Alfred Melotu: the Funeral of a Paramount Chief


Alfred Melotu is a Big Man and Paramouth Chief among the Melanesians in the Reef Islands group off, the Solomon Islands. In 1994 a film crew visited Alfred in order to plan a future film. Unfortunately, on the return in 1996 Alfred was on his deathbed suffering from mouth cancer. Nevertheless, he was still a Big Man. Alfred consequently allowed the film crew to record his deathbed and funeral in order to be remembered for the future. However, the film was also to be used as a documentation for his family order to further secure his land and possessions from other Big Men.

Region of Origin

Year of Release



45 minutes


Betacam, Color


Peter Crawford

Peter I. Crawford holds a Danish mag. art. degree (old system, i.e. Ph.d equivalent) in social anthropology from Aarhus University. He has written extensively on visual anthropology and ethnographic film-making. He is currently Associate Professor at the Visual Anthropology Programme at the University of Tromso, Norway. Peter I. Crawford mainly works as a publisher/editor and as a socio-economic consultant on development issues.