Friday, September 9, 2011

World in Film

The World in Film Blogathon is an event in which the goal is to list seven films representing the seven continents of the world, hosted by the site The Great Movie project. For a complete list of the participating blogs, visit the host site.

I decided to put a twist on this idea, since naming seven movies from seven continents would be a little too easy. Six of my seven movies feature indigenous people in some fashion. The seventh is Antarctica, and honestly, how many people do you know who were born there?

North America
Atanarjuat AKA The Fast Runner
I actually saw this when it came out and was deeply moved by it. This is a tale of Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic area (so this might be a little bit of a cheat). The Inuit have been more commonly known for years as Eskimos, but don't call them that because they don't like it. They hunt native animals like whales, polar bears and seals, they get around on kayaks and dog sleds, and use mostly animal skins, driftwood and bones to make things.

South America
At Play in the Fields of the Lord

Never saw this one, but it's set in the Amazon rainforest and revolves around a fictitious tribe of natives and the white missionaries there to convert them. One real tribe that resides in the rainforest, however, is the Awa, or Guaja. In the 19th century, they became nomads in order to escape Europeans who cleared their lands. In 1982 the Brazilian government took out a loan from the World Bank and the EU to set aside land for them, but they wouldn't get around to doing it until 2003.

The Gods Must Be Crazy
The natives in this comedy are Kalahari Bushmen, also known as the San. The Dave Matthews Band recorded a song inspired by the music of the San called "Eh Hee." Listen to Matthews describe his meeting with the San and then hear the song itself, which is pretty kick-ass.

Okay, I don't know much about this one, but IMDB says it takes place in the Basque part of Spain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Basque are one of Europe's oldest indigenous races. The film begins around the period of the Carlist Wars, a series of civil wars within Spain in which the Basques supported Carlos V and his heirs.

The Tartars
This Orson Welles flick sounds like it's about the Volga Tartars (or Tatars),  to be more specific. Tartars started out living in the northeast Gobi Desert, until they moved south in the ninth century, and west later on. Many inhabited Europe as well as Russia. Fun fact: Charles Bronson is of Tartar ancestry!

David Gulpilil's Aboriginal character in this film is probably Yolngu, since Gulpilil himself is of that group. Why do Aussie Aboriginal males do a walkabout? It's a rite of passage meant to re-connect them with their ancestors and the things they did. Gulpilil got the part in the film due to his great skill as a tribal dancer, which got the attention of director Nicolas Roeg. He went on to become a star in his country, appearing in a number of other films, including Baz Luhrmann's recent Australia.

Happy Feet
Well, they are native to Antarctica.


  1. Nice take on the theme! I really have to check out WALKABOUT, I've heard many good things and I like David Gulpilil.

  2. Wow, have to admit I've only seen .. Happy Feet. Just Happy Feet.

    Atanarjuat seems interesting though!

  3. I only saw 'Walkabout' once and that was years ago, so I don't remember too much about it, but I thought it was okay. 'Atanarjuat' is three hours long but well worth it.


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