Dennis O’Rourke
Australia 1982 | 54 Min. | 16 mm, OF

For cen­turies the men of Kontu, a small island off the coast of New Ire­land, have caught sharks in a tra­di­tion­al way. After having under­gone exten­sive ritual purifi­ca­tion they go to sea in frag­ile canoes and rit­u­al­ly call the sharks, to whom they believe to be relat­ed. Once the fish appears, they catch and kill them with their hands and rit­u­al­ly announce their suc­cess by blow­ing a shell­trompet. Now after 100 years of col­o­niza­tion, eco­nom­ic exploita­tion and intense activ­i­ties by the mis­sion­ar­ies, only a hand­ful of men is left who still master the ancient ritual skill. A skill which con­sti­tutes the most tan­gi­ble link with their cul­tur­al past. Dennis O’Rourke lived on Kontu for six months and was allowed to record the ritual shark call­ing on film. Besides he tried to analyse the way in which west­ern influ­ences will even­tu­al­ly destroy this ancient culture.