Singing Pictures (streaming, Kanopy)
For generations, Patua (Chitrakar) communities of West Bengal, India have been painters and singers of stories depicted in scrolls. The Patuas tell the stories of Muslim saints (pirs and fakirs) as well as Hindu Gods and Goddesses, and offer devotion to saints at Muslim shrines. In the past they used to wander from village to village, receiving rice, vegetables and coins for their recital. They would unroll a scroll, a frame at a time, and sing their own compositions. But competition from other media eroded this way of life and now the Patuas are trying to adapt to changing conditions.
In response to this cultural crisis and as a means to make extra money, recently a group of women from Naya village near Calcutta formed a scroll painters' collaborative. The film follows their daily lives as they paint, sing, cook, tend to their children and meet with the cooperative. They discuss the problems and rewards of practicing their art, and speak freely about the social, religious, and political changes in the village and the world beyond. Their wisdom, artistry, and good humor amidst many difficulties illuminate the lives around them.
Gone to Pat (streaming, Academic Video Online)
The Patuas, or “Chitrakers,” are a nomadic people who live in the small village of Noya, Midnapore, in India. Though originally Muslim, they now consider themselves neither Muslim or Hindu. Instead, they are more clearly defined by their art.
After the Raj series (streaming, Academic Video Online)
After fifty years of independence, India is poised to become one of the world's economic and political giants and it could be one of the region's most ferocious tigers. This personal journey discovers a surprising new India struggling to emerge from the old and the conflict it's provoking. The programme explores the dilemmas facing a country which is home to one-sixth of the world's population and which bears all the hallmarks of a continuing growth in numbers.
India : pilgrims of the Ganges (streaming, Academic Video Online)
A journey through the North of India along the basin of the sacred river for Hindus, the Ganges.
Caste at birth (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Few Westerners realize the grave situation of India s "untouchables." There are 150 million of them who live a segregated life. They cannot own land or get an education and are condemned to the most menial jobs, such as sweeping streets, cleaning toilets, or butchering animals. In the villages they are subject to abuse, sometimes killed for minor slights to the landowners. From birth, all alternatives are closed to them. While the government has tried to improve the condition of the untouchables, these attempts have been met by strong resistance. Upper caste Hindus profit from this source of cheap labor. In addition, the Hindu notion that the untouchable is impure is deeply ingrained. However, a few leaders have arisen from their ranks, who work for change.
This is a music : reclaiming an untouchable drum (streaming, Academic Video Online)
This ethnomusicological documentary is about the psychological and economic transformation of a group of Dalit [formerly called outcaste or untouchable] parai frame drummers from a village near Paramagudi,
Ayu Lha-mo- the oracle of Sabu, filming June 1986 (streaming, Academic Video Online)
This oracle is probably the most famous oracle in Ladahk. She's known for taking a knife from a fire and burning her tongue with its tip to show patients her powers and invulnerability," said Frank Kressing, a cultural anthropologist at University of Augsburg in Germany. Kressing has interviewed more than 20 oracles in Ladakh. The rituals of Ladahk oracles are little known to the outside world, even though as many as 200 may practice in the region.
Calcutta Calling (streaming, Academic Video Online)
In India, 350,000 people currently work in call centres to maintain the contact between western companies and their customers. From a busy office in Calcutta, Vikhee Uppal pretends to be a guy named Ethan Reed and calls Americans, Brits and Australians to try and sell them cell phones and subscriptions. Vikhee pretends to be a westerner at work. Indian traditions remain very important for him. He wants to marry a girl from Punjab, and if he doesn't succeed, his family will find him a bride.
Kerala, The Cradle of Christianity in South Asia (streaming, Academic Video Online)
The six million Christians in Kerala, on the southwest coast of India, follow a variety of liturgical and musical traditions some of which date back to the early Christian era. This film explores the historical embeddedness of these traditions that came about as a result of the region's commercial, cultural, and religious interactions with the Middle East, Europe, and America.
Ritual Journeys (streaming, Academic Video Online)
The film is an intimate portrait of Merayk, an 80 years old Lepcha shaman or Padim. Merayk lives with his family in Dzongu, a Lepcha reserve in North Sikkim. He performs healing rituals for individuals as well as rituals for the well-being of the household, the clan and his village community. Cameraman Dawa Lepcha followed Meyrak and recorded his daily life and rituals between 2003 and 2007.
