I didn't understand why the tribespeople suddenly left Papillon alone in their village?

They'd clearly invested time and effort building the huts but then they just up and went. Why?

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1 Answer 1


The tribespeople seem to be nomadic, traveling between the islands on their collection of boats, trading for supplies and collecting seasonal fruit and vegetables from the (otherwise non-inhabitable) islands.

They made a brief stop at the island where they harvested a crop of oysters and their pearls, which they then traded for artifacts of value from the nearby prison colony.

You may wish to note that they ultimately left the remaining (worthless to them) pearls in the makeshift village, presumably as a symbol that they would no longer return in future.

  • @erik - It's been a very long time since I've seen this film. Who's the guy hanging up in the village with his throat cut if not the trader from earlier in the scene (with all the pocket watches and stuff from the prison? Please feel free to correct the island name of you think I've got it wrong.
    – user7812
    Mar 28, 2016 at 21:26
  • I pulled my down-vote and comments due to your edit. I'll try to watch the scenes in question tonight. I don't think the island has a name in the movie.
    – Erik
    Mar 28, 2016 at 21:36
  • @erik - It's named in the book but the order of events is very different and I'm reading a Google translation which doesn't help
    – user7812
    Mar 28, 2016 at 21:58
  • Yeah Devil's Island is a rocky prison island. Not a place with pleasant beaches and topless native girls. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papillon_%28film%29 I read an English translation of the book over a decade ago, so I don't remember many of the finer points. I have the DVD so I should be able to watch it tonight
    – Erik
    Mar 28, 2016 at 22:08

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