DER Documentary

Wapté Mnhõnõ, The Xavante's Initiation


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From the Indigenous Video Makers series in the Video in the Villages collection
By Caimi Waiassé, Divino Tserewahú, Jorge Protodi, Winti Suyá
color, 75 min, 1999




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A team of Xavante filmmakers has collaborated to realize this visual archive of the complex Wapté Mnhõnõ ceremony. Taking place over several months with much elaborate rehearsal and preparation, the ceremony involves the participation of several different groups of boys and men in the roles of initiates, godparents and rivals. A new age group is initiated every seven years and this initiate group competes against its rival in physical trials and undergoes ear piercing, while godparents drill and supervise their godsons.

The ceremony marks the important transition away from childhood, and everyone in the village participates in a variety of roles. After being initiated, boys are adults and may be presented to their future wives. The filmmakers face the challenge of balancing their ceremonial duties with their desire to get the best shots possible. They want to document and preserve their Xavante culture.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Jangada Trophy, OCIC Award (International Catholic Film organization), 1999
Manuel Diégues Junior Award, 6th International Ethnographic Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro, 1999
Best Documentary Award, Xth International Festival of Ethnographic Films, Nuoro, Italy, 2000
Anaconda Award, Bolivia, 2000


other films from the Indigenous Video Makers series:
One Must Be Curious
Moyngo, The Dream of Maragareum
The Rainy Season
Wai'á Rini, The Power of the Dream
Shomõtsi
Dancing with a Dog
Kinja Iakaha, A Day in the Village
Nguné Elü, The Day the Moon Menstruated
A Path to Live
Trainees for the Future
The Living Forest
From the Ikpeng Children to the World

View more photos on www.flickr.com



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