Long Eyes of the Earth

Rental Format(s): 16mm film

Music: Yvar Mikhashoff, "Looking Through the Air" from the trilogy "Elemental Figures"; Poem: "Shaman" by Paul Schmidt; Piano: Anthony deMare; Narration: Paul Schmidt.

The shaman, or tribal priest, of the Papago Indians is a berdache. The berdache is a figure found in many aboriginal cultures and is considered to be a vessel of both male and female spirits. Moreover, the berdache is often a cross-dressing, homosexual male. The berdache is considered to be especially blessed by the gods.

The United States government asked the Papagos to give up use of a sacred mountain so that a high-powered telescope could be installed at the site. After long negotiations, the citizens decided it was okay for the construction to take place if the Papagos would be allowed to consecrate the building with their rituals. They also assumed the right to name the observatory. It was called "The Long Eyes of Earth."

The intent of the film is to approach ritual as a way of seeing. The images are an attempt to tap the same spirit that might be invoked by a berdache. As an elemental figure, the berdache is close to nature and all its components. As a gay man, I am interested in the link between sexual identity, spirituality, and creativity. In that spirit, this film is made.

Rental Fees

16mm film $50.00  

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