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Ethnographic Film and Post Colonial Discourse - Essay Example

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Ethnographic Film and Post Colonial Discourse

Hybridity is given as antidote to essentialism, or "the belief in invariable and fixed properties which define the 'whatness' of a given entity"3. This kind of mutation modifies the established pattern with a 'mutual and mutable' representation of cultural difference that is considered in-between the colonizer and colonized.
4) Arif Dirlik, who developed Said's theory of Orintalism, proposes one more point of view. Dirlik suggested that the Orientals are striving to protect themselves by the shield of Orientalism; however living in the globalized world, they do not break ancestral traditions and rules.
Most of ethnographic films represent postcolonial discourse in different meanings, but the 'red line' of such films is approximately the same: problem of an individual who has to acculturate and accept an unfamiliar outlook. More and more cinema festivals are dedicated exactly to ethnographic films, more and more film directors got interested in this topic from the time of inventing motion pictures up to nowadays. In this essay it is necessary to mention such masterpieces as "Act of War - The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation", "Nanook of the North", "First contact" and "The River" (Reka).
"Act of War -
"Act of War - The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation" (1993, made by Punipau and Joan Lander). In 1778, when the British traveler Captain James Cook and his crew landed at Hawaii, they were surprised to find hard-working people and a highly developed civilization. At the same time, for the Native Hawaiians, this first contact with Europeans caused a lot of events that completely derived them of their independence and culture. This provocative documentary chronicle included photographs and commentaries and re-produced the period of American annexation of Hawaii in 1898. The struggle of authentic Hawaiians against social, political and cultural invasion was vividly shown in this film.
"Nanook of the North" was created by legendary Robert Flaherty in 1921, is possibly one of the best known of the silent era documentaries. Flaherty had undertaken a long voyage to the sub-Arctic eastern coast of Hudson Bay during which he filmed the landscape and filmed Eskimo communities. Flaherty's intention was to make a film collaborating with the local inhabitants. Also he discovered problematic side of the Inuit community as some kind of "eternal", noble race that lives in total isolation and is resistant to westernization. Flaherty perfectly re-created an Eskimo culture: the main character's everyday life including hunting seal, fishing, building igloo was caught by Flaherty's camera. The directors shares his incredible respect to a culture that has learned to not just survive but flourish in such a severe environment. The main theme of film can be formulated as following: "humanity against the nature, but human is the nature". Problem westernization ...Show more

Summary

1) The postcolonial discourse is that "the silent other has to re-claim its lost voice/identity since the other is always feminized and voiceless in the colonial discourse"1. The colonizers constitute their identities.
3) Another outstanding critic Homi Bhabha was more interested in "hybridity", "mimicry", "in-between-ness", and "Third Space"…
Author : mherman
Ethnographic Film and Post Colonial Discourse essay example
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