The Sakuddei

© Sheppard
52 minutes / Colour / 1974
Directed by
John Sheppard

Anthropologist Reimar Schefold

Country of production United Kingdom

Series Disappearing World Series

The Sakuddei are a small and ethnically separate community living on the island of Siberut off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. Their distinctive way of life and elaborate religious ceremonies, centred on the umah (ceremonial house) are under threat from the Indonesian government which wishes to 'civilise' the Sakuddei. These people are also threatened by a timber company from the Philippines which has been granted a logging concession in the Sakuddei's territory. The first part of the film contains strikingly photographed scenes of ritual life in the umah, while in the second part there is an interview with a representative of the government who wants to send the Sakuddei children to school in a government village on the coast. The adults fear that the children will lose touch with their own customs and identity if placed in such an institution. Their concern forms part of a moving and dramatic film which explores the contrast between the Sakuddei's way of life and the various pressures of modern Indonesian society on them: Islam, money, police, administrators and the lumber companies.

B.E. Ward, 1975. Review of the film. RAIN, 8, pp. 10–11.

Language and subtitles English with English Subtitles

Region South-East Asia

Country Indonesia

Keywords Collective / Community identity Social Change Land Rights