I had an interesting experience while trying to come up with this film. First of all, I didn’t know what I was going to do my film on. I wish that I could have used a better subject than myself. But, knowing the time frame, and my shyness, I ended up turning the cameras around and showing myself in a married lifestyle.
We discussed in class about how anthropological films are a look at a person’s culture through the eyes of the lens. As an example (two examples actually), we watched Cannibal Tours and The Ax Fight. The style I was going for reflects more the style of The Ax Fight, though, nothing truly eventful happens. I was mimicking the long takes, and the candidness of the moment. We could also use Nanook of the North as a great example. Sure, a lot of the film is made from a recreation of actual events, but those events probably happened in real life giving us a look into someone else’s culture.
I Googled the definition of anthropology, the result was this; “The science of human beings; especially; the study of human beings and their ancestors through time and space and in relation to physical character, environmental and social relations and culture.” (Merriam-websters.com) Now the question is posed, what does a video of me and my wife have to do with this?
I once took a class that studied performances of everyone and why people react the way that they do. The class was called “Performance Studies”. I learned a lot from the class about how and why people react to different situations. We talked about “play” which was a term that was used by Bill Nichols in his guest lecture. We talked about gender identity. Well, I present to you today the study of self in his own environment and his relations to his wife.
The Interpretations Of Cultures By Clifford Geertz further elaborates that anthropology “does not explain everything, not even everything human, but it still explains something; and our attention shifts to isolating just what that something is.” (Geertz) This meaning that every film that we watch doesn’t have to show us everything about a culture, just a piece of what it is.
I also don’t know if there are any rules to filming oneself. The last time we saw something in first person it was the movie Sherman’s March. I don’t think I would call that an anthropological film because it didn’t really give us the culture of the society. Then again, mine probably didn’t either, and neither did I feel that The Ax Fight portrayed. In fact, all of them are really one moment.
I think that this film isn’t an observational because of my perception of first person from the movie Sherman’s March. Though, both movies probably fit into the anthropological mode well. I think that the movie is anthropological because of what each character wants, which shows their culture, ultimately.
Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2016. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropology>.
Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic, 1973. Print.
Cannibal Tours. A Film by Dennis O’Rourke Production in Association with the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, 1988. DVD.
The Ax Fight. Documentary Educational Resources, 1975. DVD.
Nanook of the North. Released by Contemporary Films/McGraw-Hill, 1968.
Sherman’s March. By Ross McElwee. First Run Features, 1986.