The myth of the Buddha's birthplace (streaming, Academic Video Online)
This fascinating and thought-provoking documentary explores the process by which a modern myth is created. An engaging blend of mystery story and solid anthropological field research, the film illustrates how the people in a small village in eastern India have come to believe that the Buddha was born in their village, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
Dust and ashes (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Every 12 years in India, 15 million pilgrims gather together for the world's largest religious festival. The last one was in January 1989, at Allahabad on the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers. This film joins the faithful - a millionaire pontiff and the festival organiser - for an intriguing glimpse of a unique event.
Runaway Grooms (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Many men of Indian origin residing in the West travel to India to meet an Indian woman, marry her and bring her to the West. Increasingly a large percentage of these brides are abandoned over dowry disputes. "Runaway Grooms" looks into this disturbing trend that has shattered the lives of at least 10,000 women in India.
Love is not a Crime (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Every year in India, at least a thousand young people are murdered by their own families for falling in love with the wrong person. For these lovers, who shun arranged marriages for love matches, there is only one resource they can turn to: the love commandos.This volunteer organisation is run out of a small room in a congested inner-city Delhi neighborhood. They have no budget or formal structure - just a strong desire to modernize their country and end the honor killings.
Dowry Law (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Every six hours in India, a young woman is beaten to death, driven to commit suicide or burnt alive in a 'cooking accident' at home. Most of these deaths are the result of arguments over dowry cash. It can cost up to $100,000...
Arranged marriages (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Westerners have always been averse to the idea of arranged marriages, holding up the "love match" as the ideal. In this film, a young, divorced European explores attitudes among the educated Indian couples of her acquaintance, asking them how they met and married their spouses. What emerges is an engaging portrait of young marrieds who have striven for personal happiness within a social system which would seem to negate these considerations.
Becoming a woman in Zanskar (streaming, Academic Video Online)
"Becoming Woman in Zanskar" recounts the moving story of a friendship shattered by destiny when two best friends have to part and to leave their families forever ... Tenzin will be married to a man she hasn't chosen while Palkit will become a nun. Two adolescents in the Himalayas: one kidnapped by her future husband, the other's head shaved as she enters the convent forever.
Dance of the severed head (streaming, Academic Video Online)
he spectacular 250 year old Gajon Folk Festival in Kurmun, India, culminates in a controversial dance with a decayed human head. For the first time ever, Karma Wangchuk, a filmmaker from Bhutan, has been granted access behind the scenes to find out more about this mysterious ritual.
Altar of Fire (dvd)
This film, by Robert Gardner and J.F. Staal, records a twelve-day ritual performed by Mambudiri Brahmins in Kerala, India, in April, 1975 - possibly the last performance of the Agnicayana, a Vedic ritual of sacrifice dating back three thousand years and probably the oldest surviving human ritual.
Singing Pictures (dvd)
SINGING PICTURES follows the daily lives of woman from the Naya Village near Calcutta, India, who have formed a scroll painters' collaborative. The camera shows them as they paint, sing, cook, tend to their children and meet with the cooperative. They discuss the problems and rewards of practicing their art, and speak freely about the social, religious, and political changes in the village and the world beyond
Allahs Børn (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Documentary about a fundamentalist Islamic school, or madrassa, in Pakistan. Shows the everyday lives of the students, some as young as five, as they learn the Koran. Also shows an anti-Western rally and the schooling of the students to be prepared to fight to defend Islam against the West.
The Kalasha: Rites of Spring (streaming, Ethnographic Video Online)
The Kalasha are a tribal people, 3,000 strong, who live in the high valleys of the Hindu Kush mountains in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The Kalasha are unique as a pagan people in this Islamic Republic. Joshi, their three day festival of song and dance, rituals and sacrifice and the re-telling of legends celebrates the coming of spring and encourages chivalrous romance between the sexes. All this provides a colourful focus for this film which explores the life and customs of the Kalasha.
