EtnoAntropologia (Sep 2018)

Traditional Northern communities in ethnographic film: Khanty. The case of the documentary film Tiny Katerina

  • Ivan Golovnev,
  • Elena Golovneva

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 1
pp. 101 – 116


Read online

This article investigates the representation of traditional culturein ethnographic films among the indigenous peoples of the Russian North.The special attention is paid to childhood in traditional culture of Khantypeoples in Ugra. The article focuses on the documentary film Malen’kaiaKaterina (Tiny Katerina; Ivan Golovnev 2004), which depicts the childhoodof a Khanty girl in northwestern Siberia over the course of three years.Authors analyze the child’s relation to nature, adulthood, and the developmentof gender identity. The article looks into the cinematographic techniques usedfor the film creation and major episodes of the film such as “a child`s rolein Khanty culture”, “play”, ‘the adult world”. Also explored are objectiveand subjective conditions in which the cinematographic image is created,with a special emphasis being put on studying filmmaker's (director's) rolein film production. The conclusion drawn is that, on the one hand, theethnographic film is a valuable contribution to Anthropology that adds tothe corpus of documents on traditional culture of the indigenous peoplesof the Russian North. On the other hand, the film contains evidence ofscientific criticism and allows one to explore cinematographic material fromanthropological, historical, and psychological positions. Authors came toconclusion that ethnographic cinema can be seen as promising researchmethodology in the field of contemporary anthropology. This essay re-elaborates and enriches some of the themes already present in a previouscontribution The Representation of Childhood in Ethnographic Films ofSiberian Indigenous Peoples: The Case of the Documentary Film Malen’kaiaKaterina (Tiny Katerina) [Golovnev I., Golovneva E. 2016, 83-106].