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The Hadza: The Last of the First

2014
Distributed by The Video Project, 145 - 9th St., Suite 102, San Francisco, CA 94103; 800-475-2638
Produced by Bill Benenson and Laurie Benenson
Directed by Bill Benenson
DVD, color, 1 hour 11 min., English and Swahili
High School - General Adult
Africa, Sustainability, Anthropology, Ethnography


Reviewed by Andrew Koval, MSLS

Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 5/15/2018

Benensonís The Hadza: The Last of the First builds on the 1964 documentary by James Woodburn titled The Hadza. Like Woodburnís film this piece explores the inner workings of Hadza hunter-gatherer society but does so for a new generation of viewers. This tribe is nestled in the Great Rift Valley of Tanzania. The Hadza are challenged by a plethora of crises, among them threats to sustaining the agrarian part of their lifestyle, hunting by tourists, and political strife. Delving further, the courting rituals, hunting strategies, meat preparation, and cave paintings serve as technical manuals. Benenson crafts a comprehensive and cogent film, making the audience care about this ancient, indigenous culture.

The measured narration style by Alfre Woodard lends credibility as she elaborates on Hadza society. However, there are CGI segments that detract from the technical quality, albeit brief. Themes of conservation and symbiosis are adeptly presented, providing opportunities for critical discussion. The Hadza: The Last of the First should be added to academic and high school library collections supporting global world views, especially in relation to the environment.