Film programme 
Baptiste Buob (CNRS)
Susanne Hammacher (Übersee-Museum Bremen)
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SS2 Theatre (in V)
Wednesday 11 July, 11:30-13:15, 14:30-16:15, Thursday 12 July, 9:00-10:45, 11:30-13:15, 14:30-16:15, Friday 13 July, 9:00-10:45, 11:30-13:15 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

This film stream runs throughout the conference showcasing the best ethnographic films around the conference theme. Film-makers should propose their films as below. Une projection des meilleurs films ethnographiques et anthropologiques traitant du thème de la conférence se déroulera tout au long de la biennale. Afin de proposer leurs films, les cinéastes sont invités à suivre la procédure précisée ci-dessous.

Long Abstract

The University of Nanterre (CNRS UMR 7186) and the VANEASA network will organise a film programme throughout the conference. Films dealing with uncertainty and disquiet (the main theme of the conference) will be screened during the four days of the biennial in the main lecture hall.

To propose a film please click on the 'propose a paper' link below supplying under short abstract a summary of content of the film. In the long abstract please include the following additional information: Director/filmmaker; Runtime in minutes; Year of production; Country of Production; Location; Language (subtitles); Production/distribution.

Please note that as per the two-role rule, a filmmaker may not present a film and a paper during the conference, unless the paper is directly based around the film.

Please send a copy of your film on DVD to each of the addresses below:

Baptiste Buob, LESC - UMR 7186 - MAE, 21 allée de l'Université, 92023 Nanterre cedex, FRANCE

Susanne Hammacher, FIlm Officer, RAI, 50 Fitzroy St, London W1T 5BT, UK.


L'université de Nanterre (CNRS UMR 7186) et le réseau VANEASA organisent une session de projection de films. Les films traitant de l'Incertitude et l'Inquiétude (le thème de la biennale 2012) seront projetés durant les quatre jours de la biennale dans l'amphithéâtre Henri Lefebvre.

Afin de soumettre un film, veuillez cliquer sur le lien "propose a paper" puis fournir une description succincte du film. Dans la partie réservée au résumé détaillé (long abstract), merci d'indiquer les informations suivantes: Réalisation et image; durée; année de production; nationalité du film; lieu de tournage; langue(s), sous-titres; production, distribution.

Un point important concernant le règlement de la biennale : l'auteur et/ou réalisateur d'un film ne pourra pas proposer à la fois une intervention et un film. Toutefois, si le participant à un workshop fait une intervention traitant directement d'un film qu'il a lui-même réalisé, celui-ci pourra être projeté.

Merci d'envoyer un copie de votre film (DVD) à chaque adresse ci-dessous:

Baptiste Buob, LESC - UMR 7186 - MAE, 21 allée de l'Université, 92023 Nanterre cedex, FRANCE

Susanne Hammacher, FIlm Officer, RAI, 50 Fitzroy St, London W1T 5BT, UK.

Accepted papers:


Shashwati Talukdar (Four Nine and a Half Pictures)
P. Kerim Friedman (National Dong Hwa University)

Paper short abstract:

Indian society calls them 'born criminals.' They call themselves 'born actors.' And they are fighting back — against police brutality, discrimination and history.

Paper long abstract:

'Please Don't Beat Me Sir' is set in a ghetto in Western India. It's about Budhan Theatre, a group of young Chhara Tribals who are considered "born criminals."

In 2003 Dakxin, a director and playwright, was arrested on false charges. We started documenting his case. We were concerned because the Chharas are regularly brutalized by the Police. The documentary evolved from that initiative.

Dakxin and his friend Roxy became our guides into why the Chhara are so reviled. They told us how the Chhara were notified as "born criminals" by the British colonial government in 1871, and how entire families were incarcerated in "soft" concentration camps.

The British are long gone, but their legacy remains. Despite being well-educated, nobody will employ a Chhara, forcing them into a life of crime, twenty percent of the Chhara work as thieves, and sixty percent brew illicit liquor. And so the vicious cycle continues. Their identity as criminals has been internalized by many Chhara as well. Dakxin's own grandmother laments, "Not a single grandchild is a thief—they are all useless."

But theater allows young Chharas to break this vicious cycle. We see theater used as a form of non-violent protest against police brutality. We see theater being used to challenge traditional roles within the community. And we see how theater gives the young actors an alternative vision of their future. 'Please Don't Beat Me, Sir!' is, above all, a film about the transformative power of art.

75 min.

(subtitles in English. German, French, Bulgarian, Arabic, Chinese and Swedish are forthcoming)

Premiered at Busan International Film Festival, 2011

Awarded Jean Rouch Award for Collaborative Filmmaking, Society of Visual Anthropology, Montreal, November 2011

Distribution: Four Nine and a Half Pictures, Inc. http://dontbeatmesir.com


Francesca Declich (Università di Urbino Carlo Bo)

Paper short abstract:

Somali Bantu refugees interviewed in Tanzania and the US recount their lives, worries, aspirations and efforts of integration in their countries of asylum. The film compares views of young and older people who now live in very different environments following brief or extended stays in refugee camps

Paper long abstract:

Coming of Age in Exile (35', 2011) has been shot in areas where the Somali Bantu refugees have been offered resettlement in Tanzania and the United States. The documentary texture follows narratives recounted by Somali Bantu refugees interviewed in the village of Chogo and the town of San Diego which highlight both constrains and opportunities embedded in the contexts and countries where the refugees have been offered asylum following brief or extended stays in refugee camps. Expectations of younger and older people are different and rarely coincide with the chances available in the countries of asylum; disillusion may provoke anxieties. Racism from Black Americans is an issue that refugees in the United States did not envisage whereas unemployment after university education was unimaginable for those who settled in Tanzania. Many young people are firmly motivated to strengthen their education in order to help their families both in the US and in Africa but, often, do not find access even to secondary education.

The experiences in refugee camps shed new light on lives in exile as they play an important role in decisions concerning migratory projects. Patterns of migration count on the opportunities offered in refugee camps which, however, may become destinations where utopian migratory objective are nurtured and hopes dashed.


Zeynep Gursel (Macalester College)

Paper short abstract:

Coffee Futures weaves together the Turkish custom of coffee fortune-telling with Turkey's decades-long attempt to join the European Union, revealing the textures of a society whose fate has long been nationally and internationally debated. It investigates the collective psychology of anticipating an uncertain national future.

Paper long abstract:

Coffee Futures weaves individual fortunes with the story of Turkey's decades long attempts to become a member of the European Union. Promises and predictions made by politicians, both foreign and domestic, are juxtaposed with the rhetorics and practices of everyday coffee fortune telling.

The widespread custom of coffee fortune telling in Turkey is an everyday communication tool. Coffee fortunes are a way of dealing with hopes, fears and worries, and also a way of indirectly voicing matters usually left unspoken. Like any language, this narrative form has its protocols, rules and tropes, and yet simultaneously each telling bears distinct marks of the teller's personal style and the individual fortune seeker's condition.

So I set out to seek my fortune and flipped my cup for two dozen people, both friends and strangers. These amateur fortune tellers all read my individual fortune as they might any other day, except for the question I surprised them with at the end...

July 31, 2009 marked the 50th year anniversary of Turkey's application to apply to the ever elusive European Union (maiden name European Economic Community). On this long and seemingly endless path, the film echoes descriptions of a constantly invoked but not yet attained future. Coffee Futures attempts to render the emotional texture of a society whose fate has been nationally and internationally debated often in relation to Europeanness over a very long period of time, to hint at the psychology of collective waiting and anticipating a national future.


Philip Singer (Traditional Healing Productions)
Andrew Lyman-Clarke (Witness Films)

Paper short abstract:

"One Of the Mad Ones" is a documentary history of a boarded New York psychiatrist who rejects modern psychopharmacology in favor of human interaction. After suffering a heart attack, he recapitulates his career and explains why his heart medication is making him want to commit suicide.

