Bitter Roots: The End of a Kalahari Myth

Bitter Roots: The Ends of a Kalahari Myth is set in Nyae-Nyae, a region of Namibia located in southern Africa’s Kalahari desert, traditional home of the Ju/’hoansi. It updates the ethnographic film record begun in the 1950s by John Marshall, whose films documented 50 years of change, and who together with Claire Ritchie, established a grass-roots development foundation, which Adrian Strong (the filmmaker) joined in the late 1980s. Through archival footage and discussions with community members, this film sensitively examines the problems (lions, elephants, conservationists) currently facing the Ju/’hoansi and challenges the myth that they are culturally unable to farm.

The Bird Dancer

The film follows the life of Gusti Ayu Suartini, a young Balinese woman with Tourette’s Syndrome, as she struggles to create a life for herself while coping with a society who doesn’t understand her disease, doctors with no cures, and a family that rejects her. Gusti has spent many years struggling to overcome the stigma and suffering that has resulted not primarily from her illness, but from the web of cultural significance spun around it in the context of Balinese values and belief, social and familial structure, and health care practices. She will have to use all her strength and courage to find her place in society free from shame and humiliation.

Family Victim

The second youngest of eight children born to an upper-class family living in the rural region of Gunung Kidul in Cental Java, Estu has been ‘different’ ever since he was a young boy. Estu’s actions, and their disorienting power, cannot be understood outside of the cultural and social context within which they have taken shape nor can they be considered apart from the disruptive and painful effects they have on his family. This film explores the multiple ways the family interprets such dilemmas, and his tribulations and finally transformations as he matures into culturally defined adulthood.

Savage Memory

In 1915, Bronislaw Malinowski set out to document the ‘exotic’ practices of a small group of islanders off the coast of Papua New Guinea. With extensive data on sex, magic and spirits of the dead, his work would set the stage for anthropologists for decades to come and bring him fame as one of the founding fathers of anthropology. Four generations and almost one hundred years later, his great grandson sets out to Papua New Guinea to piece together the story of this legendary figure and to unravel the controversial legacy he left behind – within the field of anthropology, within his own family and among the descendants of the people he studied in New Guinea. An exploration of history, memory and legacy, Savage Memory asks viewers to question how we remember our dead.

Vietnamese Girl

During a six-month period of living and traveling throughout Vietnam, an American filmmaker meets a diverse group of Vietnamese women and documents their attempted integration into the new global culture. “Vietnamese Girl” documents the growing pains at the dawn of a new feminism in Asia. And on a journey spanning thousands of miles, through ancient landscapes and cities of the future, the filmmaker investigates the complex culture and history of the country, as she experiences a transformation only made possible by the women she meets in Vietnam.