Some Na Ceremonies
The Na people (also known as Moso) of southwest China, along the confluence of Chinese and Tibetan cultures, are best known in the West for their matrilineal kinship system. Western representations of Na culture usually overlook the significance of religion, a central aspect in the lives of Na people. This richly detailed documentary, created by Na directors Onci Archei and Ruheng Duoji and produced by American anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker Tami Blumenfield, consists of five short pieces that capture important Na ceremonies.
In the words of Jenny Chio, Asst. Prof. of Anthropology at Emory University, Some Na Ceremonies “is one of the most unique yet accessible works of ’participatory video’ or community media produced out of China in the recent past.” Ranging from a village film festival, to a pig-sacrifice ceremony, to a three-day funerary ceremony, the ceremonies presented are riveting, elaborate, and meaningful. By avoiding interpretation or voice-over narration but using carefully selected visual images and thought-provoking editing, the film emphasizes the partiality of any representational attempt. The ceremonies presented are but a glimpse of a much larger ceremonial and spiritual world.
Some Na Ceremonies is an outgrowth of the Moso Media Project, a collaborative, participatory-media project that provides resources and training for Na people interested in creating and editing digital media, then facilitating community conversations about the finished films.
Highly original, challenging, and engaging, Some Na Ceremonies will inspire critical viewing, thinking, and discussion in a wide range of courses in Asian studies, Chinese and Tibetan studies, cultural anthropology, comparative religion, and film studies. Producer Tami Blumenfield is the James. B. Duke Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at Furman University. Filmmakers Onci Archei and Ruheng Duoji are directors of the Moso Folk Museum.