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Through a Lens Darkly

by Parminder Chuhan
Arranged chronologically and then alphabetically for each year. NOTE: the list is in progress. Above image is part of a series of pictures depicting Frances Densmore at the Smithsonian Institution in 1916 during a recording session with Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief for the Bureau of American Ethnology. ‘For now we see through a glass, darkly’. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV). A list that looks at how ethnography, ethnicity, race and anthropology have been represented (negatively and positively) on film. NOT INCLUDED: ‘Carry On’ films. Westerns. Nearly every Western would qualify for the list below, since they have represented Native Americans in… Read more

Arranged chronologically and then alphabetically for each year. NOTE: the list is in progress.

Above image is part of a series of pictures depicting Frances Densmore at the Smithsonian Institution in 1916 during a recording session with Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief for the Bureau of American Ethnology.

‘For now we see through a glass, darkly’. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV).

A list that looks at how ethnography, ethnicity, race and anthropology have been represented (negatively and positively) on film.

NOT INCLUDED:
‘Carry On’ films.

Westerns. Nearly every Western would qualify for the list below, since they have represented Native Americans in a ‘standard’ stereotype as violent, uncivilized villains, juxtaposed next to the archetypal hero, the virtuous, white Anglo-Saxon (even black) settler. Westerns included below are those that have represented Native Americans in the non-standard Western stereotype. Further reading:
Richard Berkhofer, The White Man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (New York: Random House, 1978).
Michael Hilger, From Savage to Nobleman: Images of Native Americans in Film (London: Scarecrow Press, 1995).
Ward Churchill, Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema, and the Colonization of the American Indians (San Francisco: City Light Books, 1998).
Jacquelyn Kilpatrick, Celluloid Indians: Native Americans in Film. (London: University of Nebraska Press, 1999).
Angela Aleiss, Making the White Man’s Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Movies (London: Praeger, 2005).
Michelle H. Raheja, Reservation Reelism: Redfacing, Visual Sovereignty, and Representations of Native Americans in Film (London: University of Nebraska Press, 2010).
See also https://mubi.com/films/rich-hall-s-inventing-the-indian

Bibliography:
Hernán Vera and Andrew M. Gordon, Screen Saviors: Hollywood Fictions of Whiteness (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003)
Matthew Hughey, The White Savior Film: Content, Critics, and Consumption (Temple University Press, 2014)

Not on MUBI:
Les magiciens de Wanzerbé (The Magicians of Wanzerbe) (1948, Jean Rouch)
Initiation a la danse des possédés (Initiation into Possession Dance) (1949, Jean Rouch)
La Circoncision (The Circumcision) (1949, Jean Rouch)

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