A Clearing in the Jungle


1970 / 52 minutes

Directed by
Charlie Nairn
Country of production
United Kingdom
Disappearing World Series

Like that of many other Indian groups in South America, the culture of the Panare Indians of Venezuela is threatened by their almost daily contact with neighbouring creoles, Spanish-speaking peasants. However, in spite of nearly fifty years of interaction, their culture has remained distinctively Indian. The film focuses on activities of their daily life, such as making cassava, preparing blow-darts, hunting and gathering. The Indians strongly resented the presence of the camera-crew; indeed, as Dumont points out early in the film, they were loath to reveal details of their belief-system even to him, although he had been living with them for eighteen months. This was the first and the shortest of the films in the Disappearing World series. Although useful and interesting, it is relatively superficial and its commentary contains some anthropological oddities: it cannot be compared with the much more sophisticated films made later in the series.

J.-P. Dumont, 1976. Under the Rainbow: Nature and Supernature among Panare. University of Texas Press, Austin.
J.-P. Dumont, 1979. The Headman and I: Ambiguity and Ambivalence in the Fieldworking Experience. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Language and subtitles
English (no subtitles)
South America
Hunting / Gathering / Fishing Informant-researcher relationship Indigenous peoples / First Nations peoples