sábado, 11 de diciembre de 2010
Oh, What a Blow That Phantom Gave Me! (2003)
IMDb Link: http://www.media-generation.com/DVD%20PAGES/OWB/OWB.htm
Director: John Bishop & Harald Prins
Oh, What a Blow That Phantom Gave Me! returns Edmund Carpenter's visionary work to the center of visual anthropology and media ecology. A maverick who explored the borderlands between ethnography and media over fifty years, Carpenter looked at the revolutionary impact of film and photography on tribal peoples. He opened the Pandora's box of electronic media with delight and horror, embracing it even as he recoiled from its omnipotence. The documentary dives into the tensions between art and anthropology, film and culture. Using extensive interviews with Carpenter and footage from his fieldwork, the film evokes the insights and ironies of his classic book of the same name. He comments on his wide-ranging fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic and Papua New Guinea, concepts of authenticity and truth in media and art, the relationship between anthropology and surrealism, and the impossibility of preserving culture. Much of the film is built around his 1969-70 New Guinea footage, never seen before, which includes a riveting scene of an Upper Sepik River tribal initiation in which a crocodile skin pattern is cut into the initiate's skin. Coinciding with the current McLuhan renaissance, Carpenter is now being claimed as a pioneer in the emerging field of Media Ecology, and his once-exotic ideas about electronic media seem perfectly obvious in light of the World Wide Web. It captures that moment in anthropology when exploring the many ways media transform cultures was fresh and alive and hold promise for a new generation.
This film takes its title from a book written by filmmaker Edmund Carpenter in 1972 about his engagement with media in Papua, New Guinea. In the film, several filmmakers discuss the introduction of media, and film in particular, to native cultures.
Media has the ability to help native peoples document their own cultures, but it also has the power to encroach upon those cultures and irreversibly alter them.
This film relates the ways in which native peoples engage with media, from the Biami who proudly developed the "Big Wink" to learn how to properly focus a camera, to the Kandagan people who changed the rules of a thousand year old male initiation ceremony to allow a woman camera operator to document the ceremony. At issue is the way in which media "swallows cultures" and the benefits and dangers of introducing preliterate societies to Western modes of communication and expression.
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