sábado, 9 de abril de 2011
Good-bye Old Man - David MacDougall (1977)
Director: David MacDougall
Idioma: Ingles & Tiwi
When the head of the Australian Aboriginal Mangatopi family of Snake Bay, Melville Island, died, his final wish was that a film be made in his memory. Goodbye Old Man is the result. As a film that comes from the request of the family rather than from an outsider, it has a depth of involvement not often achieved in ethnographic film.
In the first part of the film, various members of the family each talk about their memories of the dead man, of their respect for him. At the same time they are preparing for the pukumani ceremony-traditional among the Tiwi of Melville Island off Northern Australia-to put the dead man's spirit at rest and to readjust the imbalance his death has created. Such ceremonies are again being performed after a period of decline. This ceremony is also one of bereavement, allowing the whole family the chance to say goodbye.
Some members of the family set up ceremonial poles at a nearby beach where the ceremony will be held. They dance to drive away spirits in the village. On the first day of the ceremony, everyone crowds into open trucks to go to the beach. Along the way, they stop periodically to dance and men talk about the importance of the customs being carried on by the younger people. Throughout the ceremony and the events surrounding it, a member of the family narrates, explaining the meaning and symbolism. When the family arrives at the beach, they dance again. They dance the crocodile dance and the dead man's brother dances a personal dance. In this dance, the brother moves as though he had lost a leg and the missing leg becomes a metaphor for his brother. Then the dead man's brother pays people who helped with the ceremony. They finish with another crocodile dance where they swim into the sea, giving the dead man his final goodbye.
Part of the power of this film is the family's desire to make the viewer understand the ceremony and the reasons behind it. In one sense, the film becomes yet another aspect of the ceremony itself, one more way of showing respect and saying goodbye.
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