DER Documentary

We Know How to Do These Things: Birth In a Newar Village


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by Barbara Johnson, with support from the Smithsonian Institution Human Studies Film Archives
color, 40 min, 1997





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For these villagers, giving birth is a family affair; while a young girl is in labor, the birth attendant, mother and mother-in-law alternate between lending a hand and story telling. Barbara Johnson studied documentary film and photography with Jerry Liebling and Elaine Mayes at Hampshire College from 1970-1974. She began working for the Smithsonian's newly formed National Anthropological Film Center in 1975. She was sent to Nepal to document early childhood socialization and daily life in a large farming village in the Kathmandu Valley. One of the Film Center's solo research filmmakers, she lived in this village for 15 months in 1978 and 1980. The 50 hours of sync-sound 16mm film which she shot in Nepal are part of the Smithsonian's Human Studies Film Archives. We Know How To Do These Things is made from the last hour of film she shot in Nepal.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Margaret Mead Film Festival, NYC 1997
Royal Anthropological Institute Basil Wright Prize nominee 1998
Berlin Ethnographic Film Festival, 1999
Women in the Directors Chair Film Festival, 1999

Related Films
Bunong's Birth Practices
Woman to Woman
Miss Margaret
All My Babies



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