Dead Birds (1963; 84 min) by Robert Gardner
Shot by Robert Gardener in 1963 as part of the Harvard-Peabody Expedition, the film explores the lives of the Dani peoples of West New Guinea. Through an exploration the lives of Weyak, a farmer and warrior, and Pua, a young swineherd, the film illuminates many aspects of Dani life.
Listed on the US National Film Registry, distributed by Documentary Educational Resource and archived in the Harvard Film Archives. Gardner was the recipient of the Smithsonian Institution’s James Smithson Bicentennial Medal in 2013.
This is the fourth screening in the fall session of the bi-annual Recovering Voices Ethnographic Film Series
Founded in 1975, the National Anthropological Film Collection (NAFC) forms part of the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives (NAA), and is devoted to preserving, documenting, and providing access to anthropological moving image materials. The NAFC collections are a unique repository for anthropological films and video that document cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as the history of ethnographic filmmaking and related amateur expeditionary and travel filmmaking in the 20th century. Drawing on NAFC’s extensive archival film collection we will be screening the following historic ethnographic films, and will have time for discussion following each film.