This is the classic film of cultural confrontation that is as compelling today as when it was first released over 20 years ago.
When Columbus and Cortez ventured into the New World there was no camera to record the drama of this first encounter. But, in 1930, when the Leahy brothers penetrated the interior of New Guinea in search of gold, they carried a movie camera. Thus they captured on film their unexpected confrontation with thousands of Stone Age people who had no concept of human life beyond their valleys. This amazing footage forms the basis of First Contact.
Yet there is more to this extraordinary film than the footage that was recovered. Fifty years later some of the participants are still alive and vividly recall their unique experience. The Papuans tell how they thought the white men were their ancestors, bleached by the sun and returned from the dead. They were amazed at the artifacts of 20th century life such as tin cans, phonographs and airplanes. When shown their younger, innocent selves in the found footage, they recall the darker side of their relationship with these mysterious beings with devastating weapons.
Australian Dan Leahy describes his fear at being outnumbered by primitive looking people with whom he could not speak. He felt he had to dominate them for his own survival and to continue his quest for gold. First Contact is one of those rare films that holds an audience spell-bound. Humor and pathos are combined in this classic story of colonialism, told by the people who were there. Filmmaker: Bob Connolly, Robin Anderson
Bob Connolly, Robin Anderson
This is one of the few ethnographic films in which the anthropologist appears as one of the subjects, and as such it is a lively introduction to the nature of fieldwork.
Timothy Asch, Napoleon A. Chagnon
John Waiko is the first Papua New Guinean to reach the status of professor. After receiving his doctorate from the Australian National University he traveled back to his home village of Tabara to celebrate the achievement with his own people of the Binandere clan.
This film provides a broad overview of Ju/'hoan life, both past and present, and an intimate portrait of N!ai, a Ju/'hoan woman who in 1978 was in her mid-thirties.
In her search for the true origins of a haunting melody, the filmmaker travels to Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Bulgaria. The trip is filled with humor, suspense, tragedy and surprise as each country's citizens passionately claim the song to be their own and can even furnish elaborate histories for its orgins.
Paul Pauwels, Slobodan Milovanovich
1 hour, 10 minutes