Waiting for Jesus, the Gospel according to the Papuans

Thomas Balmès
France 2001 | 83 Min. | BetaSP, OmeU

Ghini is the respect­ed leader of the Hulis, one of the seven hun­dred tribes living in Papua New Guinea. He is the oldest member of the tribe and vivid­ly remem­bers how the whites came down in their out­landish flying machines. A short time ago, his life and that of the tribes went through a sweep­ing change: in imi­ta­tion of their leader, the entire tribe had them­selves bap­tised. An impor­tant reason for this shift was the announce­ment by the mis­sion­ar­ies that Jesus will return to earth in the year 2000 and that the Last Judge­ment will be passed. The year 2000 did not bring with it the apoc­a­lypse announced, but vil­lage life had changed. The mis­sion­ar­ies’ pres­ence had already con­sid­er­ably eroded the power of the tra­di­tion­al lead­ers, and now the latter are forced to deal with the chal­lenge of demo­c­ra­t­ic power in the guise of a local­ly elect­ed woman town counsellor.