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N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman
This film provides a broad overview of Ju/'hoan life, both past and present, and an intimate portrait of N!ai, a Ju/'hoan woman who in 1978 was in her mid-thirties. N!ai tells her own story, and in so doing, the story…
4 videos
On The Way to School - The Long Roads to School Around the World
The story of four students from different parts of the world that travel long distances to attend school. Winner of Best Documentary Film at the Cesar Awards . Nominated for the Variety Piazza Grande Award at the Locarno International Film…
Waiting for John - An Island Cult Worships American Materialism
An indigenous community worships American materialism on the tiny Pacific island Tanna. When the American military arrived during World War II, the islanders were amazed by America's fantastic cargo - planes, trucks, refrigerators, canned food. They thought such goods could…
Dead Birds
Dead Birds is a film about the Dani, a people dwelling in the Grand Valley of the Baliem high in the mountains of West Irian. When fillmmaker Robert Gardner shot the film in 1961, the Dani had an almost classic…
First Contact
Part of the Series: Highlands Trilogy
This is the classic film of cultural confrontation that is as compelling today as when it was first released over 20 years ago. When Columbus and Cortez ventured into the New World there was no camera to record the drama…
Reassemblage - A Complex Visual Study of the Women of Rural Senegal
Women are the focus but not the object of Trinh T. Minh-ha's influential first film, a complex visual study of the women of rural Senegal. Through a complicity of interaction between film and spectator, REASSEMBLAGE reflects on documentary filmmaking and…
The Ax Fight
Part of the Series: Yanomamo Collection
The Ax Fight was restored by the National Film Preservation Foundation. A fight broke out in Mishimishimabowei-teri on the second day of Chagnon and Asch's stay in this village in 1971. The conflict developed between the villagers of Mishimishimabowei-teri and…
The Hunters
Part of the Series: !Kung Series Collection
This re-release of an early classic in anthropological film follows the hunt of a giraffe by four men over a five-day period. The film was shot in 1952-53 on the third joint Smithsonian-Harvard Peabody sponsored Marshall family expedition to Africa…
A Man Called "Bee": Studying The Yanomamo
Part of the Series: Yanomamo Collection
This is one of the few ethnographic films in which the anthropologist appears as one of the subjects, and as such it is a lively introduction to the nature of fieldwork. Napoleon Chagnon, who lived among the Yanomamo for 36…
Forest of Bliss
Forest of Bliss is an unsparing yet redemptive account of the inevitable griefs, religious passions and frequent happinesses that punctuate daily life in Benares, India's most holy city. The film unfolds from one sunrise to the next without commentary, subtitles…
Tongues of Heaven - Saving Native Languages
This film explores the challenges facing young indigenous people as they struggle to learn the languages of their forebears before they go extinct. Set in Taiwan and Hawai'i, territories where languages of the Austronesian family are spoken, this experimental documentary…
The Nuer
"Portrays the Nuer, Nilotic herdsmen of the Nile basin. Shows how their daily lives revolve about their cattle, and depicts the psychological bonds between them. Includes extensive use of Nuer music and poetry." "A poetic film concentrating on evocative images…
Bitter Melons
Part of the Series: !Kung Series Collection
This film, shot in 1955, focuses on a small band of /Gwi San living in the arid landscape of the central Kalahari Desert in present-day Botswana. The hardships of their everyday survival are woven into the songs of a blind…
!Kung Short Films Series
Between 1950 and 1958, John Marshall made four expeditions to film the Ju/'hoansi (a group of !Kung Bushmen) of the Nyae Nyae region of Namibia (then South West Africa). Marshall and his family, who together undertook an extensive multi-disciplinary study…
16 videos
To Find the Baruya Story - An Anthropologist at Work with a New Guinea Tribe
This multi-faceted film, photographed in both 1969 and in Paris in 1982, illustrates an anthropologist's actual fieldwork methods and personal relationships among the Baruya, and provides an in-depth view of the Baruya's traditional salt-based economic system. The film follows Dr.…
Naked Spaces - A Portrait of Rural West Africa
Shot with stunning elegance and clarity, NAKED SPACES explores the rhythm and ritual of life in the rural environments of six West African countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkino Faso, Togo, Benin and Senegal). The nonlinear structure of NAKED SPACES challenges the…
The Drums of Winter (Uksuum Cauyai)
This feature-length documentary explores the traditional dance, music and spiritual world of the Yupik Eskimo people of Emmonak, a remote village at the mouth of the Yukon River on the Bering Sea coast. The Drums of Winter gives an intimate…
2 videos
Altar of Fire
This film records a 12 day ritual performed by Mambudiri Brahmins in Kerala, southwest India, in April 1975. This event was possibly the last performance of the Agnicayana, a Vedic ritual of sacrifice dating back 3,000 years and probably the…
A Man and His Wife Weave a Hammock
Part of the Series: Yanomamo Collection
A village headman, Moawa, weaves a cotton hammock while his wife swings in her own hammock, occasionally touching his leg in a loving gesture. She watches and teases him while playing with their baby. This film is included on the…
A Peasant Chronicle in Gruyère
The shooting of this peasant chronicle in the Gruyere region of Switzerland lasted a whole year, from July 1989 to July 1990. A year of work and festivities in the family of Conrad and Louise Bapst, their children and grandchildren…