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Cracks in the Mask
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Repedések a maszkon
Germany
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Over the last 150 years, the Torres Strait Islanders in far north Australia have been the subject of many anthropological expeditions. Now, the only people in the Pacific to have made elaborate turtleshell masks have nothing but memories left; all their material culture now resides in foreign museums.

 

In a quest to reclaim the past, Torres Strait Islander Ephraim Bani travels to the great museums of Europe. Ephraim unburdens himself to his diary in moments of poignant revelation as he sees his heritage face-to-face. When he asks for the return of some objects, the resulting debate exposes wider questions about contemporary museum culture and the complexity of Indigenous politics.

 

As the title suggests, even the thickest of masks can crack when the original owners come to visit.

 

Amongst other awards Cracks in the Mask won Mediawave’s Prize for Best Documentary in 1999.

Director
Repedések a maszkon

 

Australian-born Berlin-based filmmaker Frances Calvert specialised in cultural issues of the Torres Strait Islands in far north Australia.

 

She made her first film Talking Broken in 1990, a witty portrait of the Torres Strait Islanders, one of Australia’s indigenous minorities.

 

Her multi-award-winning second documentary Cracks in the Mask (1997) focused on the fate of art and artefacts lost from the Torres Strait. Islander Ephraim Bani travels to Europe to confront face-to face the magnificent masks now residing in the great ethnographic museums of Europe. His reactions raise questions about the purpose of museums.

 

The film attracted political and social interest in Europe and Australia. Publicity from the film led to the creation of the Gab Titui Cultural Centre on Thursday Island.

 

 

After Ephraim Bani died, his family asked Frances to film the traditional ceremony of releasing his spirit, which became her third film The Tombstone Opening, (2013).

 

Frances died suddenly in Sydney, Australia in 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Film adatok

Genre: Documentary

Nationalities: Germany

Year: 2021

Film adatok

57 min. 1997, szöveges, Hungarian

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