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Anthropology in Motion

Film Reel List

16 mm reels, 1200 ft. reels: 1, 1600 ft. reels: 25, 2000 ft. reels: 5


Indians of California - (1955) 14 mins. Shows how Indians in early California secured and prepared their food. Includes arrow making, a deer hunt, gathering and preparing acorns, and the family eating around the cooking basket. Explains the importance of story telling in passing on history and customs.
Subject Headings: California Interior Basin Culture Area, Indians of Early California, Life and Material Culture of California Indians, Oral History of Native Americans, Hunting and Gathering Subsistence Economy
Link to video

National Geographic: Lost Kingdoms of Ethiopia - (1995) 54 mins. Originally filmed by BBC for their Travel and Exploration series. The narrated documentary presents a Western biased overview of the multicultural nation of Ethiopia in the desert Northwest of Africa. It gives an overview of the history and peoples of Ethiopia and their outward way of life, portraying the diversity of culture from the northern highlands to the more isolated Southern communities. Subject Headings: Cultural Geography of Africa, Ethiopia, Cultural Ecology, History and Politics of Africa, Survey of North African Culture
Link to video

National Geographic: The Tigris Expedition - (1979) 59 mins; Follows explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his crew as they sail their bardi reed boat, the Tigris, over routes believed to have been followed by Sumerian traders 5,000 years ago. In The Tigris Expedition, Heyerdahl makes a journey from the Mediterranean to the Northeast Coast of South America to demonstrate the possibility of ocean crossings to populate the New World. The traditional view has portrayed early Americans entering the New World, via the Bering Strait, from Asia about 20,000 years ago or earlier.
Subject Heading: Expeditions of Thor Heyerdahl, Transoceanic Migration Theories, the PreColumbian New World, Origins of Native Americans
No video link - on Amazon for purchase

National Geographic: The Lost Tribes of Mindanao - (1971) 60 mins. This television documentary explores the formerly unknown culture of the Tasaday people on the Southeast Asian Island of Mindinao. Following the work of anthropologist Manuel Elizalde, the film shows a first contact by Western Man of an unacculturated indigenous people, not touched by the outside world before the years of filming the documentary.
Subject Headings: First Contact with Indigenous Cultures, Acculturation as a process, Linguistic isolates, Isolated indigenous cultures, Directed Culture Change, Human Ecology, Subsistence Cultures

Bakhtari Migration: Herdsmen of Iran - (1973) 52 mins. Twice a year, half a million people and millions of sheep make the treacherous journey across the jagged Zagros Mountains in Iran in order to move between summer and winter pastures. The voyage takes an average of five weeks, and covers a grueling 200 miles of dangerous terrain.
No video URL- DVD available through Amazon

BBC World: Shangri La - (1950) 29 mins. All references to "Shangri La", a mythical place, originate from the James A. Hilton novel, popular in the Depression of the 1930's, and made into a classic feature film by Frank Capra, "The Lost Horizon of Shangri La", in 1937. Little world travel to the Himalayas had been done in the early decades of the 20th Century and people only had a foggy picture of remote Asian locales, mainly from National Geographic pictures in black & white. So the myth of a culture centered around places like Lahasa developed. Not until motion pictures were brought back from places like Tibet did the American public conceive of the reality of a Himalayan culture.

BBC World: Giraffe Women of Burma - (19--) 29 mins. The television documentary shows an extreme form of bodily adornment and deformation which can be observed cross-culturally. At the time of this filming, some indigenous tribeswomen of Burma forced a series of neck-rings around their necks and the practice of neck elongation became a practice, a distinguishing trait, that was locally considered a mark of beauty.
Subject Headings: Cross-cultural study of bodily adornment, Women of Burma, Cultural patterns, concepts of beauty, obtaining status in a culture ​​​

Margaret Mead's New Guinea Journal - (1968) 90 mins. Documents the work of Margaret Mead with the village of Peri, on the New Guinea island of Manus. Between Mead’s 1928 and 1953 visits to Peri, the village changed drastically. She explores the problems encountered by a society that develops according to western models. ​

Indian Sign Language: N. American Plains - (195-) 30 mins. Presented by a then tribal elder interested in the survival of knowledge of the sign language once used to permit inter tribal communication, especially in the Great Plains Culture Area. The layman can still learn the rudiments of this form of Native American communication through the demonstrations seen in the film.
Subject Headings: North American Sign Language, Linguistics, Great Plains Culture Area, Native American Communication

Race to Extinction : Maya civilization and the Lacandon Maya of Chiapas Mexico - (1967) 60 mins. Explores the Maya civilization, and shows how the Lacandon Indians have maintained the purity of their race despite attempted colonization by the Spaniards. Explains that inbreeding has doomed them to extinction, and the medical data gathered from observing them may save other members of the human race from extinction. This film also discovers an albino indigenous Maya with significant medical problems. ​

MGM: In Search of the Lost World: Pre-Columbian America - (1971) 60 mins. This famous MGM documentary is the finest survey film introducing Pre-Columbian Civilization in Mesoamerica. It covers the most prominent archaeological sites of Mesoamerica in the New World covering the Olmec, Mayas, Mixtec-Toltecs, and Aztec Civilizations. This was the first film to exploit helicopters to survey the ancient city sites of Mesoamerica, using the full filming resources of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Subject Headings: Mesoamerican Prehistory, Olmecs, Maya, Aztec, Civilizations, Survey of civilizations in the Ancient New World ​

