Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nagaland's Headhunters Caught

Excerpt from The Deccan Herald

Vikeyeno Zao of the Angami tribe made a 15-minute short film 'Last of the Tattooed Head Hunters’ which was showcased in the short film section at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in France. It was also the first time that a short film from India’s Northeast had made it to Cannes.

It took her 7 years to research the headhunting practices of her ancestors. The film tries to re-enact the ritualistic details of headhunting, a practice that continued till the mid-20th century. It shows how soothsayers could predict in which direction the enemy was lying and the time and direction in which the warrior should move. When the warriors brought their prized trophy home, they would place it on a platform made of a banana trunk for three to four months until the head began to rot. Then a ritual was performed and the skull was brought and kept in the Morung, a dormitory where young, unmarried men were taught life skills.

‘Last of the Tattooed Head Hunters’ is not Zao’s maiden venture. She has produced and directed several films on the anthropological aspects of the different tribes of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. The most notable among them are ‘Defenders’, a fictional 100-minute period film based on Naga history which was made in 2009, and ‘Sopfunuo’, a fictional film on polygamy practices among the Nagas.

Read the Entire Article on The Deccan Herald

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