To look behind the pictures!

At the edge of a garden (Boy_004).


Godelier documents salt bar production (SP9_3).

Film is a linear creature, running at 24 frames per second, inexorably drawing the viewer along a temporal track with its own rhythm. A brochure or a web site stands still, allowing users to move through the material with their own rhythms and in different sequences, to think at liesure, to deepen perception at will. The abundance of information that informed and surrounded the events in the films, TO FIND THE BARUYA STORY and HER NAME CAME ON ARROWS, cannot be conveyed within the time limits of the films themselves. To allow viewers to deepen their understanding of the visual material and the complex audio-tracks, more contextualization is needed. Thus, one year after the films were first released in 1982, a printed study guide was completed and was distributed together with the 16 mm. films. This first version provided the ethnographic background of the project as formulated by Maurice Godelier and paraphrased by Allison Jablonko on the basis of her many conversations with Godelier in Wiaveu and Paris in 1969, 1979 and 1982. In addition, the study guide made available the complete script of the commentary and sub-titles of each of the films, thereby allowing students to work directly with the text of the sound tracks.

In 1998, when distribution shifted from 16 mm. film to VHS format, the printed study guide was expanded and transformed into a web site with a detailed account of how the films were made, a brief bibliography, filmography, and a list of related web sites.

In 2010, in preparation for re-issuing the films in DVD format, this guide was again updated. B&W photographs taken in 1969 were added and the bibliography, filmography and list of related web sites were expanded. The original 46-page "Summary, Index & Film Event Descriptions," written in the field, was included in full. Finally, a completely new section, "The Baruya Now," was created and illustrated with color photographs taken by Pierre Lemonnier during his visits to the Baruya in 2008.



A crucial segment of TO FIND THE BARUYA STORY,  missing from all the VHS and DVD copies of the film in distribution up through 2010, was recently found on an original 16 mm. master print.

This missing segment and is now included in the new DVD edition!

The sequence — Godelier's visit to the women's menstrual huts and the subsequent decontamination ritual his male informants insisted that he undergo — is a key to understanding Godelier's ability to study both the men's and the women's worlds. It appeared in all the 16 mm. prints distributed in the 1980s and now, finally, in 2011 it has been restored and will appear in all future digital copies.

For his patient help with these final technical necessities that arose in 2010, I would like to extend special thanks to Filippo Bussi, sound engineer and editor of the 1980 Jablonko series "The Maring - Documents of a New Guinea People" presented by RAI-Educational TV.

It is with pleasure and in hopes of receiving thoughtful feedback - most especially from those Baruya who may see this site or the films - that I present this up-dated web site.

Note: All the B&W photographs appearing here, with the exception of the one of Allison taken by Marek, were taken by Allison Jablonko. The color photographs were taken by Pierre Lemonnier. Like all the material on this web site, they are protected by copyright. Should you want to use any please contact us directly for permission.

Preface of May 11, 2011
© 2011 Allison Jablonko

Preface to the 1998 Online Study Guide

Time, Culture Change, and Tense

In exploring this web site, remember that the films were shot in 1969 and were completed in 1982. The descriptions and statements made in this study guide are based on discussions with Maurice Godelier in 1969 in the field. Further discussions with Godelier and his assistants, Pierre Lemonnier and Jean-Luc Lory in 1979 in Basel, as well as discussions with Koumaineu Nunguye and Yavine Borima in 1980 in Italy, and discussions in 1981 in Paris with Koumaineu and Godelier, all contributed to the information included in the first edition of this study guide (1983).

A number of changes in the Baruya way of life had taken place between 1969 and 1982, as indicated in the closing titles of TO FIND THE BARUYA STORY. Many more changes have taken place since then.

In presenting this 1998 edition of the study guide, we have not taken these changes into account but have maintained the present tense as used in the original edition, since it reflects Baruya life at the time the films were shot.

In the interest of clarity, we have made a number of editorial changes to the 1983 text. In particular, the order of sections, which originally followed the sequences of the film TO FIND THE BARUYA STORY, has been rearranged in order to make a more logical progression for users of the web site. We have added a section on the kinship interview to better contextualize the film HER NAME CAME ON ARROWS. We have also added samples of the original Film Event Index of the total archival footage and the Shot Logs for the two edited films, as well as sections on bibliographic, filmographic, and internet references.


It is impossible to mention the names of all the people who helped in the making of the films and who contributed to the writing of the study guide. We would like, however, to express our particular thanks to Yavine Borima, Koumaineu Nunguye, Pierre Lemonnier, Jean-Luc Lory, Dominique Lajoux and Jerome Blumberg, who shared so much thought with us in Paris, and to Stan and Marion Olson and Nancy Day, who offered us hospitality during the final stages of production in San Francisco.

Special thanks are due to those without whom the project would never have taken place nor have been brought to completion: the people of Wiaveu, Maurice Godelier, and Stephen Olsson.

by Allison and Marek Jablonko © 1998 Allison and Marek Jablonko

Preface to 1983 Printed Study Guide

The films of Godelier doing fieldwork among the Baruya were originally conceived as windows on a part of the process of ethnography and anthropology which is not usually seen: the rich fabric of environment and personal interaction which underlies all subsequent anthropological research and publication. Students read the books of an anthropologist, and may be fortunate enough to hear in person lectures from which their lively minds construct images of "the field" situation. But how do these images relate to fact? Our filming of Godelier and the Baruya is an attempt to fill this gap, to present to readers some of the background and experiences which led to Godelier's written formulations.

Film complements the printed media and, though linear, it presents multiple visual and audible strands of information simultaneously. These strands must be dealt with one at a time in writing, but flow together more holistically in film. The film thus provides a qualitative context for the published monograph.

In turn, the film, in order to be more fully understood, should be presented in context. For viewers of these films some necessary context is provided by narration and commentary. But visual images move more quickly than spoken words, and many aspects of the scenes must be left unexplained. This second gap is therefore intended to be filled by a study guide -- a document which can provide additional layers of significance and lead to an increased level of understanding on the part of colleagues and students alike.

This study guide follows the internal logic and linear order of the film (To Find The Baruya Story), the main outline coinciding with the principal film sections. Some questions which may be raised by the film can be answered by the study guide. Some questions will undoubtedly arise which cannot be answered. To the extent that these questions stimulate viewers and readers to greater awareness of the questions inherent in a study of culture and cross-cultural communication, I will feel the guide is a success in both the particular field of Baruya ethnography and the larger field of conscious and intelligent interaction with our present multicultural world.

Allison Jablonko

© 1983 Allison Jablonko