Title supplied by Archives staff (unpublished work)--archival collection
Supplementary materials: still photographs
Full film record shot in Melanesia on Pentecost Island, New Habrides (Vanuatu) among the Bunlap. Footage documents a <naghol> or "land diving ceremony." During these ceremonies, men dive from hundred foot naghols (towers) which are specially constructed for each event and seen to represent the body of a spirit. The ritual is held annually to insure the fertility of the yams. Although celebrated by other adjacent groups, the Bunlap people of Pentecost Island hold principal rights over these ceremonies which, as such, remain central to their corporate identity. Scenes include men selecting and cutting vines with machetes to be used by "land divers"; various close-up and mid-range angle shots of the tower as divers climb and mount their perchers; the technique by which vines are tied to the diver's ankles, the narrow platforms from which men dive, the effigies placed at the base of the tower; various angled shots of men diving from their perches, the construction of these narrow platforms and the workings by which they absorb the energy of the plunging diver upon impact; views of spectators below; shots from the tower of a dance sequence beneath the tower performed by women in ceremonial dress; scenes of a council of men engaged in animated discussion and argument; and miscellaneous footage of a native affixing penis wrapper and waist band; and a man demonstrating the technique of decorating and dying a woven armband; casual interactions between mothers and children, and children at play. The edited film, THE LAND DIVERS OF MELANESIA, was produced from this footage.
Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD