Traditional Northern communities in ethnographic film: Khanty. The case of the documentary film Tiny Katerina

Ivan Golovnev, Elena Golovneva

Abstract


This article investigates the representation of traditional culture
in ethnographic films among the indigenous peoples of the Russian North.
The special attention is paid to childhood in traditional culture of Khanty
peoples in Ugra. The article focuses on the documentary film Malen’kaia
Katerina (Tiny Katerina; Ivan Golovnev 2004), which depicts the childhood
of a Khanty girl in northwestern Siberia over the course of three years.
Authors analyze the child’s relation to nature, adulthood, and the development
of gender identity. The article looks into the cinematographic techniques used
for the film creation and major episodes of the film such as “a child`s role
in Khanty culture”, “play”, ‘the adult world”. Also explored are objective
and subjective conditions in which the cinematographic image is created,
with a special emphasis being put on studying filmmaker's (director's) role
in film production. The conclusion drawn is that, on the one hand, the
ethnographic film is a valuable contribution to Anthropology that adds to
the corpus of documents on traditional culture of the indigenous peoples
of the Russian North. On the other hand, the film contains evidence of
scientific criticism and allows one to explore cinematographic material from
anthropological, historical, and psychological positions. Authors came to
conclusion that ethnographic cinema can be seen as promising research
methodology in the field of contemporary anthropology. This essay re-
elaborates and enriches some of the themes already present in a previous
contribution The Representation of Childhood in Ethnographic Films of
Siberian Indigenous Peoples: The Case of the Documentary Film Malen’kaia
Katerina (Tiny Katerina) [Golovnev I., Golovneva E. 2016, 83-106].


Keyword


Adulthood, ethnographic film, ethnography of childhood, Khanty, northwestern Siberia, traditional culture, visual methods.

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