Al Wahrhaftig (wahrhaft@VAX.SONOMA.EDU)
Sun, 21 May 1995 19:38:56 -0400
I use a number of films, not always isn the same semester.
>From the Odyssey TV series, there is an excellent film on the Mistassini Cree.
The film takes you through a winter hunting/trapping season and is relevant no
only to all sorts of hunter-gatherer (forager) interests, but also
controversies in regard to the continuing struggle of native peoples to
maintain subsistence territories in James Bay.
Also fr0om a TV series, I forget which, is an excellent Kazakh ethnography.
This not only presents a transhumant nomadic adaptation but allows one to
see/discuss how the Muslim Kazakh have adapted their culture to the demands of
Chinese Communist administrators.
An old black and white film by Laura Nader, To Make the Balance, takes you into
a courtroom in a Zapotec municipio where the President Municipal adjudicates
several interesting cases. Relevant to discussions of conflict resolution and
An old film made in the Bolivian Andes by AUFS, The Spirit Possession of
Alejandro Mamani, provokes discussion. All efforts at aid with curing sessions
are of no avail and ultimately Alejandro, who is in his 80's, is driven to
suicide by the spirits who possess hiim. Useful for discussing all manner of
things, including the choices poor people have to make between subsistence and
provision of medical care for the elderly.
Bryan Beavers, a Moving Portrait is a fascinating film about a Concow Maido
(California Indian) shaman (actually he denies practicing).
The Tree of Life by Bruce (Pacho) Lane portrays the ritual of the voladores in
the Mexican Totonac Indian municipality of Huehuetla. Excellent for
illustrating propositions about the sacred, ritual symbols, and so forth.
Most of these are oldies but goodies, a condition caused by lack of any budget
for film purchases in recent years. Must be a bleak situation for makers of
ethnographic film.In message Richley Crapo writes:
> I'm interested in what films others find most useful
> for undergraduate, introductory, general
> anthropology courses.
> Richley Crapo