Tuesday, June 7 - SESSION 2:
Ethnographic film in archives, film as ethnographic memory, documentary aspects of ethnographic film, film as a picture of everyday life ...

Chaired by Beate Engelbrecht
IWF – Knowledge&Media, Göttingen

09.00 am
Alojzij Trsan
Slovene film Archives at the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana
Ethnographic films in Slovenian Film Archive
In the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia/Slovenian Film Archive, founded in 1968, we preserve, among other Slovenian films, also masterpieces of ethnological film. For a general knowledge about Slovenians' way of life in the 20th century are important, besides those films, also other works, not only strictly expert films. That is why we pay special attention to expert cataloguing. By means of short synopses and entries in computerised form (from place-name, personal name to subject entries), that enables users to be informed in a quick and detailed way about the topic they are looking for. At the forthcoming Congress I will present also the film Laundresses from Bizovik (Bizovi{ke perice), a classical film about laundresses from a village near Ljubljana, which shows, through work, the contacts between city population and the inhabitants of surrounding areas in the period before washing machines were introduced to the general public.

Susana Torrado Morales
University of Navarra, Pamplona
Film bibliography as a documentary source for researching on primitive cinema. The foundation of Basque cinema as an example
In short, it could be said that the object of Ethnography focuses on a thorough research on races and populations. A primitive population as Basque people has been captured (anthropologically talking) in most of arts, and then, also on the screen. As it happens in many other places, first Basque films reflected a lot of documentary aspects of regional life. This means that they have acquired a peerless ethnographical prominence after a century. Such old and unknown behaves and habits as these from Basque Country could be not only relived but also, actually revived in movies.
Film archives have had an essential role in keeping and preserving these rare movies. But it should be underlined, too, the importance of film historians in etching these films in Basque memory, because most of these movies had been voluntarily or involuntarily forgotten. Film historians' research has turned into several bibliographic documents, such as monographs and specific articles.
The goal of this paper is to provide a summarized analysis of this bibliography, in order to facilitate future researches and the knowledge of the original Basque cinema. Perhaps because of its ethnographic richness, the most researched age of Basque cinema corresponds with several attempts before the arriving of silent films. That is, during the film Prehistory. Basque film historians such as Madariaga, Letamendi y Seguin studied in the Nineties the traces left by another expert on primitive cinema, Crovetto.
This paper will chronologically analyse these bibliographic sources - monographs and specific articles - in order to demonstrate the relevance of Bibliography in rescuing a fragile ethnographic memory, such as Basque's, and popularising it.

Nadja Valentincic
Slovenski etnografski muzej / Slovene ethnographic museum, Ljubljana
Department for ethnographic film in the Slovene ethnographic museum
In the Slovene Ethnographic Museum we have established Department for Ethnographic film in 2000. It incorporates also studio with (digital) recording and editing equipment, therefore we are relatively independent for the basic production. Department for ethnographic film deals with the field of the audiovisual in the museum, which can be divided into three complexes: the first includes production of visual documentation and ethnographic films, as well as acquiring audiovisual units of external production, the second archiving, documenting and researching of audiovisual units, and the last assuring the accessibility of audiovisual units and data on them. The paper focuses on our strategies and difficulties in documenting and archiving of audiovisual records on different carriers. One of urgent tasks is digitalisation of the audiovisual records on formats that are rapidly decreasing in quality (Hi8 for example). It treats also the accessibility of the audiovisuals to different groups of users: to museum curators, to individual external inquirers, to the museum visitors, and to general public.

Discussion, comments, questions.


11.00 am
Jari Sedergren

Finnish Film Archive, Helsinki
Programmes of ethnographic films in Finland from 1930's to 1960's
After pioneer work of Sakari Pälsi, who worked among Siberian tsukhtsies in 1912–14 with film camera, an organised programme of ethnographic filming in Finland started by the Kansatieteellinen Filmi in 1935. The founders, dr Kustaa Vilkuna and photographer Eino Mäkinen, came to a conclusion that action needed to be taken to preserve and document the traditions of people's everyday life. Vilkuna and Mäkinen depicted Finnishness and its "peasant virtues" – organised collective work, efficient co-operative business, combined with the functional beauty of practical everyday artefacts; the result was an image of a peaceful, organized, civilized, and competitive, all in all, a fair Finnish citizen.
Because of the II world war and the propagandist use of ethnographic film, the filming programme was restarted only in the beginning of the 1950s: many of Vilkuna's and Mäkinen's old texts and photos were visualized as films along with the new subjects spawned by the modernist change of agricultural society. Films of 1930's and 40's are an interesting combination of an ideology of expanding Finnishness, the 1930s notion of a "Greater-Finland" and an enlightened understanding of the differences between nations, including Same people and Carelians.

Melisia Shinners and Dennis Maake
South African National Film, Video and Sound Archive, Pretoria
The use of ethnographic film as archive footage
The life and custom of the tribe inhabiting Venda land are depicted; the witchdoctors play an important role in the life of the Bavenda's. The Python dance performed by the young girls of the tribe. A short sequence of another tribe the Shangaans is included in the film.
However I want to emphasize the sequence that in my opinion was used to justify that the people enjoyed living a life of struggling to survive. A quote some of the commentary: "The Bavenda depends on agriculture for their food, cattle being kept for more or less as a sign of wealth. Both men and women work on the land… The staple diet is maize or mielies as it's known in South Africa. The mielie has always been and still remain their chief item of diet… Mielie meal porridge provides the Venda with 80% of their food. Very occasionally they eat meat and are one of the few African tribes that eat vegetables… There is a sequence where the homemade beer is stated as "beer is a sign of the Venda's hospitality…The home life of the Venda is indeed governed by custom".
Through these documentaries they justified how the masses were living. Culture is important but it is wrong when peoples Culture is used to justify inhumane policies.

Luisa Comencini
Fondazione Cineteca Italiana, Milano
Ethnographic documents hold by Fondazione Cineteca Italiana, Milano
Within the frame of our long lasting cooperation with Regione Lombardia (the local authority governing the territory of Lombardy, the Milan region), the Fondazione Cineteca Italiana has recently downloaded onto digital support more than 40 ethnographic documentaries of the Seventies, property of the Archivio di Etnografia e Storia Sociale (Ethnograpy and Social History Archive) of the Regione Lombardia. At the end of this work, copies of the films are kept in the Cineteca archive.
The Archivio di Etnografia has been carrying out for some time now a wide project of ethnographic search on the Lombardy territory, focusing its work on the topic of the 'lost trades', namely those handicraft activities, which in some cases are actual forms of art, that are being cancelled by the 'progress' and by modern technology, though still surviving in some parts, mostly the country ones, of our region.
One of the best known directors of some of these films (having the average duration of 30-40 minutes each) is Bruno Pianta (Treviso, 1943), author of a number of essays and documentaries, who managed the Ufficio Cultura del mondo popolare (Office for the Folk Culture) of Regione Lombardia from 1972 until 2002, and was former assistant of Roberto Leydi (outstanding Italian expert of ethnic music) and member of the staff at the Istituto Ernesto De Martino (Milan). To give an example of what we are speaking about, we would mention the following films: I BATTITORI (B. Pianta, 1978), I CANTASTORIE (B. Pianta, 1978) and I MADONNARI (Renzo Martinelli, 1979).

Discussion, comments, questions.



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