DER Documentary

Yákwa, The Banquet of the Spirits


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From the Rituals series in the Video in the Villages collection
By Virginia Valadão
color, 54 min, 1995




Non-profit and K-12 pricing also available
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This is a four-part documentary about the Yákwa, the most important ritual of the Enauênê- Nauê Indians of Brazil. For seven months every year, the spirits are venerated with offerings of food, song and dance so they will protect the community.

The World Outside the Rock - The Yákwa festivities open with the Enauênê-Nauê preparing for the big fish-catch by making salt, canoes and fish traps. Fearing the spirits, the Indians make new flutes, and explain their sacred significance.

Dataware's Revenge - For two months, the men leave the village in groups and build dams on forest waterways to catch fish as they return from spawning. Xinare, the village elder, tells the myth of time in which a dam spontaneously builds itself, until one day Dataware, a civilizing hero, decides to take revenge of the fish.

Harikare : The Spirit's Host - After the fish-catch, everyone returns with smoked fish that will be offered to the spirits and eaten by the villagers until the end of the ritual. The stormy entrance of the spirits into the village begins the most intense and spectacular phase of the ceremony.

The Little Cassava Girl - As the celebration goes on, the Indians cut down and plant cassava root on the collective fields, the field of the Yákwa spirit. The Indians relive the myth of the girl who was buried by her mother and who transformed herself into the first cassava root.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
18th Tokyo Video Festival, 1996
Pierre Verger Award, Brazilian Anthropologist's Association, 1996
Audience Award, Rio Cine Festival, Brazil, 1996
Best V'deo, XXIII Jornada de Cinema da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil, 1996



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