A Celebration of Origins

The people of the Tana ‘Ai region of Flores, Indonesia live in seven ceremonial domains, of which Wai Brama is the largest and the oldest. The people of Wai Brama are shifting cultivators, hunters and gatherers who, unlike their neighbors, have maintained their traditional ceremonial and social system. “A Celebration of Origins”, filmed in 1980, depicts the first celebration of these rituals since 1960. The rituals, which require the participation of the entire community, had been delayed by poor harvests and epidemics. The film focuses on a small group of ritual leaders who struggle to hold the celebration in the absence of the Source of the Domain, the ritual leader of the community, who died after initiating the rituals.