DER Documentary

Tarahumara: Festival of The Easter Moon

by Charles Nauman
color, 28 min, 1976/2005




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Shot in 1976, but never released, this film is a rare visual document of the Tarahumara - one of the most remote and isolated tribes of the North American continent. Filmed during a gathering at the mission village of Norogachic of northwest Mexico, the nomadic Tarahumara are observed celebrating their special interpretation of the Easter Festival. The week-long gathering uniquely explores both Christian and pre-Christian expressions of honoring the Easter Moon, the time when traditionally the Tarahumara dance, plant corn and drink Tesvino, the corn wine that blesses nearly every Tarahumara occasion from birth to death.

Coming from caves and rocky rancheros that range from the tropics to the northern Sierre Madre, the celebrants arrive on foot with giant tambours, flutes and the violins that the Spaniards introduced centuries ago, violins that the Tarahumara still carve from their native pine. Clay painted and dressed in flamboyantly colorful garments, the Tarahumaras make the celebration an epic of dance which concludes by preparing the shamans for the final dance in which the effigies of Judas and Judas's son are destroyed.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Peoples Festival, 1981 (early version)
Denver Multicultural Festival, 1981 (early version)
Religion Today, International Festival of Cinema & Religion, Italy, 2005
Festival Interuniversitaire de Films Ethnographique de Montreal, 2006
Bilan du film ethnographique, Musee de l'Homme, Paris, 2006
International Festival of Ethnological Film, Serbia, 2006

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