Journal of Ethnology 1/2020 deals with the theme “Ethnology and Anthropology through the Movie Camera”. Lucie Česálková focuses on Czech inter-war ethnographic films (Otherness as a Mirror: ethnographic perspective in the Czech inter-war non-fiction film), Petr Bednařík pays attention to films and socialist propaganda in the early 1950s (Depiction of the Countryside in the Czech Film in the Early 1950s on the Example of the Film Slepice a kostelník [The Hen and the Sexton]). Milan Kruml monitors the period production of the Czechoslovak Television in the then unfree society in relation to the presentation of folklore (Folklore as an Escape? Programmes with folklore content broadcasted by the Czechoslovak Television at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s). Tomáš Petráň analyses stereotypes in the realm of film from the perspective of anthropology (Ethnic and Gender Stereotypes in James Bond Film Series). The text about field research by Andrej Sulitka is published out of the theme (Folk Ensembles of National Minorities in the Czech Lands, and Majority Folklore Movement. / On the example of a selected sample of ensembles and their activities after the Second World War/).
The Research Methods column publishes a reflection essay on the role of ethnographic film in current presentation of traditional folk culture (written by Aleš and Vít Smrčka) and a text concerning the development in colour photographic processes and documentation of folk clothing (written by Helena Beránková and Jan Benedík). Social Chronicle publishes congratulations to the jubilees of the ethnologist Anna Divičanová/Gyivicsán (born 1940), the ethnologist and documentarist Vlasta Svobodová (born 190) and the ethnologist Daniel Luther (born 1950), and an obituary for the ethnomusicologist Brno Nettl (1930-2020). Further regular columns include reports on conferences, exhibitions and publication activities.
Otherness as a Mirror: Ethnographic perspective in the Czech inter-war non-fiction documentary
Czech ethnographic film emerged in the inter-war period thanks to the then simultaneous expansion of the film as an instrument of scientific knowledge, and of the motoring. The connection of film and car was significant for it. The car made it possible to travel to unknown countries more easily and freely, and the film documented local nature and indigenous people; however, films also were to promote the car manufacturer that delivered cars for such a journey. As a genre, the Czech ethnographic film developed at the boundary between the travel, expedition and promotional films. For this reason, in that era one should rather speak about an ethnographic perspective mediated by the film, and its role in the wider context of visual culture in the inter-war Czechoslovakia. Based on the analysis of three most distinctive films (Gari-Gari, K Mysu dobré naděje To the Cape of Good Hope, and Šest žen hledá Afriku Six Women Are Searching for Africa), the study shows in a wider context of society-wide debates, that in the Czech context the ethnographic perspective brought the awareness of exotic otherness on one hand, and on the other hand it contributed to the updating of local socio-cultural problems. Despite their own nature of the ethnographic “otherness”, the movies a priori made the ditochomy civilized-uncivilized more visible, and they reflected how particular cultural differences were rooted in the domestic society. In this way, the ethnographic film revealed certain aspects of “uncivilized behaviour” in the contemporary Czech context.
Depiction of the Countryside in the Czech Film in the Early 1950s on the Example of the Film Slepice a kostelník [The Hen and the Sexton]
Czechoslovak film Slepice a kostelník [The Hen and the Sexton] was premiered in 1951. Its directors Oldřich Lipský and Jan Strejček made the film based on a theatre play by Jaroslav Zrotal. The movie is an example in which way the then Czechoslovak communist propaganda depicted the Czech countryside of that time. The film included topics accentuated by the totalitarian propaganda – the fight against acts of sabotage, the importance of collectivization of the agricultural sector, the worker-peasant alliance, and the task of young generation. Simultaneously, the movie worked with the expressions of folk culture, when it was shot in the ethnographic area of Slovácko (in the Uherský Brod environs). The creators used local folk costumes and folklore (folk songs and dances). Prague actors tried to speak local dialect of the Slovácko region. The film can be placed in the context of the then Czechoslovak cinematography, which, based on the resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from April 1950, was supposed to deal mainly with ongoing topics of the then society, and to capture them in the spirit of socialist realism.
Folklore as an Escape? Programmes with folklore content broadcasted by the Czechoslovak Television at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s
The article monitors the Czechoslovak Television broadcast at the time of totalitarian regime, meaning at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, when the number of programmes with folklore content increased alongside with the growing television offer. These programmes were produced mainly by the Bratislava studio, and a part of them were broadcasted also outside the Slovak broadcasting range. After 1969, when the second channel was launched and simultaneously many planned programmes were cancelled and many already produced programmes were archived for ideological reasons, the offer of folklore considerably increased in television broadcast. For several creators, folklore (even though in a form resembling rather music and entertainment shows) was a welcomed topic due to which they were not forced to become involved in current affairs programmes and documentary production at the time of normalization. It was especially the Brno studio that was active in this regard. Due to the shortage of capacity, this studio had to make the considerably part of its production in exteriors, and folk music, folk costumes and traditions became an interesting background for entertainment and a theme for current affairs programmes, especially after the television started broadcasting in colour. During the monitored period, the production of programmes with folklore content increased in the Ostrava studio as well. This was not a result of a conceptual decision or an intention of the Czechoslovak Television to record folklore in particular regions of the Czech Republic, but a personal initiative of people who wanted to work for the television, but not at any cost.
Ethnic and Gender Stereotypes in James Bond Film Series
The article demonstrates mutual interconnection between the ongoing social discourse and narratives of popular culture over the last fifty years on the example of film series with protagonist James Bond. The chosen method that combines the multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis with the contextualisation of a pop-cultural text is aimed at demonstrating the possibilities of visual anthropology in the realm of social and cultural analysis. The texts highlights the examples when an artistic narrative is controlled by diverse types of social dispositive and the resulting art text also forms and determines the way of thinking about bases of social discourse. The social discourse practice and the pop-cultural narratives are addressed in a dialectic symbiosis: depiction of relationship between man and woman, frequency of sexual intercourse or its absence in a narrative, way of depicting the “otherness”, and ethnicity and nationality of characters are signs that reflect geopolitical situation, types of global threat, social taboo and imperatives, stratification of the society, and ideals of lifestyle. Simultaneously, the above signs spread and strengthen the depicted stereotypes in pop-cultural texts. The reflection and reproduction of social reality dissolve in the pop-culture, and as a consequence, they influence the behaviour and ways of thinking, the product of which they are.
Folk Ensembles of National Minorities in the Czech Lands and Folklore Movement. (On the example of a selected sample of ensembles and their activities after the Second World War)
The study points out the dissimilarity of minority folk ensembles and groups in the Czech Republic to the mainstream of ensembles in folklore movement of the majority society after the Second World War. The text is based on knowledge gained in the field research, conducted in the years 2018 and 2019, meaning interviews with leaders and former members of selected minority folk ensembles. From the present-day composition of the “acknowledged” national minorities in the Czech Republic (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Polish, Roma, Ruthenian, Russian, Greek, Slovak, Serbian, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese), the research sample focuses, due to the limited scope of the paper, on four minorities (Polish, Slovak, Ruthenian, and German), which provide a relevant starting point for the theme. Activity of particular folk ensembles and groups is inherent in association activities of all national minorities. In contrast to folk ensembles of the majority society, the common denominator in most minority ensembles is their efforts to have effect on the safeguarding of cultural traditions of minority societies as one of the dominating attributes of their identity.