Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Adam Curtis on the Yanomamo

Guinea Pigs Up The Creek by Adam Curtis

Adam Curtis is the documentary filmmaker behind series such as The Century Of The Self and The Power Of Nightmares. His methodology involves trawling through the BBC's film archives and pulling together threads in order to craft astonishing stories of our recent historical and political past. His style is polemical and the stories that emerge are often amazing.

His blog - The Medium And The Message - is a regularly updated outlet for things he stumbles across during his research, alongside Curtis' illuminating commentary.
The above linked article details the history of the various, ever-changing ways that the western media has portrayed the Yanomamo tribe; A remote tribe who live on the borders of Brazil and Venezuala, and apparently the inspiration for James Cameron's Na'vi people in the 2009 film Avatar. Each time they appear in the archive it seems they are used to illustrate a different western ideal about human nature and primitive civilisation, becoming a mirror for our anthropological fanatasies, utopian dreams and political ideals.