Ethnographic Film

Ethnographic Film

KARL G. HEIDER
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: REV - Revised, 2
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/714588
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  • Book Info
    Ethnographic Film
    Book Description:

    Even before Robert Flaherty releasedNanook of the Northin 1922, anthropologists were producing films about the lifeways of native peoples for a public audience, as well as for research and teaching.Ethnographic Film(1976) was one of the first books to provide a comprehensive introduction to this field of visual anthropology, and it quickly became the standard reference.

    In this new edition, Karl G. Heider thoroughly updatesEthnographic Filmto reflect developments in the field over the three decades since its publication, focusing on the work of four seminal filmmakers-Jean Rouch, John Marshall, Robert Gardner, and Timothy Asch. He begins with an introduction to ethnographic film and a history of the medium. He then considers many attributes of ethnographic film, including the crucial need to present "whole acts," "whole bodies," "whole interactions," and "whole people" to preserve the integrity of the cultural context. Heider also discusses numerous aspects of making ethnographic films, from ethics and finances to technical considerations such as film versus video and preserving the filmed record. He concludes with a look at using ethnographic film in teaching.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79565-5
    Subjects: Film Studies, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. ONE INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-14)

    It has been thirty years since I wrote the first edition of this book on ethnographic film. Much has changed in the meantime. It is not just that thousands of new films have been made. More importantly, new video technology has made production much cheaper, has eliminated the need for large crews on location, and has made sync sound routine. At the same time, in ethnography itself there has been a growing concern for allowing the voices of the people to be less filtered through the outside ethnographer. With this happy conjunction of technological accessibility and theory, we have seen...

  6. TWO A HISTORY OF ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM
    (pp. 15-49)

    Any history of ethnographic film is bound to be someone’s selective story. Many somewhat different stories have been told, but this is my version. It begins with a prehistory of gifted adventurers like Martin and Osa Johnson, Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, and, towering above them all, Robert Flaherty. They knew little or nothing about ethnography but used film to bring the images of distant peoples to audiences in North America and Europe. This history proper begins with the Balinese studies of Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead. It dwells on the seminal works of four men who were active...

  7. THREE THE ATTRIBUTES OF ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM
    (pp. 50-109)

    In the first chapter, we discussed the general nature of film and of ethnography and what we can expect of the two together. The second chapter was a selective foray into the history of ethnographic film, focused on four filmmakers and designed to trace the development of various ideas that could make film more ethnographic. In this chapter, we shall analyze in greater detail the various attributes of film that affect its ethnographicness. This will be a critical examination and a guide to understanding ethnographic films of the past, and it will suggest standards for making ethnographic films in the...

  8. FOUR MAKING ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM
    (pp. 110-117)

    This book is more about the ethnographicness of films than about films in general. Likewise, this chapter contains thoughts about how to make films more ethnographic, and it does not attempt to cover all aspects of filmmaking. The basic technology of filmmaking is the same for all films, however ethnographic they attempt to be. This technology can be learned in cinematography classes, and some people can do much learning on their own with the help of excellent recent books on filmmaking (e.g., Barbash and Taylor 1997).

    The making of an ethnographic film raises extraordinarily complex ethical questions. Especially since the...

  9. FIVE THE USE OF ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMS IN TEACHING
    (pp. 118-122)

    Most instructors who use ethnographic films at all woefully underuse them. At worst, ethnographic films serve as babysitting devices to fill a few sessions while the instructor is out of town or otherwise disinclined to give a lecture. For the students, film sessions usually result in pleasant experiences in dark rooms, but little more. Even when instructors wish to make good use of films, they rarely have anywhere to turn. The books that they use they have read in advance and can set into perspective, but not so with films. Most film rental contracts are for one showing only, and...

  10. APPENDIX: A Brief Descriptive Catalog of Films
    (pp. 123-142)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 143-154)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 155-162)