DER Documentary

Bolivia / Faces of Change collection

Faces of Change - Bolivia series

A series of 6 films from the Faces of Change collection
by Hubert Smith and Neil Reichline
produced by Norman Miller
color, 158 min, 1974, digitally remastered 2017

Faces of Change - Bolivia Series 2 DVD SET:

The Bolivian film expedition in 1973 took an educational film crew into remote Muñecas Province east of Lake Titicaca, some 10 road hours from La Paz. The area is populated by Aymara and Quechua speaking Indians and people of mixed Spanish-Indian descent.

At an altitude of over 12,000 feet, people survive on a mixed economy of potato farming, other high altitude vegetables, and small animal husbandry. Conflicts over land ownership, age-old control by rich "mestizos" &emdash; still referred to as "conquistadors" &emdash; poor health facilities, and a struggling education system makes this prize winning collection invaluable to teachers and those interested in Latin America.

The filmmaker Hubert Smith has returned to the area on two occasions to help build a better school system, which in the 1990s was recognized as a national school of excellence by the Bolivian government.

"The Bolvian Aymara series (comprising six films, rather than five like the others) is one of the most thorough-going documentations of Andean peasant life yet made or available. One can think of a number of topics not overtly dealt with but the knowledgeable observer can quickly find other themes interwoven with the main topic. Each film follows the lives of the peasants of the highland communities of Ayata and Virochocha, Bolivia, in a direct, cinema verité fashion. The AUFS team has achieved a degree of sophistication with the technique that invariably draws the student ever deeper into the culture. The sound picks up the Aymara dialogue effectively and the English subtitles are very well done, providing a direct and forceful translation which is easily followed. Through the camera eye the viewer can become the ethnographer or indeed, with the sound, the linguist as well. Students can use the films as field study documents and take notes from them as observers." — Paul Doughty, University of Florida, American Anthropologist, 1977

Films in the Bolivia series:
Andean Women
The Children Know
Magic and Catholicism
Potato Planters
The Spirit Possession of Alejandro Mamani

Related Resources
Study Guide

About the Faces of Change collection
This revolutionary series of 26 - 16mm films and videos, funded by the National Science Foundation, produced by Norman Miller and documented by some of the finest ethnographic filmmakers of our time is now available through D.E.R. The films examine 5 cultures selected for the diversity of their geographic location: starting with the China Coast at sea level and moving up to Taiwan, then to Afghanistan, Kenya and finally to the mountains of Bolivia. Each location is examined through 5 themes: Rural Society, Education, Rural Economy, Women, and Beliefs.

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