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Disappearing World

Disappearing World“Fascinating not only because it was
  such a wonderfully informative and
  pioneering series, Granada’s landmark
  anthropological series Disappearing
is also an historical testimony to
  the changing times since it was first
  broadcast over a three-decade period
  and it remains an extraordinary triumph
  of cutting-edge film-making...”

DISAPPEARING WORLD WAS AN INTERNATIONALLY-ACCLAIMED, award-winning documentary series offering intimate and compelling portraits of such remote communities as the Cuiva, Embera and Panare Indians of Colombia, the nomadic Tuareg of the Sahara, the Kurdish Dervishes and the Meo of China.

This series takes a unique, inside look at the people whose way of life is being destroyed through the eyes of the anthropologists who have lived side-by-side with them and studied them, exploring their culture and how they live.

A magnificent achievement in filming, Disappearing World gets you up close and personal to fragile and enigmatic ancient cultures that needed to be brought to global attention. Many had already been pushed to the very edge of extinction at the time the series was filmed.

From cultivated jungle gardens to beliefs that include a Shaman, a holder of supernatural powers; from lawless societies to enchanting music and dancing = this is a disappearing world far away from our own society of wealth and aspiration. The modern world, when it converges on these distant tribes, is often shunned or causes chaos. Influenza is a problem to those who have never experienced it and can easily result in death.

We meet a young boy who has moved out from his tribe and now lives at a Catholic Mission Station in Venezuela. He is being taught a new way of life and is surrounded by love and attention. The consensus of opinion is that if the Indians choose to lead lives in the 20th Century, then that is okay. It is only if modern values are imposed on these people that it isn't quite right.

The Cuiva of Colombia, who were still armed with blowpipes, had avoided all contact with white people and sometimes feared crossing the white settlers' territory. A hunter-gatherer society, they have a great social life and a short working day. The men have their responsibilities and women have others. South American cowboys on the ranches have to learn to live with the Indians and respect them.

Deep into the seemingly impenetrable Amazon jungle the camera goes, recording rarely-seen natives and animals, exotic plants and lush vegetation. Here is another kind of existence; an echo of history where people live with their ancient traditions and old Gods in an enthralling Disappearing World.

Each society has its own story to tell. Tribes like the Mursi in Ethiopia, Africa, for whom war is a way of life, carry modern weapons. In this case, rifles left behind by the Italians years before, which are just about the only intrusion from the outside world. And the colourful Mehinacu of Central Brazil who believe in spirits and make a type of bread from the tapioca plant.

Or the East Africa Masai, animal herders whose images are so popular today. Women are important to the Masai, whose wealth is reflected by the number of wives they have. And then there is the Quechua of Peru, who live in huge family units and live pretty much as they did before the Spanish arrived centuries ago.

Developed from an idea by former World In Action producer Brian Moser, who had witnessed at first hand the relentless and rapid destruction of native Indian tribes in Latin America, Disappearing World displayed an unprecedented foregrounding of its subjects, who spoke freely about their lives and values in their own languages and were filmed engaged in daily activities.

A generous budget and a great degree of freedom was granted to the production and research team, and the constantly evolving presentation format of the series also acknowledged current concerns and debates within the field about the portrayal of so-called primitive societies. These films were made easily accessible to schools and universities and remain a valuable educational resource. This volume contains 15 documentaries broadcast between 1970 and 1975 in a four-disc set.

Disappearing World was groundbreaking television with an aim that extended far beyond the remit of serious or educational programming required by the broadcasting strictures of the day, setting the standard for future investigative programming.

Network DVD is delighted to announce the DVD release of Granada's landmark anthropological series Disappearing World on 8 February 2010. RRP: £39.99 | Total Running Time: 790 Minutes Approximately | Catalogue Number: 7953182.

"…an echo of history where people live with their ancient traditions and old Gods in an enthralling disappearing world" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar