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Disappearing World
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The Albanians of Rrogam [electronic resource]: Disappearing World

With the fall of the Stalinist regime in Albania, one of the poorest countries in Europe, the people of a remote mountain village are faced with the dilemma of how to reallocate the land and flocks after 40 years of collectivism. For the first time they have to make their own decisions in the face of an uncertain, changing future, as they must eke out an existence without the direction from above to which they have become accustomed.

Mongolia II - the City on the Steppes [electronic resource]

Though Mongolia is as large as all of Western Europe, its population in the mid-1970s numbered a mere 1.5 million. This is the second of two films made by Granada TV - the first-ever documentary unit allowed in from the West - that give a rare look at life in a land once deemed remote and inaccessible. The City on the Steppes documents two celebrations. In the capital of Ulan Bator, then home to a quarter of the country's population, we see the 53rd anniversary of the socialist revolution play out with parades, festivals, wrestling and archery contests, and one of the most remarkable horse races in the world, where 7-to-12-year-old jockeys race. The film then returns to a shepherd's camp on a collective for the traditional celebration of Tsagaan Sar, the lunar New Year festival, also [...]

The Basques of Santazi [electronic resource]

Every summer for hundreds of years, the Basque shepherds of Santazi have herded their sheep up to the high pastures in the Pyrenees. But now their way of life is threatened. Change has come to the village along the avenues of introduced roads and improved communication systems with the outside world. The effects stretch from people's relationship with the Catholic religion to inheritance customs; television has also entered the villagers' homes; and the traditional life of shepherding is changing amid the conflict of interest between those who have formed a syndication to maintain the viability of shepherding and the sons who have taken jobs as linemen for the electricity company. Following the lives of two Basque families through the seasons of a year of such change, this film shows [...]

The Kwegu [electronic resource]

Along the banks of the Omo River in southwestern Ethiopia, an almost feudal relationship plays out between the 500-strong Kwegu, a small group of hunters and cultivators, and the Mursi, who number 5,000. Every Kwegu offers ferrying, honey-gathering, and metalworking services to his Mursi patron. In exchange, the Mursi offers security - defending his Kwegu from attack by other members of the stronger tribe - and the all-important cattle, without which, in the complex tribal bride-price rituals, no Kwegu marriage can take place nor Kwegu children thus be born. Unfortunately for both Mursi and Kwegu, their mutually profitable relationship cannot last much longer. With birth rates falling among the already depleted Kwegu, and once-taboo intermarriages becoming more accepted, the Kwegu ar [...]

The Kalasha [electronic resource]: Rites of Spring

The Kalasha are an ancient mountain people living in the Chitral district of northwestern Pakistan. Surrounded by a predominantly Muslim population, they adhere to an old religion based on Hinduism. This film presents a picture of their way of life and features the celebrations of Goshi, their three-day spring festival.

The Wodaabe [electronic resource]

The Wodaabe of the Sahara are among the last true nomads. Anthropologist Mette Bovin travels with the Wodaabe as they follow their herds in an endless migration across African borders, resisting pressures to settle down and lead a "normal" life. Though their herds have been devastated by drought, they intend to hold on to their way of life, in which ritual and taboo play a major part. As the Wodaabe also value male beauty, the men adorn themselves with makeup.

The Mursi [electronic resource]

The Mursi are a tribe living in southwestern Ethiopia, along the Omo River. They are constantly at war about grazing rights with a neighboring tribe, the Bodi - and the most interesting feature of their way of life is the open public debate through which they settle their most important problems, including that of the war. As we learn from the filmmakers, "They never shout each other down, never interrupt, always allow every man to have his say - [there is] no chairman, no vote.

In Search of Cool Ground - the Mursi Trilogy: II the Kwegu [electronic resource]

This second part of The Mursi Trilogy documents the changes in the life of the Kwegu tribe of southwestern Ethiopia as drought and famine drive them into contact with the outside world. This small group of hunters and cultivators are regarded by the cattle-herding Mursi as very much the lesser tribe, scorned as "the men without cattle." Yet the Mursi depend on the Kwegu for hunting, gathering, and metalworking services - and, being nervous of water, they rely on the Kwegu to ferry them across the Omo to their fertile planting and grazing grounds. In exchange, the Mursi provide protection and the cattle the Kwegu need for their complex tribal bride-price rituals.

In Search of Cool Ground - the Mursi Trilogy: III the Migrants [electronic resource]

This last part of The Mursi Trilogy continues the story of the tribe's search for a more hospitable environment and further explores their relationship with neighboring peoples. Given their weakened foothold in the pastoral economy and their increased dependence on market exchange, the migrants have moved away from their traditional grazing lands in a desperate bid for survival, in turn becoming settled agriculturalists and traders like their highland neighbors, the Ari. As their migration brings them into contact for the first time with the outside world of money and government, traditional ways established over thousands of years are beginning to change. By tracing the current and potential impact of this move on the lives of the Mursi, this finale shows how they are beginning to c [...]

Inside China [electronic resource]: The Newest Revolution

Through the eyes of one peasant family, this classic film looks at China's latest revolution: a gamble with individual wealth and material incentives. A huge national experiment plans to dismantle the communes in an effort to modernize the country. While this refocusing on individual effort would potentially enrich the peasants and workers, it could also threaten the communal life established since the Chinese Revolution of 1949.

Saints and Spirits in Morocco [electronic resource]

This program explores the personal dimensions of Islam for women in Morocco-as seen through the eyes of one woman, Aisha bint Muhammad-during three events: the annual renewal of contact with a spirit through a ritual festival of celebration in Marakech; the pilgrimage to the moussem, or festival of a powerful saint, whose shrine lies in the mountains of the High Atlas; and the veneration of a new saint's shrine in a small plains village.

