A university professor is paid to find the last undiscovered tribe of New Guinea. When he fails to find the tribe, he comes home, and rather than admitting that he's failed, he gives a lecture about the Shelmikedmu tribe (named after his children: Shelly, Mike, and Edmund) and then has his family dress like "Shelmikedmus," so that he can film them as proof of his discovery. Written by
Daniel Aubrey White <email@example.com>
The name "Krippendorf" comes from Klaus Krippendorf, a renowned communications scholar best known for his work on the role of communication in social construction and design. The movie is based on a novel by Frank Parkin, who was himself a highly-regarded sociologist. See more »
"Krippendorf's Tribe" (1998) stars Richard Dreyfuss as the titular grieving anthropologist who is compelled to hoax an isolated tribe still living in the Stone Age. Jenna Elfman plays his assistant, Natasha Lyonne his daughter, Stephen Root his boss and Lily Tomlin his rival.
As my title blurb says, this movie spoofs Academia and the Tasaday hoax. If you're not familiar with the latter, a supposedly isolated tribe still living in the Stone Age was "discovered" on the Philippine island of Mindanao and prominently featured in a 1972 issue of National Geographic. In 1986 it was discovered that the Tasaday were simply members of known local tribes who put on the appearance of living a Stone Age lifestyle under pressure from Manuel Elizalde.
The movie's silly and fun, but not laugh-out-loud funny, although there are a handful of mild laughs. That said, humor's a personal thing, which explains why some people find this movie funny. I don't, but it's likable and quietly amusing. If you're a fan of Dreyfuss and Elfman it's a must.
The film runs 94 minutes and was shot in the Los Angeles area and Ka'a'awa, O'ahu, Hawaii.
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