A day will come (streaming, Academic Video Online)
The Mughals are a middle class family of ten living in Quetta, one of Pakistan's most culturally conservative cities. The two eldest children, Ilyas and Yasmin, are celebrating their engagements during the same week. But the two could not be more different.
A Destruction (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Humera, an 11-year old girl from a village outside of Karachi, Pakistan, attempts to break the cycle of poverty by staying in school.
Sherpas of Nepal (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Thami is a village 12,000 feet up in the Himalayas in the Kingdom of Nepal. As the film's opening shots illustrate, in a type of filmic short-hand, Thami is composed of a patchwork of individual farms -- indicative of the Sherpa emphasis on independence and family self-sufficiency. The main concern of the film is to examine what it means to be Sherpa today in both cultural and economic terms.
Daughters of Everest (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Daughters of Everest brings a unique flavor to the familiar story of the attempt to climb Mount Everest. In 2000, the first-ever expedition of Sherpa women to climb Everest was organized. This captivating documentary gives a close-up account of the expedition.
Children of God (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Children of God explores the life of the children who live beside the Baghmati River in Nepal on the sacred grounds of a Hindu temple in Katmandu. Undeterred by the daily funeral ceremonies; they rob the corpses for food and dive into the river to grab coins used as funeral offerings. The film exposes the social conditions of the suppressed Nepalese people through the plight of their children, where reverence for the old and dead far outweighs the care for the young and living.
12 days (streaming, Academic Video Online)
The Newars have the tradition of initiating their daughter into womanhood.
Bhuiyar Puja (streaming, Academic Video Online)
The Magar Community believe that they must not cut the tree they worship.
Numafung (streaming, Academic Video Online)
A young woman's life begins to change when she is married off, following Limbu tradition. Love eventually grows between her and her husband but their destiny is troubled. The tension between Numafung's inner life and the world that surrounds her is the subject of this intimate drama. Set in Taplejung District in eastern Nepal, Numafung was groundbreaking when it was made due to its cultural content and indigenous perspective, and continues to be influential in Nepali cinema as an alternative to Bollywood aesthetics.
Endless Ride (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Short movie related to sexual violence in a woman's life. Married to a problematic husband, the woman character finds her life in an endless ride to nowhere.
Kataragama: a god for all seasons (streaming, Academic Video Online)
In ever-increasing numbers Sinhalese of all religions (Muslims, Christians and Buddhists) are turning to Kataragama, an ancient Hindu God, at times of trouble and desperation. Once a year pilgrims make the journey to Kataragama's shrine in southeast Sri Lanka (Ceylon) to fulfil vows by performing acts of penance and worship in payment for a favour received.
The fire of Kali (streaming, Academic Video Online)
In the last two years, as one of the nastiest and under-reported wars has raged in Sri Lanka, nearly 50,000 young Tamil Hindus have simply disappeared. Now the families of these men are turning back to their ancient traditions in an attempt to locate their lost loved ones. Everyman accompanies Shanti, who is determined to find her 'lost' brother. She visits the Oracle of the Goddess Kali and is prepared to 'walk the fire' in the hope that Kali will fulfil her part of the bargain.
Her. Him. The other (streaming, Academic Video Onlline)
This film, divided into three segments each written and directed by a different director, tells stories related to post-war and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.
Mahasona weligama (streaming, Academic Video Online)
This video is a raw footage of exorcist rituals in Sri Lanka.
The Celestial Dance of Bhutan (streaming, Academic Video Online)
In the far reaches of Bhutan, a tiny Buddhist kingdom nestled between Tibet and India, monks gather in the mountains to prepare for several days of dancing and meditation. Each year, monks dressed in celestial robes and wearing wooden masks perform a sacred dance that both purifies and cleanse away negative emotions such as fear, greed or anger.
Bhutan : the dictatorship of happiness (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Hidden away in the Himalayan foothills, Bhutan is a country reputed for its exquisite natural beauty and the importance its people place on individual happiness. To many, the small nation seems like a model for the rest of the world. But behind this idyllic facade there lies a more sinister reality. Buddhism is the only religion tolerated by the Wangchuck dynasty who have ruled the country for the last century.