The War of the Gods [electronic resource]

This film contrasts the belief systems and ways of life of the Maku and Barasana Colombian Indians with those of the Protestant and Catholic missionaries who, in competing to convert the Indians to Christianity, threaten to consume their ancient culture. The Protestants, North American Fundamentalists from the Summer Institute of Linguistics, are said to have used their organization as a cover in order to be allowed to work with the Indians, because open Protestant missionary activity would not have been acceptable to the authorities.

Kataragama [electronic resource]: A God for All Seasons

Ratnyaka was 11 when he went into the jungle of Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon-and disappeared without a trace. His family consulted an astrologer who told them to put their plight to Kataragama, predicting the Hindu god would have the boy back in 21 days. While the boy's parents waited at home, the film team went to Kataragama's central shrine, witnessing terrifying scenes as worshippers thanked their god for granted favors: some walked through pits of red-hot fires or staggered on nailed shoes, while others hung themselves from butchers' hooks impaled on their backs. All the worshippers have their own vision of Kataragama, yet all agree he can do anything. At a time when other traditional gods were fading, more people were coming to Kataragama than ever in the past. After missing for m [...]

Some Women of Marrakech [electronic resource]

This film explores life for Muslim women in Marrakech through the perspectives of Aisha bint Muhammad and her friend Hajiba. Married to an unskilled labourer and with four children, Aisha works to help support the family, as they share a small courtyard home with six other families. Hajiba was thrown out of her natal home by the brother who became household head upon their father's death; now divorced, she works as a dancer, or shaykha, to support herself and her son. According to Muslim standards, she has dishonoured herself and her family, since dancers who entertain men for money are looked upon as women of easy virtue. The crew, comprised only of women, accompanied the women in their worship, at parties, and in preparation for a Muslim wedding. For both women, the ideal of seclus [...]

Asante Market Women [electronic resource]

The Kumasi Central Market in Ghana is alive with noise and color: the noise of women's voices raised in barter, the color of their clothes and the bright produce they trade. The few men to be seen are laborers and secretaries, as here women rule supreme. In the home it is a different matter. Heirs to a great warrior tradition, the Asante have a society based on polygamous marriage in which women are subservient to men in all things domestic. While it is a matrilineal society in that a man's wealth is passed onto his sister's children, inheritance traditions allow for a widow to be evicted by her husband's family, forcing her to work to support her own children. But things are changing slowly. Asante women's supremacy in the marketplace is based on the real need for economic independe [...]

Witchcraft Among the Azande [electronic resource]

There was a time when the Azande kings ruled from the tropical rain forests of the Congo to the pastures of southern Sudan. In 1980s Sudan, they live a life of obscurity, dominated by oracles and spells-though practicing Christians, they still believe in the power of magic. To an Azande, nothing happens by chance. A wife's illness, the failure of the hunt, or a spoiled crop are all believed to be the work of witches-a witch may not even be conscious of his or her powers, like the woman accused of causing her co-wife sickness merely through unfriendly thoughts. A couple stands accused of adultery; both deny the charge and agree to the chief's suggestion they be tried by Benge, a ritual poison fed to a chicken-whether the chicken lives or dies determines their guilt. When the Benge tri [...]

The Lau of Malaita [electronic resource]

In a spectacular South Pacific lagoon, the Lau have established an extraordinary way of life, safe from enemies and disease. This program looks at how the Lau are fighting to preserve this way of life in the face of the spread of Christianity and new ideas from the outside world. The beliefs and values which have shaped the Lau for hundreds of years, what they call the life of custom, is in retreat: conflict pervades daily life, creating division in families and eroding the knowledge of traditional life. Two custom priests commit what is considered ritual suicide, one by swimming under a canoe containing women and the other by deliberately making a mistake in a ceremony; within weeks, both priests have physically died.

Mongolia 1 [electronic resource]: On the Edge of the Gobi

Though Mongolia is as large as all of Western Europe, its population in the mid-1970s numbered a mere 1.5 million. This is the first of two films on Mongolia from Granada TV - the first-ever documentary unit allowed in from the West - that give a rare look at life in a land once deemed remote and inaccessible. On the Edge of the Gobi concentrates on the great plains of Mongolia, where the ancient skills of the Mongol horsemen live side by side with the modern methods of the socialist revolution that brought collective farming to the steppes. Features Owen Lattimore, then professor, Asian explorer, and leading Western authority on Mongolian affairs, as he accompanied the film crew.

The Mursi [electronic resource]: Nitha

For the first time in 30 years, the Nitha ceremony which gives adulthood to an entire generation is performed by the Mursi of southwestern Ethiopia, amid fears that this may be the last. The continuing attacks on the tribe by the Bume and other neighboring enemies using automatic weapons and the constant threat of drought and famine all undermine the existence of the Mursi.

Umbanda [electronic resource]: Disappearing World

This film looks at a powerful new religious movement gaining favor in the multiracial cities of Brazil. Umbanda combines elements from orthodox Catholicism with submerged African and indigenous Indian spiritual beliefs - as in dramatic trances, people believe themselves seized by the spirits of old plantation slaves, Amazon Indians, children, and mermaids. In spite of past attempts at suppression, Umbanda flourishes in the heterogeneous culture of contemporary urban Brazil. To reveal the eclectic repertoire of Umbanda, this film offers lengthy coverage of ritual performances, including interviews with mediums and their clients, which emphasize the role the movement plays in the management of personal malaise and affliction experienced as a by-product of change and urbanization.