, with other cast members, had traveled the world to promote the movie and had enjoyed his role as its unofficial ambassador, Mr. Kawiel said.

While in Venice for the 2015 Venice International Film Festival, Mr. Dain, smiling broadly and wearing traditional garb, told an interviewer, “This is such a good place, with many buildings, many cars, many people — it’s such a good place.

“But,” he added, “my life here is not as good as my life back at home.”

Tanna, a 45-minute flight from Port-Vila, is one of 83 islands in a remote, impoverished country that has fewer than 300,000 residents. It has roughly one-tenth of the national population and is one of five islands in Tafea, the southernmost of Vanuatu’s six provinces.

Mr. Kawiel said Mr. Dain was born in 1994 in Yakel, an unelectrified jungle village with a population of around 200.

Terry Adlington, managing director of the Tanna Coffee Development Company, who has worked with people from Yakel for more than two decades, described Mr. Dain as “a key participant in the everyday life of his village and the community at large.”

Yakel is one of several villages on Tanna with a sharing economy, in which yams, taro, pigs, pig tusks, woven mats and other items are used as currency, said Henry Dixson, an anthropologist in Auckland, New Zealand, who conducted fieldwork in Vanuatu for a doctoral dissertation.

But it is not untouched by modern life, he added; some residents own cellphones and other consumer goods.

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Mungau Dain, Villager Star in Pacific Island Film, Dies at 24
Mungau Dain, Pacific Island Movie Star from Oscar-Nominated Film Tanna, Dies at 24
Mungau Dain, humble Pacific island movie star, dies at 24
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