Lutu Chuktiwa: Cutting the Cord
This ethnographic film portrays the lutu chuktiwa (cutting the cord) ceremony of the Yoeme (Yaqui) Indians. In 2006, David Shorter joined a Yoeme family for their all-night ritual, which takes place one year after someone's death in order to release the family from mourning. Alongside indigenous dancing and Catholic prayers, mourners have a cord tied around their neck; then these cords are cut and burned the next morning. Shorter later took the footage to Yoeme communities in Arizona providing viewers handheld recorders. Their responses narrate the film, telling stories elicited by the images of the ceremony. The result is a visual experiment that replicates some of the confusion of culture contact and resists our desire to 'know everything' about another.