Culture Films at Penn Museum

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Special Performance Event

programs culture films BorneoArtForWeb

Borneo Odyssey: a re-presentation of a A Brief Report of a Journey up the Rejang River
Saturday, August 23 and Saturday, September 13, 2014
3:00 pm
Penn Museum
Free to the public

BORNEO ODYSSEY is an experimental performance with audience interaction based on the 1896-1898 Penn Museum expeditions to northern Borneo made by Furness, Harrison and Hiller. The Museum Archives collections are re-interpreted into performance with a talking orangutan, recounting tales of discovery.

The September performance is a Fringe Festival event and part of HAIKU: Humanities, the Arts and the Integrated Knowledge University

This performance was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Support also provided by PECO. This program is administered regionally by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

Local Color 2014-2015 | In association with the Penn Humanities Forum theme of Color

This season of culture films embrace the small pungent entities of culture which make our world vivid and spectacular.

Please note that the following films are premiers for Philadelphia and may not be seen in any other venue. Each program will last under 2 hours. Come and join the conversation!

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Kaker Kolkata [Crows of Calcutta] (2012) with Mecho Bazaar, (2013)
Dir. Rowena Potts & Baidehi Sengupta

Rowena Potts presents two films, one about the unique and often capered relationship between crows and people in Calcutta/Kolkata, in discussion with Bengali scholar Dr. Manjita Mukherjee, together with a short observational documentary exploring the daily rhythms and sensory dimensions of the Mecho fish market in Kolkata.

(Sponsors: South Asia Center, Cinema Studies, Penn Humanities Forum)


Day of the Dead (2010) with Tiempo de vals (2006)
Dir. A.L. Palos and R. Savage.

Renowned muralist and Mexican culture celebrant Cesar Viveros will present a short film about the glorious Zapotec Dia de muertos in Teotitlan del Valle, and a second film about the Quincenara as a right of passage in Tlaxcala.

(Sponsors: Latin American and Latino Studies, La Casa Latina, Cinema Studies, Penn Humanities Forum, Mexican Cultural Center)


Kyeremu Proverbs, (1996)
Dir. R. Lane Clark 

Lane Clark, who has been making films in the same coastal Ghanaian town for 30 years, will present his newly re-mastered film about Twi language proverbs and how they colorfully inform and instruct.

(Sponsors: Africa Center, Cinema Studies, Penn Humanities Forum, Provost’s Interdisciplinary Arts Fund)


In a State of Dress / Pront in 't Kleed (2010)
Dir. Heer. 

Kristina Hoagland, Philadelphia Museum of Art Textiles curator of costume and textiles, presents a film about the few remaining very old ladies in a small town in Holland who still painstakingly dress in their 16th century clothes as a matter of tradition; or perhaps habit.

(Sponsors: Cinema Studies, History of Art: University of Pennsylvania, University Museum Library, Penn Humanities Forum)


Stilt dancers of Long Bow Village (1980) & Guomen: A Village Wedding (2003)
Dir. C. Hinton & R. Gordon.

James Chan presents two films from the Long Bow Village group, one about the rebirth of stilt dancing in a small village in China, joyfully practiced by very young children and elders, the second about folkloric marriage customs returning to Huang Cun village.

(Sponsors: Cinema Studies, Penn East Asia Center, University Museum Library, Penn Humanities Forum)


Himself he cooks (2011)
Dir. V. Berteau & P. Witjes

Our speakers Dr. Amardeep Singh and Samian Kaur will give insight into this amazing film which depicts without words the entire symphonic performance of seva, a daily round the clock food offering at the Golden Temple in Amritsar in which meals are served to 100,000 people. Please stay after for our closing party with chaat snacks, bring a beverage to share.

(South Asia Center, University Museum Library, Cinema Studies, Penn Humanities Forum)


Archive of Second Sunday Culture Films

Local Color 2014-2015 is sponsored by the Penn Humanities Forum, Provost Arts Fund, Africa Center, South Asia Center, Center for East Asian Studies, Cinema Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, Mexican Cultural Center of Philadelphia, and La Casa Latina.


Live from the Archives

Penn Museum announces a new occasional series: Live from the Archives!

We are pleased to present our collaborations with filmmakers in re-working archival materials  of the Penn Museum in this documentary film series.


Venus Peregrine
The latest collaboration with a filmmaker involves a Fulbright project in India about Victorian era European female travelers, which she will contrast with current day internet consumption (virtual travel) by South Asian teen girls. The filmmaker, Courtney Stephens, currently researching in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), will be working with the Dixon and Tode collections for this film which is titled Venus Peregrine. Watch for this film in 2014-2015. 



To Hold the Heart
Personal narratives of three Hmong women living in the Milwaukee area, who describe their escape from Laos, this film was made as a tribute by a daughter of one of the ladies. The filmmaker, Pang Yang Her, is using 1957 footage by Watson Kintner of Laos. Look for a screening of this short film in 2014.



Footage from Passage to Polynesia was used in the upcoming French production Tiki-pop, a humorous look at the misappropriated material culture heritage of Polynesia, expressed in the oddball visual language of mid-century American pop culture. A hint: it’s an ethnographic film about us.



British filmmaker Dani O’Toole revisits with her grandmother her voyage from formerly British Guiana to England to become a nurse, in a trajectory between 1932 and 1960, with all of the difficulties of racism and culture shock, yet with her sense of humor intact.


Other Film Archives Projects

altMatto Grosso

In 1930 an odd assortment of scientist and adventurers struck out from New York for the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, with the stated purpose of creating the first documentary film to be made in the field with live sound recording equipment. This film, Matto Grosso, the Great Brazilian Wilderness, a 1931-style staged documentary [expeditionary film] which takes place in what we now think was the village of Pogubu C̨oreu, with the collaboration of the Sa̋o Lourenc̦o Bororo people.

altNavajo Film Themselves
In 1966, Sol Worth, John Adair and Richard Chalfen traveled to Pine Springs, Arizona, where they taught a group of Navajo students to make documentary films. Their students were Mike Anderson, Al Clah, Susie Benally, John Nelson, Mary Jane Tsosie and Maxine Tsosie and later Susie Benally's mother, Alta Kahn. This film series is known as the Navajo Film Themselves. This site is a digital visit to the notebooks and journals of Worth and Chalfen, primary source materials for research.


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