In what ways does ethnographic film differ from documentary, as far as you can tell?

1. Given our first film viewings and the readings, what is ethnographic film?
2. In what ways does ethnographic film differ from documentary, as far as you can tell?
3. What formal qualities structure these films? What do they have in common?
4. How do the filmmakers use or manipulate their subjects into illustrating points? What are these points?
5. What did you learn about various cultures? Do the filmmakers engage in analysis themselves, or merely illustration?
7. What is the white or colonialist gaze? How does it function here?
8. What is the primitive other? How does it function here?
some specific questions from the Fatimah Tobing Rony readings
Rony – The Photogenic Cannot Be Tamed
1. How does Rony answer this question:
“Why is it that nobody in the room asks about the possibility that the Balinese men and women in the film are indeed inhabited by spirits or gods?”(6)
2. How does Rony answer this question:
“What is the process of conversion of a spiritual act such as trance into what Mead and Bateson saw as the objective recording of reality of the photograph or film?” (7)
3. How does Rony answer this question:
“In the historiography of conversion, the Native is often seen as the subjugated Silenced one, and the European, who leaves behind his autobiographies, books, photographs, films, etc. is the Voice. Here I would like to ask: is there any possibility of moving beyond this divide to hear the voices that are not being heard?” (7)
Rony – Taxidermy and Romantic Ethnography
4. Look up the term “ethnofiction.” In what ways is Flaherty’s Nanook of the North an ethnofiction, according to Rony? How does this tie into Rony’s concept of Taxidermy and Romantic Ethnography? (p. 122)
5. How does “authenticity” function in the creation of Nanook as a classic, celebrated film? (121)
6. What is the “taxidermic” (“a hunt for images”) quality in Nanook, according to Rony? (100)
Simba, King of the Beasts
7. How is Simba an ethnofiction? Check out the reading by Groo – what does she say the film’s relationship is to the archive or “bad cinema”? How does this film differ from the others (travelogue vs. ethnography)
8. Think about the contemporary usage of “Moana” and “Simba” in Disney films. How do they relate or better, refract the classic films’ imagery and themes?
9. This film focuses on non-human animals. What is the role of non-human animals in these films? What about humans?