ABC Expedition Series: The Land Divers of Pentecost island - (1960) 28 mins. Pentecost Island, in Melanesia, is north of Australia in the South Pacific. A unique coming of age ceremony is practiced on Pentecost involving young men jumping from a high constructed tower with their feet held only by fiber vines, extending to near the ground. The expedition of Richard Attenborough first recorded the death defying ceremony on Pentecost for the BBC and it was later integrated into the Expedition Series.
Subject Heading: Land Divers, Coming of Age Ceremonies, Cultures of the South Pacific, Melanesian Culture ​

Survivors of the Ice Age: the Life of Norway's Laplanders of the Arctic - Portrays the really harsh way of life of the seldom filmed Laplander culture. The film observes their daily life as a herding people dependent on the reindeer of the Norway's far North. This is a documentary portrait of a culture adapted to survival in the harshest of world climates, the Arctic.
Subject Headings: Culture of the Laplanders, Arctic Culture Area, Herding People ​

Head Hunters of New Guinea - (195-) 28 mins. Gives an interesting look at the indigenous people of New Guinea about 60 years ago at a time when they were virtually unacculturated from outside contact. The now faded color documentary portrays what look to be missionary explorers visiting New Guinea sometime shortly after World War II and shows some of the indigenous people of the island in their native regalia. ​

The Feast: A Study of the Yanamamo Indians - (1970) 29 mins. Documents the celebration of a military alliance between two formerly hostile villages. The guests dance and brandish their weapons, while the host relax. Feasting, trading, and games of ritual violence take place. This was one of the first ethnographic documentaries made by the collaborative team of Timothy Asch (deceased) and the controversial Napoleon Chagnon, Professor emeritus, University of California. ​

The Anatomy of a Cult: The Divine Light Mission - (197-) 30 mins. This documentary looks at the Divine Light cult and is useful to understand the phenomenon of cults. However, this film is highly controversial and therefore remains of unknown for proprietary material for usage rights.​

How the West was Won and Honor Lost - (1970) 28 mins. Traces the consequences of the white man’s discovery of gold in Indian Territory which resulted in massacres and the enforced exodus of the Sioux from his land. This documentary was released following the heels of the Civil Rights Era, where American minority groups gained cultural recognition.
Subject Headings: Native North American History, Native American Culture Political Struggle, Native American Land Rights, Manifest Destiny, Civil Rights. ​

The Moon Temple of Sheba - (195-) 28 mins. This is an expedition film concerning an archaeological expedition to Yemen, on the Arabian Peninsula, to attempt an exploratory excavation of "The Moon Temple" of the legendary Queen of Sheba from early Old World history. There were tremendous cultural and ideological conflicts between the archaeologists and the local people who eventually undermined the goals of the expedition. The film graphically portrays the hardships and sometimes lack of cooperation which working archaeologists must sometimes cope with in the field.

Treasures of the Sacred Well - (1969) 28 mins. This is a filmed account of the underwater archaeology done to bring some lost artifacts of Maya material culture from underwater at the site of a natural sink-hole well, called a "cenote" near the ancient Mayan city site of Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. This was one of the first attempts of its kind to explore the alleged "wells of sacrifice" of the Ancient Maya, in their Post-Classic Period, on the Yucatan Peninsula. The wells provided a source of fresh water to Maya cities and many objects were discarded into them in Pre-Columbian times. The wells have long been called the "Cenotes de Sacrificio", in Spanish, by local Mexicans.
Subject Headings: Ancient Maya Civilizations, Underwater Archaeology methods, Chicen Itza, Prehistory of Mexico, Sacrifice in Maya Culture ​

Weavers of Death: Pre-Inca Civilization in Peru - (1960) 28 mins. This documentary was made at the time of the famous Inca Highway Survey Expedition. It focuses on the excavation of burial sites containing the mummy bundles and other artifacts of Pre-Columbian Ancient Peruvians of the coastal deserts. The explorations are conducted under the auspices of Peruvian investigators before the "huaqueros", or grave robbers can disturb the ancient artifacts. The film explores the methodology of discovering ancient remains in an era before ethical concerns changed archaeology.
Subject Headings: Pre-Inca Cultures of Ancient Peru, Burial Customs

Black Man’s Land: Mau-Mau Repression in Kenya - (1973) 52 mins. Traces the history of the state of emergency declared by the British Colonial government of Kenya in 1952 in an attempt to subdue the movement among black Kenyans for political and civil rights. Reveals the secret society known as Mau Mau to have been an attempt by the white minority to discredit the rising tide of black nationalism and justify the campaign of repression and atrocity, waged against the blacks, for over 4 years.
Link to video clip

The Religious Experience: A cross cultural look at the functions of religion in several human cultures - (196-) 20 mins. This documentary surveys how religion is a universal cross-cultural experience. . The film views many diverse cultures showing some of their traditional ceremonies and the outward demonstration of belief, without evaluating any dogma of belief.
Subject Headings: Religion in Society, Comparative Religion, Cross-Cultural Look at the Function of Religion in Human Life ​

Native life in African ‘Manprusi Village’ - (196-) 20 mins. This short black and white film portrays life in a Sub-Saharan village of the indigenous Mamprusi.
Subject headings: Mamprusi culture, Sub-Saharan African Culture, Mamprusi Village Organization, British Colonialism, Ethnographic Films, Indigenous Problems ​