NGAT IS DEAD

Denmark, Papua New Guinea 2008 | 59 Min. | DigiBeta, OmeU
Q&A with: Ton Otto

What do anthro­pol­o­gists mean when they claim to study the cul­tur­al tra­di­tions of others by par­tic­i­pat­ing in them? This film fol­lows the Dutch anthro­pol­o­gist Ton Otto, who has been adopt­ed by a family on Baluan Island in Papua New Guinea. Due to the death of his adop­tive father, he has to take part in mor­tu­ary cer­e­monies, whose form and con­tent are pas­sion­ate­ly con­test­ed by dif­fer­ent groups of rel­a­tives. Through pro­longed nego­ti­a­tions, Ton learns how Baluan people per­form and trans­form their tra­di­tions and not least what role he plays him­self. The film is part of long-term field research, in which film­mak­ing has become inte­grat­ed in the ongo­ing dia­logue and exchange between the islanders and the anthro­pol­o­gist.