On a Boulder in the River

Tanisha Jowsey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


If I were a film critic I’d be giving five stars because Voices of the Rainforest (Feld 2019b) is ethnographically brilliant. In this review, I'll pay attention to how Feld and colleagues draw our attention to ways in which Bosavi people connect with the jungle, the passage of time and the film techniques Feld and colleagues use to achieve each.

Voices of the Rainforest is a visual and auditory feast of weather, birds, foliage, water, tools and Bosavi people in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Is it ethnographic film? Is it art? Is it a melancholic poem or a song or visual time diary? In the opening minutes of this film I asked these questions and my brain tried to categorise the film into known categories of meaning. I watched as photos from PNG jungle in the 1970s merged in and out of each other. One photo of a tree is slowly superimposed onto a photo of a jungle bird [7.11] and then that merges back into a photo of the jungle. The journey between photos is slow, giving a sense of the slowness of dawn transitioning into day, and of days, weeks, months and years passing, barely noticed. Birds are calling and their sounds ring constant while the images blur in and out of one another.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-251
Number of pages3
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


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