DER Documentary

The !Kung Series

The !Kung Series

by John Marshall

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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Over the course of his career, filmmaker John Marshall shot more than one million feet of film and video (722 hours) of the Ju/'hoansi (!Kung Bushmen) of Namibia's Kalahari Desert. This body of work is unrivalled as a long-term visual study of a single group of people. Contained in Marshall's footage are the personal histories of individuals, documents of a now non-existent way of life, and the unfolding of massive social and economic change as experienced by one group of people over a period of fifty years.

A frequent innovator in the field of ethnographic film, Marshall produced twenty-three films and videos and one multi-part series from his extensive footage archive. Marshall's approach to filmmaking evolved alongside changes in film and video technology, in the fields of anthropology and ethnographic and documentary film, and on a very personal level, in Marshall's relationship to the Ju/'hoansi. These shifts can be seen throughout the course of his career, as he moved from the almost scientific, observational style of First Film (his earliest footage), to the nuanced and self-reflexive epic, A Kalahari Family.

“...One of the seminal visual anthropology projects of the twentieth century. It is unique in the world for the scope of its sustained audiovisual documentation of one cultural group... an unparalleled historical record not only of an indigenous people's traditional lifeways and ties to the land but of the transformation of these lifeways in the rapidly changing political and economic landscape that developed in concert with the struggle for Namibian independence.” UNESCO Memory of the World Register

Orthography Note
The group of people depicted in these films are the Ju/'hoansi, speakers of the Ju/'hoan language. Ju/'hoan is part of the !Kung language group; the term !Kung was previously used by the Marshall family and others to refer to Ju/'hoansi. Although the term is outdated, it has been retained here for the sake of consistency with John Marshall's previously published work. The films and their related printed materials also employ antiquated spellings of names and places. For current Ju/'hoan orthography, please see the Ju/'hoan - English Dictionary, compiled by Patrick Dickens and the Ju/'hoan Peoples Literacy Committee.

Films in the !Kung series:
Bitter Melons
Children Throw Toy Assegais
Debe's Tantrum
First Film
The Hunters
A Kalahari Family
Part One: A Far Country
Part Two: End Of the Road
Part Three: Real Water
Part Four: Standing Tall
Part Five: Death By Myth
!Kung Bushmen Hunting Equipment
!Kung San: Resettlement
!Kung San: Traditional Life
!Kung Short Films Collection (includes the following films, also available individually)
Argument About a Marriage
Baobab Play
A Curing Ceremony
Group of Women
A Joking Relationship
Lion Game
The Meat Fight
Men Bathing
N!owa T'ama: The Melon Tossing Game
N/um Tchai: The Ceremonial Dance of the !Kung Bushmen (b&w)
Playing with Scorpions
A Rite of Passage
The Wasp Nest
N!ai, Story of a !Kung Woman
Pull Ourselves Up or Die Out
Tug-of-War, Bushmen

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts