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1 October 1963 (USA)  »

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Tote Vögel  »

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Brilliant ethnography recently released on DVD
12 September 2004 | by (Union City, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Dead Birds is an informative and affecting ethnographic film that records the culture of the Dani people of New Guinea. The most striking characteristic of this group is a highly ritualized warfare. Daily life is depicted with great empathy. The scenes of the children emulating their elder's ways are particularly memorable. This film was a favorite of my elementary school class in the late 60's, and I searched for a copy for years. It has recently been released on DVD (with extra footage) by Documentary Education Resources in Massachusetts. This film should be seen by anyone who enjoyed 'Nanook of the North'. The same debates about "real" vs. "staged" events exist about both films. Both have been selected to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Both depict cultures that have been altered permanently by contact with the outside world (during and after the filming).


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