In Memoriam – Colin Young




The Village


The Village is an intimate study of the slow-paced diurnal round of activity in Dunquin, County Kerry, Ireland. At the time of filming in 1967, the village consisted of only 180 people, most elderly and poor. This portrait was filmed at a time when acculturation by urban tourists was just beginning. The language, customs and subsistence techniques of Dunquin are presented without commentary or narration. Throughout this vérité exploration, key village characters emerge: the postmistress, who dispenses sweets, gossip, and pensions; and the pub owner, who is also a landlord, grocer, and traditional yarn-spinner. Despite being isolated from the rest of the country and depleted by emigration, the society, traditions, and lives of Dunquin carry on.


Mark McCarty was a professor of film at UCLA, where he was involved in the University’s Ethnographic Film Program, started by Colin Young. He originally studied Classics at Berkeley, but became heavily interested in film during his service in the U.S. Army.

Paul Hockings (1935) studied at the University of Sydney, after which he worked as a teaching assistant at Berkeley, during which time he did his PhD research among the Badagas in the Nilgiris. Subsequently, he became increasingly interested in film and ended up teaching at the UCLA Ethnographic Film Program along with Colin Young. He has recently become Professor Emeritus from the University of Illinous, where he taught since the early 1970s. Neither he nor Mark McCarty knew Gaelic at the time they filmed The Village, as their intention was to create a purely observational film with no dialog.




The Ax Fight


In 1971, two days after anthropologists Napoleon Chagnon and Timothy Asch arrived in the village of Mishimishimabowei-teri, a fight between its inhabitants and the visitors of another village broke out. The visitors had formerly been part of Mishimishimabowei-teri, and many still had ties with members of that village. Their friends in Mishimishimabowei-teri had invited them to return, but other factions were not pleased with this, reflecting a persistent tension in this large village of over 250 people. The event lasted about half an hour, ten minutes of which were filmed. The Ax Fight operates on several levels. It plunges the viewer into the anthropology of Yanomamö kinship, alliance, and village fission; of violence and conflict resolution. At the same time it raises questions about how anthropologists and filmmakers make sense of and translate their experience into meaningful words and coherent, moving images.

Film preservation for The Ax Fight was completed in 2011 with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation. The film was digitally remastered in 2022 with partial support from the University of Missouri.


Timothy Asch(1968-1994) originally studied photography at the California School of Fine Arts. In 1959, he completed undergraduate studies in anthropology while working as an assistant to Margaret Mead. It was this connection to Mead that influenced Tim Asch to take up film in the service of anthropology. He produced more than fifty ethnographic films about the Venezuelan Yanomamö, transhumant herders in Afghanistan, and the Balinese, the Rotinese, and Ata Tana ‘Ai of eastern Indonesia. Still, despite film being his primary mode of expression, he continued working as a photographer, and exhibited his work throughout the 1980s.

Napoleon Chagnon (1938-2019) has been called the “most controversial anthropologist” in the United States in a New York Times Magazine profile preceding the publication of his book, Noble Savages: My Life Among Two Dangerous Tribes – the Yanomamö and the Anthropologists, a scientific memoir. He is best known for his long-term ethnographic fieldwork among the Yanomamö, a society of indigenous Amazonians that live in the border area between Venezuela and Brazil, his contributions to evolutionary theory in cultural anthropology, and to the study of warfare. Together with Timothy Asch, he produced 21 films on the Yanomamö.




Wednesday Oct. 5, 2022

Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade
Uzun Mirkova 2
The Village
Mark McCarty, Paul Hockings
The Ax Fight
Timothy Asch, Napoleon Chagnon