The Asmat of New Guinea: a case study in religion and magic

United States, 1983

Film
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Episode number 20 of Series “Faces of culture”.
Creation legends enable cultures to grasp the ungraspable. In the creation legends of the jungle tribe of the Asmat in south central New Guinea, the universe spilled from the decapitated body of a great spirit. Hence head-hunting and cannibalism became central to their religion, as did the appeasement of spirits who inhabited the trees. Rituals such as these gave the Asmat a sense of control over the unpredictable, but in the modern world, where cannibalism and vengeance is not allowed, their rituals cannot be properly completed, leaving a sense of anxiety, which finds its expression in tobacco addiction and social alienation.

Credits

director

Harry Ratner

producer

Ira R. Abrams

production company

Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Coast Community College District

Language

English

Duration

00:30:00:00

Colour

Colour

ACMI Identifier

38718

Subject categories

Anthropology, Ethnology, Exploration & Travel → Funeral rites and ceremonies

Anthropology, Ethnology, Exploration & Travel → Papua New Guinea - Social life and customs

Anthropology, Ethnology, Exploration & Travel → Religion

Economics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion & Sociology → Culture conflict

Economics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion & Sociology → Death - Religious aspects

Economics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion & Sociology → Religion

Family, Gender Identity, Relationships & Sexuality → Death - Religious aspects

Food, Health, Lifestyle, Medicine, Psychology & Safety → Death - Religious aspects

Food, Health, Lifestyle, Medicine, Psychology & Safety → Funeral rites and ceremonies

History → Funeral rites and ceremonies

Short films

Short films → Short films - United States

Sound/audio

Sound

Holdings

VHS; Access Print (Section 1)

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If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url=https://acmi.net.au/works/82816--the-asmat-of-new-guinea-a-case-study-in-religion-and-magic/ |title=The Asmat of New Guinea: a case study in religion and magic |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=19 January 2021 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}