14:00, Thursday 18th June, Cinema 3

Director/Anthropologist: David Shorter, UCLA
Year of Release: 2013
Duration: 22 mins
Country of Production: USA
Location: Sonora, Mexico and Arizona, USA
Ethnic Group: Yaqui Indians
Language: Yoeme/Spanish/English with English subtitles

This ethnographic film portrays, for the first time, the Lutu Chuktiwa (Cutting the Cord) ceremony of the Yeome (Yaqui) Indians. In 2006, David Shorter joined the family of Ignacio Sombratuka’u as they held the all night lutu pahko, which takes place one year after someone’s death in order to release the family and community of mourning. Along with indigenous dancing and Catholic prayers, mourners have a cord tied around their neck in the first part of the evening; and these cords are then cut and burned in the early morning. Shorter later took the footage to Yeome communities in Arizona, providing viewers handheld audio recorders. Their responses narrate the film, explaining or telling stories elicited by the images of the ceremony. The result is a visual experiment that replicates some of the confusion of culture contact and resists our desire to “know everything” about one another.

Return to the 2015 film programme