The Beauty of Ethnographic Films

With their accompanying ethical and technical challenges.

Black and white, old photo of a man’s side profile, writing a letter
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood via Pexels

The beginnings of the fossilisation process

Source: National Geographic (YouTube) — the “Voice of God” voiceovers

Facing filmmaking dilemmas

Modes of representation are standards and points of view that a film can follow, and lets the viewer know what to expect when they sit down to watch them.

Language vs. Meaning vs. Intention

[The] “feeling of one’s work disintegrating and being pulled back and reclaimed by the lives which generated it”.(McDougall, 2001)

Is it objective information if I “saw it happen with my own eyes”?

“That’s the trouble with anthropology … there’s no way of probing further material. So we gradually developed the idea of film and tapes.” (Mead, 1995)

“Whether a film is capable of generating more complex statements seems to depend upon the filmmaker’s ability to make the film more than merely a report on a cultural encounter and, instead, embody it.”

A Generation Z kid studying sociology and searching for the Fortress of Solitude.