by Les McLaren and Annie Stiven
color, 56 min, 2001
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Australia's most internationally renowned documentarists (Kildea, O'Rourke, Connolly/Anderson) are part of a group of expatriates who honed their documentary filmcraft while residents of Papua New Guinea. Their films, brimming with wit and character, capture the energy and contradictions of a country in transition from a backward colony, to a young nation in the modern world. But whose stories are they? Filmmakers are now often challenged about cultural rights, and the Western domination of representation. Taking Pictures explores the issues and pitfalls of filming across a cultural boundary - through interviews with Australian filmmakers and by sampling their powerful award winning documentaries about PNG that include 'First Contact', 'Trobriand Cricket', 'The Shark Callers of Kontu', 'Joe Leahy's Neighbours', 'Black Harvest', 'Cannibal Tours' and 'Man Without Pigs'. It also covers the work of indiginous PNG filmmakers, and their own experience of interpreting film and culture. Taking Pictures is a inquiry into the practicalities, politics and aesthetics of the documentary experience.