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Rutgers's Restoration Work

April 19th, 2008 (10:56 am)

From AMS: Rutgers University has recently restored photographer Edward Curtis's 1914 film In the Land of the Head Hunters, an ethnographic "study" of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) Native American communities in British Columbia. This is reputedly the first such movie, predating Nanook of the North by several years.

The story, supposedly one of life among the "noble savages" before Europeans appeared, is false; but the look at the tribe, using nonprofessional native actors, combined with some impressive technical innovations, points to the tribe's tradition of ceremonial presentation (sounds almost like showmanship) captured at a time when "narrative cinema" was very popular in the States.

For more information, plus a schedule of showings around the US, see the restoration website.