Paper long abstract:

"One Of the Mad Ones" is a documentary history of a boarded New York psychiatrist who rejects modern psychopharmacology in favor of human interaction. He's shown working with patients previously "dumbed down" with drugs, using his own unique interpersonal techniques. After suffering a heart attack, he recapitulates his career and explains why the medications he is on for his heart are making him want to commit suicide.

The film was shot over the course of two decades by the filmmaker Philip Singer, who documented Dr. DeSole's work at his clinic in upstate New York, and then interviewed him over the course of five days at his nearby home as DeSole's health and morale were deteriorating.

The documentary has already played at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, and was reviewed in the psychological anthropology journal Ethos (December 2011).

Director: Philip Singer

Runtime: 99 Mins.

Year of Production: 2011

Country of Production: USA

Location, Language: The film takes place almost exclusively in upstate New York, the language spoken in the film is English, with no subtitles.

The project is currently undistributed but academic sales are planned.


Matthew Lancit

Paper short abstract:

In this comedic ghost story, a Canadian Jew wanders through an African culture where “the dead are not dead.” Embarking on a road trip across Cameroon’s most joyous funeral celebrations, the foreigner befriends his guides and becomes increasingly haunted by memories of his own ancestors.

Paper long abstract:

FUNERAL SEASON (ou La Saison des funérailles)

« Nous vénérons l'ancêtre en tant qu'ancêtre mais nous ne l'adorons pas.

Vous, vous avez besoin d'un intermédiaire, le prêtre ; nous notre intermédiaire

c'est l'ancêtre qui est assis à côté de Dieu » dit Poundé, le vieil ethnologue

camerounais au jeune réalisateur canadien d'origine juive. Avec cette affirmation

péremptoire, tout s'éclaire : les funérailles en mémoire « des morts qui ne sont

pas morts » organisées plusieurs jours voire des années après l'inhumation ; les

chants, les fanfares et les danseurs traditionnels qui rythment et accompagnent

les rites dans les villages du Cameroun. Des rites ancestraux que la société

de consommation, le « m'as-tu-vu » et le désir de paraître, contaminent de

nos jours.

La Saison des funérailles, promène le spectateur sur les pistes de latérite

rouges et poussiéreuses, au cœur du pays bamiléké, d'une cérémonie de

funérailles à une autre. Partout les cérémonies sont l'occasion de créer

des costumes, des chants, des modes festifs qui font penser que le lien

communautaire et social se consolide essentiellement à travers ces moments.

En cours de route, le réalisateur se lie d'amitié avec ses guides et devient de

plus en plus hanté par les souvenirs de ses propres ancêtres.

De la légèreté dans ce film subjectif et ethnographique, qui confronte deux

symboliques et deux imaginaires.

2011 - Vidéo - vostf - 87' - Autoproduction

Production Country: Canada;

Shooting Location: Cameroon

English and French (with subtitles for either or both)

Director: Matthew LANCIT


Stéphane Rennesson (EHESS-CNRS)
Emmanuel Grimaud (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

The film depicts a competition of "Rhinoceros beetles" (kwaang) fighting in Northern Thailand, a device which ideal functioning actually rests on the upholding of the ambiguity that exemplifies best the relation of control between the human players and their beetles

Paper long abstract:

2010, 59', This ethnographic film depicts the world of Rhinoceros beetles fighting in Northern Thailand, chiefly in the province of Chiang Mai. The drama inherent to these duels of 3 inches horned beetles locally called kwaang attracts the attention of many amateurs. The short portrait of four of them enables us to elucidate the tricky rules of the game. We state that influence in a kwaang match is a process that consists in mutual adjustments by which affecting and being affected is randomly distributed between human beings and beetles. The story that is being told about that intimate cooperation, yet uncanny at first sight is supported by the epistemological requirement to link the various relevant social scales of the phenomenon: the tactile interface between the breeders-players and their creatures on the one hand, and the more obvious social effects of the fights on the other. We tried to shed the light on what one may arguably qualify the very specificity of this competitive device. Its' ideal functioning rests on the upholding of the ambiguity that characterize the relation of control between humans and beetles. Everybody agree on the fact that if the Rhinoceros beetles can't be really tamed, we can however try to enhance their fighting potentialities and to guide them by tactile means during the fight. The beetles finally prove to be profoundly ambiguous animals, at the same time remarkably obedient and nervous as they can alternatively be easily controlled and escape suddenly the fighting device elaborated by humans.


Giovanni Princigalli (Université de Montreal)

Paper short abstract:

Le documentaire a été tourné au Cameroun et il parle des désirs et des rêves de jeunes femmes qui voudraient quitter leur pays pour émigrer en Occident et marier un homme blanc rencontré sur Internet. Mais souvent le doute arrive : partir ? L'homme blanc connu par Internet est vraiment si gentil ?

Paper long abstract:

Le film parle aussi du voyage et de l'expérience ethnographique du cinéaste, qui part pour la 1e fois en Afrique afin de connaitre les protagonistes du film. Il a connu ces femmes par Internet et il a leur proposé de raconter leur vie. Le cinéaste fait face à ce voyage avec timidité, peur, curiosité, incertitude. Synopsis : "C'est l'histoire de Nadège, Amélie et Léonie qui voulaient améliorer leurs vies. Elles rêvaient de voler à travers la fenêtre d'un site de rencontres amoureux ou d'une web cam, mais qui par contre, changeront leurs vies en restant dans leur pays. Mais c'est l'histoire aussi de leur amitié avec un cinéaste qui pour elles accomplit son 1er voyage en Afrique, à travers lequel on raconte, avec ironie, sensibilité, réalité et poésie, l'univers social, humain, émotif dans lequel les protagonistes vivent: des autres femmes qui vont se marier à des Français connus par Internet, des filles qui portent la photo de leur correspondant blanc au santon ou au prêt pour la bénir, des histoires de filles qui ont suivi quelqu'un en France mais qui on été prostituées, des enfants dans la banlieue d'une petite ville qui n'ont jamais vu un blanc (le cinéaste du film c'est le 1er blanc qu'ils voient !), et bien sur la vie, le quotidienne et les rêves de ces jeunes femmes protagonistes du film."


Michel Tabet

Paper short abstract:

Un ilm sur les cérémonies chiites de l'Achoura à Nabatiyya, au sud Liban. Il décrit des rituels de flagellation qui soulignent l'allégeance de la communauté à la famille du prophète. S'inscrivant toutefois dans un contexte marqué par la guerre, il fonctionne comme une caisse de résonance pour les conflits et les rivalités qui traversent la société libanaise.

Paper long abstract:

Le film, la larmes de Husayn, nous plongent dans les cérémonies chiites de l'Achoura dans la ville de Nabatiyya au Sud Liban. Il décrit les principaux rituels qui s'y déroulent. En donnant la parole aux acteurs il cherche à décoder leurs intentions et à montrer de quelle manière le rituel leur fournit un moyen de maîtriser et d'exprimer une situation sociale marquée par la guerre et par le conflit. Nous voyons ainsi de quelle manière la violence sanglante du rituel fait écho à celle de la réalité vécue dans cette région, comment le sang des martyrs et celui des flagellants se rejoignent sur la scène performative de l'imaginaire.

Ce film s'inscrit dans une série qui couvre différents aspects de la vie religieuse dans cette ville. Il s'agit aussi de montrer comment le rituel se déroule sur le fond d'une concurrence et d'une rivalité entre différents groupes sociaux pour la domination culturelle et cultuelle de la société locale. Le rituel y apparaît ainsi comme un lieu de négociation et de rencontre entre les différents courants, mais aussi comme l'espace ou s'expriment leurs divergences.


Damien Mottier (EHESS)

Paper short abstract:

Depuis son arrivée à Paris, Placide, jeune homme d’origine ivoirienne, n’a qu’une ambition : évangéliser la France Ce film raconte son histoire, son espérance sociale, ses doutes, et permet de mettre en lumière la manière dont les certitudes religieuses affichées à travers la conversion au pentecôtisme permettent de surmonter et de retraduire les incertitudes sociales associées aux migrations post-coloniales.

