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"Primitive Peoples of Matto Grosso: The Xingu" 1941


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Time: 15:51  

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Film Description: We apologize for offense that may be taken by the original title and the narration track

Credits
Narration - Lowell Thomas
Camera, Floyd Crosby
Editor, Ted Nemeth
Writer, Vincenzo Petrullo (uncredited)

This film was re-edited from footage taken in the 1931 in Mato Grosso Brazil, as a part of the Matto Grosso Expedition. The cameraman was Floyd Crosby. The film Matto Grosso, the Great Brazilian Wilderness (1931) is likely the first documentary film shot with sync sound in the field, and certainly the first film released that depicted indigenous people speaking in their own language.
In 1941, again with the financial support of E.R. Fenimore Johnson, the University Museum hired Ted Nemeth, an independent producer, to re-cut some of the raw and unused footage and some of the footage used in the first film together with a new narration recorded by Lowell Thomas, the famous radio announcer and film producer, to create this new film. None of the original sync sound dialogue was used, it was replaced with the narration track. Remarkably, this later film, though using much of the same footage, gives a culturally biased, prejudiced and ethnocentric misinterpretation of Bororo culture, much more so than in the earlier film. We have recently found the script for the film and have no doubt that it was written by Vincenzo Petrullo, an anthropologist who was at the time still associated with the Museum and had gone on the original expedition. Petrullo's unpublished manuscript on the expedition is likewise full of his own bigoted views and reflects serious misunderstandings and mistakes throughout. Researchers and others wanting to see the original Matto Grosso (1931) film can contact the Museum at the email address provided below.
Recent notes from researcher Emilienne Ireland has given more depth to identification of people in this film. She suggests a truer title would be something like: "Primitive people of Matto Grosso: Kuliseu and Kuluene region, recorded 1931, re-edited 1941”
Here are her in depth notes;
In Herbert Baldus’ bibliography (Bibliografia Crítica da Etnologia Brasileira » Bibliografia Crítica da Etnologia Brasileira, Volume I (Baldus 1954)), the author states, "In 1931 the author visited the Bororo of Campanha (Western Bororo) and the Eastern Bororo of the São Lourenço valley, as well as the following tribes from the Kuliseu and Kuluene region: Bakairi, Anahukuá, Mehinaku, Aurá (Vaurá), Trumaí, Iaualapiti, Kamayula (Kamaiurá), Tsuva, Kuikutl (Cuicuru), Kalapalu and Naravute. This report contains only slight notes on these Indians."

So it appears that this film, based on the map at 1:08 and the images of the Indigenous people throughout, appears to show only Upper Xingu people (located in the Kuliseu and Kuluene region)

This film was re-edited from footage taken in the 1931 in Mato Grosso Brazil, as a part of the Matto Grosso Expedition. The cameraman was Floyd Crosby. The film "Matto Grosso, the Great Brazilian Wilderness" (1931) is likely the first documentary film shot with sync sound in the field, and certainly the first film released that depicted indigenous people speaking in their own language.
In 1941, again with the financial support of E.R. Fenimore Johnson, the University Museum hired Ted Nemeth, an independent producer, to recut some of the raw and unused footage and some of the footage used in the first film together with a new narration recorded by Lowell Thomas, the famous radio announcer and film producer, to create this new film. Very little of the sync sound dialogue was used. Remarkably, this later film, though using much of the same footage, gives a culturally biased, prejudiced and ethnocentric misinterpretation of Bororo culture, much more so than in the earlier film. We have recently found the script for the film and have no doubt that it was written by Vincenzo Petrullo, an anthropologist who was at the time still associated with the Museum and had gone on the original expedition. Petrullo's unpublished manuscript on the expedition is likewise full of his own bigoted views and reflects serious misunderstandings and mistakes throughout. Researchers and others wanting to see the original Matto Grosso (1931) film can contact the Museum at the email address provided here: photos@pennmuseum.org
Video Category:Produced Film
Topics:
Tags: Kalapalo | Mato Grosso | Matto Grosso Expedition | Naruvute | Xingu | Xingu people | Yawalipiti


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