1991, Total Running Time: 804 Minutes. 17 Parts.
A detailed record of the first stage male initiation ceremony of the Baruya of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. A group of nine to 12 year old boys are followed through their first initiation - from the last days with their families through their nose-piercing and other rituals and ordeals to the final feast given in their honour. It is a tough time, the beginning of a ten-year journey to warrior and manhood.
With great ritual and care their noses are pierced; they take up residence in the initiation house, high on a kunai grass ridge they are laboriously dressed with the insignia of a Muka; in the spiritually powerful forests they undergo ordeals; they are continually lectured on their new status and its responsibilities.
The boys’ initiators are tough yet caring. Mothers bring food to the outer fence of the initiation house compound, hoping to catch a glimpse of their lost sons.
It is hoped Baruya Muka Archival will provide an enduring record, not least for the Baruya themselves, and a rich resource for further research. It has the potential for use (preferably in whole, but also in part) in innovatory education at an undergraduate level - an antidote to the pre-digested, easy-to-view product so often used today.
This material provides fertile ground for a thousand projects - on ritual, religion, initiation, male/female relations, youth, song, dance, decoration, gastronomy, gardening, land use, the tyranny of the ethnographic camera and much more.
This was the first full Muka ceremony to be held for many years. Through it Chuwanandaya Chacha, the leader of this muka, and his colleagues, have permitted us a privileged and unusually detailed look into the ritual life of another society.
NB At the request of the Baruya, Baruya Muka Archival is not available in, and must not enter Papua New Guinea. It is available for study purposes throughout the rest of the world.
A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Producer/Director: Ian Dunlop
Cinematographer: Dean Semler
Featured People: (Anthropologist) Maurice Godelier; (Linguist) Richard Lloyd; (Documentation) Chuwanandaye, Ganjakwe, Nyilawunje, Yuwendana, Yariwoimaye, Lecharawiye, Kimayin (Kumain).
Total Running Time: 804 Minutes
Classification: Exempt from classification
Curriculum Links: Social and Cultural Anthropology; Film Studies - Ethnographic Filmmaking; Cultural Studies; Pacific Studies; Religion.