Paper long abstract:


Réalisation, Image et Son: Damien Mottier

Montage: Mélanie Pavy

Année de production: 2007

Durée: 46 minutes

Nationalité du film: Français

Lieux de tournage: Paris et Londres

Langues: Français et Anglais

Sous-titres: Français et Anglais

Production et distribution: Les Films de la Jetée

Ce film a été réalisé dans le cadre de mon travail de thèse sur les Églises pentecôtistes africaines en France. Il a été sélectionné dans divers festivals et récompensé au Festival International Jean Rouch 2009. En parallèle, j'ai soumis une proposition de communication, en lien direct avec ce film, à l'atelier "Hybridités contemporaines de l'anthropologie audiovisuelle" (G. Remillet et N. Wanono).


André Iteanu

Paper short abstract:

Its election time in Papua New Guinea. Several solutions, some of which are political and other resort to custom, are proposed to answer the major question that the Orokaiva currently ask: Why has development not arrived?

Paper long abstract:

Orokaiva villagers expressed their discontent. So far, they voted for candidates who have never kept their promises. Once elected, when asked something, they always answered "come back tomorrow." Therefore, living conditions have not improved and the development has not happened.

These politicians were farmers, poorly educated. In Parliament, they never spoke, for fear of saying something stupid. So they were content to drink public money and maintain numerous mistresses.

Now these villagers hope that things will change. They will vote for Norman, who has a strong education and long experience in the administration. The arrival of Andrew and other members of the film crew also demonstrates his ability to establish international relations necessary to bring about development.

But in the midst of the campaign a rumor spreads. The Orokaiva people have been cursed by God. In the view of voters political leadership will always remain powerless against that curse. It is crucial to elect a man of faith.

« Come back tomorrow » is not intended to expose "the truth" but to explore a general problem, that of the practice of "democracy", throughout the subjective positions of the characters in their interplay with ours.


Suzette Heald

Paper short abstract:

This film revisits a vigilante movement that arose to combat cattle raiding and gun crime in Kenya ten years after it had brought peace to the area. In telling the story of its origin and current operation it reveals a contrast between areas where it still operates, though with difficulty, and those where it has faltered and led to a revival of clan warfare

Paper long abstract:

In 1998, a new movement swept through Kuria District in S.W. Kenya with dramatic effect.

Cattle raiding fuelled by guns had led to a situation of total insecurity, with all in fear of the thieves. Then, a group of men in just one location effected a new organisation merging ideas from the Tanzanian vigilante movement, sungusungu, with their own indigenous assembly, the iritongo. Within a year the movement had spread throughout Kuria and the District as a whole was at peace.

This film revisits the iritongo movement ten years later. In telling the story of its origin, and its current operation, it reveals a broad contrast between the areas where the iritongo still functions and those where it has faltered and died. In these latter areas there has been a revival of clan warfare.

The film thus reveals a deeper conflict between two modes of life, of a people on the cusp of an older pastoral lifestyle in which cattle raiding is regarded as heroic and one dedicated to agriculture with its need for daily labour, to 'stealing from the soil' rather than from each other. Here eyes are to the future, to 'development' and incorporation into the modern state, with a consequent shift in moral values, towards a civil morality. Here raiding ceases to be seen as heroic and becomes simple theft. Both tendencies are embedded in the current political realities in Kuria.

Director: Suzette Heald; Camera: Susi Arnott; Editor: James Uren

2010: 64 minutes, distributed by RAI

Available with English and French sub-ttles. Original language: English and Kikuria


Karen Waltorp (University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

MANENBERG is a coming-of-age story set in post-apartheid South Africa. The intimate documentary follows Fazline and Warren, two young 'Cape Coloureds', as they struggle to create a meaningful life in an extremely challenging environment.

Paper long abstract:

Do you remember where you were on your 21st birthday? What was on your mind back then? Where were you headed? What was holding you back?

