Screening of “Bougainville” @ UPNG – a rare historical 1930’s film

Update: Due to the unexpected interest in this screening of “Bougainville” and for your comfort the venue for the screening has been moved to the Training Room, above the Sir Michael Somare Library at UPNG. Posters and staff will guide you to the place

We also offer an alternative time for the film:the film will start at 12.00 as originally scheduled but another projection will be organized at 12.45

For more information feel free to contact me. Nicolas Garnier

The Melanesian and Pacific Studies centre invites you to watch the film:


  Bougainville is a film made between 1934 and 1935 and is probably the oldest film ever made on Bougainville Island. The quality of the film represents a technical challenge for such an early date and mostly represents an invaluable historical document on traditional Melanesian cultures.

 The film was made by Patrick O’Reilly a Marist priest who came to Bougainville as an ethnographer but who benefited of the support of the Catholic network which has developed all over the island at that time. Patrick O’Reilly was commissioned by the Trocadero Museum of Ethnography to document traditional cultures of Bougainville as a template for the future “Musée de l’Homme” which would be open in 1937 inParis. During his stay in Bougainville he collected over 1 000 artefacts today conserved at the Musée du Quai Branly inParis. During his stay in Bougainville Patrick O’Reilly focused on techniques and material culture and was able to document rituals and activities which have been lost or deeply modified since.

In his film Patrick O’Reilly remains very descriptive and pays a detailed attention to technical gestures. He was able to capture two pottery techniques: clay pipes and pottery (the last was technique was probably captured in the south of the island), and four important rituals: bonito capture in Kieta Bay, cremation in the Telei area, wedding and initiation in two undetermined locations. It also briefly features the sculptor Genu from Rorovana village whose internationally acclaimed achievements have inspired since three generations of carvers.

Venue: MAPS Office (KD 340), University of Papua New Guinea

Time Thursday 8th March 2012: 12.00pm


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