Dennis O’Rourke Tribute


In celebration of the life of the late Dennis O'Rourke (1945-2013) and his critical contributions to the field of cultural storytelling and anthropology, the 2013 Mead Film Festival presents a tribute screening of O’Rourke’s classic "Cannibal Tours" preceded by the U.S. premiere of Framing the Other, a film with contemporary echoes of O’Rourke’s seminal work. The program will feature an opportunity to discuss O’Rourke’s legacy and the continuing issues around cultural tourism.

"Cannibal Tours"
Dennis O'Rourke
1988 | 70 minutes | Australia, Papua New Guinea

When tourists journey to the furthermost reaches of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea, is it the indigenous tribespeople or the white visitors who are the oddity? "Cannibal Tours" explores the differences, and the surprising similarities, that emerge when "civilized" and "primitive" people meet. Originally released in 1988 to much acclaim and controversy, the film remains an ageless and timeless meditation on cultural tourism. It is a pointed look at a strange phenomenon, set on a luxury cruise with a twist. Chock-full of dry humor and acute observations, "Cannibal Tours" is out to explode cultural assumptions.

Framing the Other
Ilja Kok and Willem Timmers
2011 | 25 minutes | Netherlands, Ethiopia
U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance

The women of the Mursi tribe of southern Ethiopia wear lip plates and vibrant jewelry, a custom that has spawned a lively tourist trade as Western visitors pay to take photographs—the more embellished the adornment, the higher the price. This humorous and sometimes uncomfortable film follows a tour group visit to the Mursi, raising provocative questions about authenticity and the motivations and economics of “cultural tourism.”

This screening will be introduced with comments by Faye Ginsburg, Anthropology; Graduate Program in Culture and Media, New York University, and Pegi Vail, Center for Media, Culture and History, New York University.

Co-presented by Anthology Film Archives