MANENBERG is an intimate portrait of Fazline and Warren, two young 'Cape Coloureds', coming-of-age in a worn-down and overpopulated ghetto-area constructed outside Cape Town during the apartheid-regime to house coloured families with low incomes. Here, 'children have children' and the chances of becoming a gangster are greater than the chances of creating something new in the ruins of the past - but Manenberg is also an area with strong ties between the inhabitants in the claustrophobic houses.

The film raises familiar questions about poverty and power, through the voices and experiences of two young people born into an uncompromising world. One of the most piercing questions of the film is about the power of place in determining oneʼs future.

MANENBERG is a film about hardship, hope and the human capacity for forgiveness.

MANENBERG is the debut documentary film by directors and anthropologists Karen Waltorp & Christian Vium, who have lived and done extensive research in Manenberg between 2005 and 2009.

Awards / Prizes :

Royal Anthropological Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Institute 2011 (UK) - The Basil Wright Film Prize

Auburn International Film Festival 2011 (AU) - Bluebell Award : Best Film of the Festival

Nordic Panorama 2011 (DK) - Best Film in the New Nordic Voices competition

Tri Continental Film Festival 2011(SA) - Best Documentary

Zanzibar International Film Festival 2011 (TZ) - Honorable Mention for a feature documentary


Eric Weissman (Concordia University)

Paper short abstract:

An experimental ethnovideography that emphasizes an overtly reflexive process in long term fieldwork with "street-engaged" homeless people in Toronto. This is the source video discussed in the paper, "Ethnovideography as Ethical Ethnography" being presented in panel WS126.

Paper long abstract:

An ethnographer and one key "participant" of a long term video study of homelessness in Toronto revisit and discuss the footage they made together over ten years, and uncover surprising "truths" about memory, identity and the utility of video above other tools in doing such nuanced investigation. Footage from the filmmaker's documentary "Subtext- real stories", is woven in and out of the participant's actual reactions to the film in which he is a participant, as it is viewed on a laptop in real time. The result is a unique look at both the street culture out of which the participant has struggled to emerge, and also the compelling force of video to help participants, scholars and other audiences to understand how truth is constructed in sensitive fieldwork. This is a gritty, sometimes disturbing, but ultimately hopeful film about one man's struggle with dignity.


Pierre Boccanfuso (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

Medsinu succeeds his father as shaman, in a community living in the forest in the Philippnes. His nephew Issad falls ill and can no longer work the land, so joins the militia of the local « captain ». He has to choose whether or not to obey the shaman’s order : to refuse medical treatmant in town.

Paper long abstract:

Sur l'île philippine de Palawan, Medsinu succède à son père en devenant le chaman d'une société isolée, vivant en forêt. A la fois guérisseur et juge de droit coutumier, Medsinu perpétue les traditions ancestrales. Il doit faire face aux pressions croissantes du monde moderne incarné par les Visaya, philippins vivant sur la côte à la lisière de la forêt.

A la mort de son père, Issad devient chef de famille mais tombe malade. Ne pouvant plus assurer les durs travaux de la terre, il va sur la côte et intègre la milice du capitaine, responsable du district et représentant du gouvernement philippin. Pour soigner son mal, Issad doit alors choisir entre la médecine traditionnelle Palawan et la médecine moderne, avec une éventuelle opération à la ville lointaine. Il est tenté par celle-ci alors que Medsinu rejette catégoriquement cette solution. Issad va-t-il braver l'interdit du chaman opposé à la médecine moderne et aux traditions Visaya ?…

Derrière les péripéties de la vie de chaque personnage du film, ce sont l'incertitude et l'inquiétude de la communauté Palawan quant à son avenir, sa survie ou sa disparition, qui se jouent sous les yeux du spectateur.


Christian Suhr (Aarhus University)
Ton Otto (University of Aarhus)

Paper short abstract:

Should 'culture' be revived? Can it unite the people? Will it attract international tourism? Or does it in fact belong to the white man? Is culture destroying tradition? A film about 'culture' and 'tradition' and the Balopa Cultural Festival in Papua New Guinea.

