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American Death Rituals
In America, death rituals display a remarkable diversity and range from the minimalist to the extravagant. Chart the evolution of American funerals by looking at three major periods: the traditional (exemplified by Puritan burial rites), the modern (characterized by professionalization), and the post-modern (where loved ones play a more active…
Funeral Chants from the Georgian Caucasus
The villages of the Svaneti province are located in north-western Georgia, in the valleys that lie between the mountains of the Caucasus. The Svans represent about 1% of the Georgian population. Their language differs from the Georgian language, and their religion is a syncretism of Orthodox Christian faith and pre-Christian…
Horses of Life and Death
The Pasola, a traditional jousting battle with hundreds of horses and riders, is the Sumbanese New Year celebration, and also a ritual that anticipates the rice harvest. It is staged to welcome the annual swarming of sea worms on the western beaches, since the worms are seen as representing the…
Etruscan Burial and Mourning
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Mourning For Mangatopi
Because of work commitments and the influence of Christian Missions, traditional mourning ceremonies among the Tiwi people of Melville Island were becoming rare at the time of making this film (1974). The full, elaborate ceremony, called the Pukumani ceremony, lasted several days and involved large numbers of people in ritual…
Funeral Season
"We pray to our ancestors but we do not worship them. You, you need an intermediary, the priest. But for us, our intermediary is the ancestor who is sitting next to God," says Pounde, the old Cameroonian ethnologist, to the young Jewish director from Canada. And with this conclusive statement,…
Sermons and Sacred Pictures - Reverend L.O. Taylor, Baptist Minister
SERMONS AND SACRED PICTURES profiles Reverend L.O. Taylor, a Memphis-based Baptist minister who in the 1930s and 40s built a fiery reputation by lacing his sermons with parables, fables and dramatic visual descriptions. Taylor was also an inspired photographer and filmmaker with a keen interest in preserving a visual and…
Funeral Festivities
A Hugo Zemp Film. Among the Senufo people of northern Cote d'Ivoire, the balafon (xylophone with calabash resonators) is an emblematic musical instrument. This film shows balafon orchestras playing in five villages during the two principal days of funeral festivities, celebrations that include the most important rites, ceremonies and rejoicings…
African American/Black History Map Rap
Part of the Series: U.S. History Series
"Highly Recommended. This effort by two educators, Howard Shelf II and Phil Garcia, commemorates black history and refocuses the positives in the rap genre." -National Media Review Howard Shelf II and Phil Garcia are two talented educators and musicians who combine their talents to offer viewers an uplifting introduction to…
A Nation of Drunkards
Part of the Series: Prohibition
Americans have argued over alcohol for centuries. Since the early years of the American Republic, drinking has been at least as American as apple pie. As Episode 1: A Nation of Drunkards begins, clergymen, craftsmen and canal-diggers drink. So do the crowds of men who turn out for barn-raisings and…
Romanticism - The Revolt of the Spirit
Nineteenth-century Romanticism--with its escape from an increasingly complex and industrialized world to the simplicity and purity of nature--is experienced through the literature of Hugo, Bronte, Shelley and Byron. In a scene from Les Miserables, Victor Hugo sees society as the force that makes men evil. Attitudes toward passions are typified…