Documentary Intertext: Robert Gardner’s Dead Birds 1964

  • Daniel White


This chapter argues that the rituals of warfare detailed in Robert Gardner’s film study of the Dugum Dani people offer a picture of cyclical human conflict kept in restraint, however chronically painful it might be to the participants, by corrective rituals. It further raises the problems faced by documentary filmmakers who would reconstruct the lives of people to present a coherent picture of societies long gone. The social, political, scientific, and artistic dimensions of film’s epistemology are highlighted, while the wider significance of ethnographic cinema, whatever its shortcomings, is considered in light of the expanded scope of human conflict in the Anthropocene.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel White
    • 1
  1. 1.Honors CollegeFlorida Atlantic UniversityJupiterUSA

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