1961-1970DocumentaryEthnographic CinemaSusie BenallyUSA

Susie Benally – Through Navajo Eyes: A Navajo Weaver (1966)

A Navajo Weaver
Susie chose to depict her mother as she wove a rug. The film starts with a series of short shots showing a Navajo woman weaving at her loom. It then turns to the job of raising the sheep, shearing the wool, digging yucca roots for soap with which to wash the wool, carding and spinning, walking, digging and searching for roots with which to make dye, dying the wool, and putting the warp on the loom. Interspersed with these activities are large sections showing the mother walking and searching for the various materials necessary to make and to complete all these stages in the process of weaving. When towards the end of the film, after 15 minutes have gone by, the mother actually begins to weave the rug, we see interspersed shots of Susie’s little brother mounting his horse and taking care of the sheep, the sheep grazing, and various other activities around the hogan.

The film only shows about three inches of a six-foot rug being actually woven, and only about 4 minutes of actual weaving. It jumps from the last shot which shows the mother handling the wool on the loom to the final shots which have the mother standing inside the hogan holding up a series of finished rugs. These are always shown in close-ups and long shots with the rugs held both horizontally and vertically. The same sequence is repeated with a different set of rugs with the mother standing outside the hogan. Of particular note in this film is the fact that there is only one close-up of a face-the “I am thinking about the design” shot which we mention in our analysis.
-Sol Worth & John Adair

251MB | 23:19.220 | 592×448 | avi



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