PEOPLE OF THE CURRENT
27 minutes, black & white (1971)
Originally recorded on 1/2" videotape
Produced by: Thomas M. Kiefer, Anthropologist
Filmmaker: George Paul Csicsery
People of the Current is a cinema verité documentary about a Moslem outlaw group in the southern Philippines. An ethnographic portrait of the Tausug people of Luuk town on Jolo, the film is the result of an an exploratory research trip to make a more ambitious film that was never completed due to continuous conflict on Jolo.
This compilation from the few scenes ever actually filmed with rural Tausug people in Jolo was recorded on 1/2 inch reel-to-reel video in 1971. The footage represents one of the very first uses of video for an ethnographic documentary in a remote field location.
"People of the Current consists of various vignettes of the Tausug, a Moslem people who inhabit Jolo and other islands in the Sulu Archipelago of the southern Philippines. The film depicts the daily routine of Tausug life, such as preparing food, working in rice fields, eating, feuding, recreation, and copra-making. All of the audio is in Tausug with occasional English subtitles to convey the gist of the conversations. The film effectively captures the warmth and good humor which is typical of much of the day-to-day interpersonal relations of the Tausug. In addition, it conveys the routine, and sometimes ennui, of daily life."
-- H. Arlo Nimmo
"A good insight into the character and tenacity of the Tausug people... No matter what part of the world you're in, the three most talked about topics are always religion (pilgrimage), politics (guns), and of course, sex... A fiercely compelling film... spontaneous cinema verité... Tour of a culture lost in the void of the 20th century."
-- Review by Cinema Students for Canyon Cinemanews, No. 74-2 (1974)