Paper long abstract:

Soanin Kilangit is determined to unite the people and attract international tourism through the revival of culture on Baluan Island in the South Pacific. He organizes the largest cultural festival ever held on the island. But some traditional leaders argue that Baluan never had culture. Culture comes from the white man and is now destroying their old tradition. Others, however, take the festival as a welcome opportunity to revolt against '70 years of cultural oppression' by Christianity. A struggle to define the past, present and future of Baluan culture erupts to the sound of thundering log drum rhythms.


Julien Bonhomme (Ecole normale supérieure)

Paper short abstract:

The film deals with odd graffiti covering the walls of Libreville. It follows their writer, André Ondo Mba, an eccentric character and a self-proclaimed prophet who claims to perform the divine creation through his public writings.

Paper long abstract:

The film deals with odd graffiti covering the public walls of Libreville in Gabon. Their writer, André Ondo Mba, is an eccentric character, a self-proclaimed prophet who claims to perform the divine creation through his public writings. The film focuses on the graffiti, their very puzzling message, as well as their integration in the urban landscape. It also follows Ondo Mba while he writes new graffiti in the city and then explains his creation in perplexing but often very poetic words. The main objective of the film is to show how Ondo Mba's personal mythology, though extravagant, resorts to a political and religious imagination which finds in fact many echoes in contemporary Gabon.

Director : Julien Bonhomme

Runtime : 26 minutes

Year of production : 2008

Country of Production : France

Location : Libreville (Gabon)

Language : French (French & English subtitles)

Production/distribution : a DVD version of the film was released in Richard Baxstrom & Todd Meyers (eds.), anthropologies, Baltimore, Creative Capitalism, 2008.

Please note that Julien Bonhomme has also proposed a paper to another EASA panel (Grappling with uncertainties: ethnographies of the imagination, Convenors: Vlad Naumescu & Ramon Sarró). The paper, titled « God's Graffiti. Prophetic Writings and Politico-religious Imagination in Postcolonial Gabon", is directly based around the film God's Graffiti.


Chuck Sturtevant

Paper short abstract:

Recent conflicts in Bolivia around the proposal to build a road through an indigenous territory have highlighted conflicts between lowland indigenous peoples and highland colonists. This documentary explores economic relationships between these two groups, specifically a system of debt entrapment known locally as “habilito”.

Paper long abstract:

Directed by Chuck Sturtevant and Daniela Ricco Quiroga;

Runtime of 52 minutes;



Spanish with English Subtitles



Tobias Lindner

Paper short abstract:

Orania is a remote village in South Africa, constituting an intentional community where only white Afrikaans people live. Its aim is the installation of a nation state as a cultural homeland for Afrikaners. The film examines the personal stories of its protagonists and the societal implications.

Paper long abstract:

Orania is situated in South Africa's barren Northern Cape province. All of its 800 inhabitants are white Afrikaans people, also referred to as Boers. They live here on private property which was bought in 1991. People of other cultural or ethnical descent may not live or work here.

The people of Orania refuse to take part in the post-apartheid transformation process leading to a "Rainbow Nation". Crime, unemployment and social pressure make the inhabitants feel that their culture is under threat in the new South Africa. Consequently, they strive to stay ethnically exclusive, creating a "cultural homeland" to preserve their heritage. Yet, the individual motivations seem to range widely from idealism to opportunism to desperation.

The film observes its protagonists on a personal level to explore the mechanisms behind this societal experiment.


Andy Lawrence (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

A film about one man's journey across northern India and his search for enlightenment.

Paper long abstract:

Rajive McMullen, a history teacher makes the difficult and painful journey into the heart of Tantra, searching for meaning in holy shrines, coming close to death in cremation grounds and enjoying the chaos of the Aghori seekers.

My work is concerned with exploring our relationship with birth and death, with ethnographic speciality in India.

Our hope is to go beyond the limits of our historical perspective on childbirth and death and their culturally bound rites, and to demonstrate an emotionally connected knowledge which can contribute to the debate on how we give birth and die.