Anthropology Through Film

Movies and Documentaries are excellent vehicles for studying anthropology, and the use of film to study humanity has greatly increased with the rise in technology. By helping people visualize events, films can provide new perspectives on the culture and lifestyle of people. Contrary to written publications, films tend to be more captivating towards audiences and can be integral in understanding anthropology. Films allow anthropologists to capture what words cannot and to portray their findings in clear manner that can be comprehended by lay people. Additionally, films provide anthropologists to extend their findings to greater populations and foster visualization of anthropological findings. Anthropologists generally strive to maintain verity in their works, and this is augmented by the Rules for Film Documentation in Ethnology and Folklore that ensure authenticity. Through film, anthropologists have been able to relay further understanding of different cultures and societies since it allows people to study and analyze human life as it freely and naturally occurs. It is more open and inclusive than literary works, leaving the audience to their own interpretation. Overall, film is an effective way to impart elements of culture in a clear, widespread, and objective manner.

Here are some examples anthropological documentaries that are educational and interesting:

Arctic– Bruce Parry visits native and modern people who live under Arctic conditions in Siberia, Greenland, Alaska, Canada, Nordic Russia, Norwegian Lapland and Spitzbergen. He shares for one summer and considers the locals’ natural hardship, economic and conservation prospects, including the effects of modernization and global warming.

My Year with the Tribe- Explorer and writer Will Millard visits the Korowai tribe in Papua over the course of a year, in an attempt to understand the pressures they face adapting to a modern world they have only come into contract with within the last 40 years.

Amazon Souls- British Explorer, Sarah Begum follows her childhood dream at the age of 21, travelling deep into the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest to live with the legendary Huaorani tribe and immerse in their ancient way of life. Sarah hunts and gathers with warriors, captures their stories and struggles whilst investigating into the impacts of modernity on their culture. Through a defining challenge, she becomes one of the tribe to send their message about protecting their land from exploitation.

Human- A collection of stories about and images of our world, offering an immersion to the core of what it means to be human

Bush League- A character driven ethnographic survey of a tiny village in Northern Malawi. Intimate dramas unfold in the lives of four villagers who are all members of the local soccer team.

Babies- A look at one year in the life of four babies from around the word, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo.

Documentary Source-


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: