I am wondering about what films are out there that would be recommended for a Visual Anthropology course? 

I am also curious if anyone knows of any creative commons films available for anthropology? 

Views: 4320

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Mick,

Nice to talk to you here. A filmmaker I always found to be highly inspiring is Robert Gardner. You must know him as he assisted John Marshall (early on) in his kalahari project. He has made loads and loads of films and has covered quite a few styles over his carreer. An 'old school' must would be 'Dead Birds', and 'Forest of Bliss' is just phenomenal in my view. Debates about the overlap between science and art becomes relevant, especially when watching 'Bliss'. Gardner is controversial, technically very very skilled, thinks outisde of the box, has seen major shifts in personal style of filmmaking, and should provide for a rich source of information and debate in a visual anthropology class.

The uncrowned king of visual anthropology/ethnography is of course David MacDouggal. I have seen "to live with herds", most of the Doon School project (which consist of 5 films, totalling more than 10 hrs if I am not mistaken - much awarded also) and "Gandhi's Children" (2008, 3hrs). All are must sees for students/scholars in vis anthro/ethno and provide base for discussion on MacDouggall's ambition to build on anthropological/social scientific theory without (necessarily) writing about it. Theoretically 'the total institution' and its relation to 'ideology', 'hegemony', 'culture', etc, are amongst the many topics of interest.

I probably don't have to tell you about John Marshall and his kalahari project. Next to MacDouggal, and Gardner an absolute must if you ask me. Not just because his films are 'good', they provide base for a discussion about the role of the camera in scientific knowledge production, and the change of use and theoretical perspectives over in filmmaking over the years (his work spans more than 50 years right?).

Above are my 'heroes' in visual anthro/ethno. Although I very much appreciate 50s/60s Direct Cinema from the USA. Maysles' (bible) salesmen f.e. Also, the total institution, notably the mental hospital, seems to be a recurrent theme (Allan King - Warrendale; Weismann - Titicut Follies, etc)

When are you back in SA btw?

Speak soon,

Sjoerd
(CCMS)
Some excellent picks there. I always loved John Marshall's films and they are amazing for their 50 years + within one community. I would add to the list Jean Rouch with Les Maitres Fous and Jaguar and perhaps Chagnon and Asch with Ax Fight, but perhaps overplayed?

I have to admit never viewed any of David MacDougal's films although they have long been on the list to see.

I have not found much creative commons film work in ethnography that is available online. I was actually a little surprised that much participatory video is not creative commons. I'll keep looking though.

I am back in Durban on December 15 - we should go for a beer unless you're out shooting film somewhere. I'll actually be in town until the end of February so see you then,
Mick




Sjoerd van Grootheest said:
Hi Mick,

Nice to talk to you here. A filmmaker I always found to be highly inspiring is Robert Gardner. You must know him as he assisted John Marshall (early on) in his kalahari project. He has made loads and loads of films and has covered quite a few styles over his carreer. An 'old school' must would be 'Dead Birds', and 'Forest of Bliss' is just phenomenal in my view. Debates about the overlap between science and art becomes relevant, especially when watching 'Bliss'. Gardner is controversial, technically very very skilled, thinks outisde of the box, has seen major shifts in personal style of filmmaking, and should provide for a rich source of information and debate in a visual anthropology class.

The uncrowned king of visual anthropology/ethnography is of course David MacDouggal. I have seen "to live with herds", most of the Doon School project (which consist of 5 films, totalling more than 10 hrs if I am not mistaken - much awarded also) and "Gandhi's Children" (2008, 3hrs). All are must sees for students/scholars in vis anthro/ethno and provide base for discussion on MacDouggall's ambition to build on anthropological/social scientific theory without (necessarily) writing about it. Theoretically 'the total institution' and its relation to 'ideology', 'hegemony', 'culture', etc, are amongst the many topics of interest.

I probably don't have to tell you about John Marshall and his kalahari project. Next to MacDouggal, and Gardner an absolute must if you ask me. Not just because his films are 'good', they provide base for a discussion about the role of the camera in scientific knowledge production, and the change of use and theoretical perspectives over in filmmaking over the years (his work spans more than 50 years right?).

Above are my 'heroes' in visual anthro/ethno. Although I very much appreciate 50s/60s Direct Cinema from the USA. Maysles' (bible) salesmen f.e. Also, the total institution, notably the mental hospital, seems to be a recurrent theme (Allan King - Warrendale; Weismann - Titicut Follies, etc)

When are you back in SA btw?

Speak soon,

Sjoerd
(CCMS)
The Ax Fight .. I share your thoughts, it almost is too cliche in a way. I suppose its a must though. Metje Postma showed it in her visual ethnography course as well. Asch seems to be the authority when discussing the uses of visual anthropology in the educational domain - I suppose that is where much of the relevance of the Ax Fight lies today.

Talking about cliches, the Nanook of the North would be a must as well. if the purpose of the class is to give a historical overview of the discipline that is. How about Regnault & Lumiere?

Also check out Alan MacFarlane's website: http://www.alanmacfarlane.com
(http://www.alanmacfarlane.com/FILES/films.htm)

See you next month.
Sjoerd
As I think about films to use I do also think about Visual Anthropology as a discipline in its own right. It seems courses on the subject run through the canon of classics to show the development of ethnographic video so many start with Nanook, Vertov, Gardner, MacDougal, Asch and so forth.

I wonder if we then limit the full range possible of new courses by always having to start form the basis of introduction to visual anthropology. I wonder what my colleagues would (will) think as I create more visually directed classes with a four field department? I guess it also comes down to student numbers and attraction of the courses to keep them sustainable in the current fiscal climate of frozen posts and lack of new funds for course development.

RSS

Translate

@OpenAnthCoop

© 2014   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service