Year in Tibet series (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Intimate documentary series following a year in the life of the society living in and around Gyantse, Tibet's third largest town.
The Magical Mountain of Tibet (streaming, Academic Video Online)
In the heart of the Himalayas, in Tibet, the Mount Kailash is a unique place that is considered sacred by both Hinduists and Buddhists. At an altitude of 6,700 meters, it attracts each year millions of pilgrims in search of spirituality and freedom.
Sand painting : sacred art of Tibet (streaming, Academic Video Online)
The ancient art of Tibetan sand painting has been preserved in the monasteries of India and Tibet for some 2,500 years. Traditionally practiced in seclusion, this unique art form has only been practiced publicly in the last decades. In this beautifully photographed and fascinating documentary, Tibetan monks from the Dalai Lama's personal monastery, Namgyal, create the mandala of Kalachakra, the most sacred of all Buddhist sand paintings.
Kochuripana : the soul of water (streaming, Academic Video Online)
hanai bibi is a woman who lives on a boat in the Kuichmari region of the Dhaleswari river near Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. She has been living on a boat for last 25-30 years along with her children on 8-9 other boats, each with their own families on these boats. They are not of the Bede ethnicity. They are a sub-ethnic group called Saudagar who earn their living by selling laces, ribbons, plastic and melamine items. They also earn by catching and selling fish. This story is about a day in the life of such a woman and her family who cook on their boats, eat and sleep on their boats and struggle with sunshine, thundershowers, storms to get on with their life on the boat.
Mande : the soul of nature (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Beside the Bangalis, there are other ethnic and indigenous groups in Bangladesh. The Garos are one of the indigenous groups. Most of the Garos in Bangladesh have been residing in the border area of Mymensingh district for the longest time. Their geographical situation, society, language, religion and festivals are different than the Bangalis and they want to retain their culture. Their religion has been changed from the ancient Sangsarek to Christianity, and so is their language- from Achik to Bangla. The Garos are a matrilineal society. They are like any other ethnic groups in Bangladesh.
Every good marriage begins with tears (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Director Simon Chambers follows the lives of young Bengali sisters - and close personal friends of his - as they travel from London to Bangladesh to undertake the arranged marriages that have long been planned for them. Although apparently reluctant to submit to the agreed arrangements, the sisters nonetheless seem unable or unwilling to ultimately escape their traditional destiny.
Threads (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Torn from her family, her paintings, and her beloved Calcutta after the partition of India, artist Surayia Rahman finds a new life in Bangladesh teaching impoverished mothers to embroider her story-telling designs. An inspirational example of the power of art and the impact of empowering women and girls around the world, THREADS takes us on an intimate journey into the heart of an artist and celebrates an unconventional path to dignity and independence.
The Kirghiz of Afghanistan (streaming, Academic Video Online)
The Kirghiz of Afghanistan are a group of some 2,000 pastoralists living on a bleak mountain plateau in a narrow isthmus of land between the borders of the Soviet Union and China.
Love marriage in Kabul (streaming, Academic Video Online)
A truly incredible documentary relating a truly incredible story, Love and Marriage in Kabul captures the seemingly impossible quest to challenge centuries-old traditions and values to make a love marriage happen in Afghanistan.
Afghan exodus (streaming, Ethnographic Video Online)
This documentary by Akbar Ahmed and Andre Singer is about the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and tribal groups in the area.
Prayers of a Warlord (streaming, Academic Video Online)
For the first time a warlord opens his doors and takes us on an intimate tour to the heart of the Afghan feudal system. Mamour Hasan governs 50,000 people in Dash-Te-Qalah, in the north east corner of Afghanistan. They are largely Tajik and Pashtun. Gray bearded and mild mannered, with an army 10,000 strong, his authority is unchallenged
Afghanistan through Women's Eyes (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Afghanistan through Women's Eyes offers an intimate portrait of Afghanistan's silenced women as we see the conflict and history of Afghanistan through their eyes. The film visits the secret schools, orphanages and clinics of RAWA, the Revolutionary Afghan Women's Association, a feminist group that has been working both inside and outside of Afghanistan for many years, struggling for women's rights. Their revolution is through ideas, education and health, and they will not let their voices go unheard.