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Shark Callers

The Sharkcallers of Kontu depicts the ancient tradition of ‘sharkcalling’ in the village of Kontu, on the remote west coast of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea. There are only a few men remaining who use magic to call, trap and kill sharks by hand from their small outrigger canoes. Making this very old and extraordinary practice the spine of the film, the filmmaker also weaves in a compelling portrait of the daily life of the villagers. The Sharkcallers of Kontu explores the changes to cultural values and traditional customs wrought by colonisation, alcohol, commerce and Christianity. The film is beautifully shot in an observational style and makes memorable use of archival stills and interviews with villagers. Filmmaker Dennis O’Rourke narrates.

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