In her book 'The Circle of Mountains' Sandra Ott provided a fascinating analysis of social reciprocity (...) The film highlights the village's contemporary dilemmas and thereby complements rather than visualises the arguments in Ott's published ethnography (...) The approach is to be applauded since the book and the film now make excellent companion pieces that can usefully be employed in any course on European ethnography (William Douglass)
This film follows the lives over one year, shot during three intervals, of two Basque shepherding families who live in Santazi, a village in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. The film is the only Disappearing World film made in western Europe and it focuses on the continuity and change in the community. Change has come to the village of Santazi in recent years along the avenues of introduced roads and improved communication systems with the outside world. The effects stretch from people's relationship with the Catholic religion to inheritance customs. Television has of course also entered these villagers' homes. The traditional life of shepherding is also changing amidst the conflict of interest between those who have formed a syndicated in an effort to maintain the viability of shepherding and the sons who have taken jobs as linemen for the electricity company. This film shows the rationality behind the choice the villagers are making. This film is recommended for courses in anthropology, sociology, culture change, and European communities.
W. Douglass, 1987. Review of the film. Anthropology Today, Vol. 3, No. 5 pp. 17–18.
S. Ott, 1981. The Circle of Mountains. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
S. Ybarrola, 1988. Review of the film. American Anthropologist, Vol. 90, pp. 1045–46.