Black and white in color

Black and white in color

DVD - 2003 | French
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The sky above, the mud below: Long before PBS, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel made documentaries ubiquitous, films like this seminal if straightforward work were only available via local art house theaters. One of the earliest looks into native life on Papua New Guinea, this documentary follows a group of Europeans on a seven-month trek to bisect the island. During the perilous expedition (450 miles, as a crow flies) through jungle and across high altitudes, the group encounters tribes of headhunters and cannibals, observing and filming their rituals and ceremonies.
Black and white in color: A French colony in Africa's Ivory Coast discovers months after the fact that World War I has begun. Spurred on by a capricious patriotism, they figure they'll do their part by attacking the German colony up the river. After all, they have six rifles, and one of them is an automatic. So off to war they march -- or rather, their servants do, carrying the white folk on palanquins. They soon stop for a lovely picnic. When machine gun fire is heard in the distance, they run back to the safety of the colony. All goes well until a young geographer becomes the key strategist for the French, working with the local tribal chief and turning the old colonial social hierarchy on its head.

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