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Identifier: Film Collection no. 261

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the AMNH Queeny African Expedition, 1950. This film depicts the Latuko (i.e. Lotuko) a tribe residing in the province of Equatoria, Sudan. The scenes were unrehearsed but organized thematically around the coming of age of the young man Lonuha. The story takes place in the village of Tirangole, home of the Iago clan, and the daily life of the Latuko is meticulously and beautifully filmed. The women, adorned with goat-skin lappets and ornamental scars on the skin, industriously gather castor beans, winnow millet, tan hides, fetch water, and mend calabashes. Some young boys practice spear throwing, while other children submit to the rite of tooth extraction. Men are pictured in communal conversation and game playing (ekonda). Lonuha bleeds one of the cattle by shooting its jugular vein with a blunt arrow. The narrator erroneously states that Lonuha drinks the blood of the animal for the first time, as part of a rite of passage (blood is a staple of the Latuko diet). There is a sequence of a blacksmith and helpers that shows the stone tools and the skin bellows employed. The blacksmith gives Lonuha a spear to use in the upcoming hunt. The next part of the film is an extraordinary sequence depicting the first hunt of the season. The lamonyremiyi ("Father of the Land," a hereditary office of Latuko spiritual affairs), in this case the woman Abolo'ne, ensures good fortune by making a mixture of charcoal and earth, spitting on it and, while chanting incantations, scattering it at the feet of the hunters. Because of her age, the second part of this blessing is performed by her son, who will succeed her as lamonyremiyi. He prostrates himself on the hunting field and exhorts the hunters to have courage. The hunters are then divided into two "horns," each "horn" consisting of a file of about 200 men. Following the blessing ceremonies, they fan out to encircle an area of five to ten square miles; all game within this perimeter is quarry. Lonuha bags a kongoni, or hartebeest, thereby becoming a hunter, and therefore a man. The next sequence is a vivid picture of Latuko women fishing. With their net bags made of sansevieria, or wild sisal, tied to their waists, two groups converge on a central point, trapping and catching the fish that they have driven between them. The soundtrack records their merriment and excitement. The last part of the film pictures the magicoreligious rites surrounding rainmaking. The kobu, or rainmaker, is the spiritual and temporal head of the Latuko. The entire rainmaking rite is shown, from the sacrifice of a black goat in front of the rain shrine, the blood of which is then rubbed on the rain stones, to the ma'lam, an extravagant dance celebrating the beginning of a new crop year. Music, dancing, performing varied costumes, drinking, and feasting are all presented in this climax, before the rain falls. The animals pictured in this film are fish eagles, giraffes, waterbucks, elephants, buffaloes, lions, warthogs, rhinoceroses, ostriches, scorpions, hyenas, pythons, crocodiles, and crowned cranes. This film was censored by censorship boards across the country when it was released; male nudity and secondarily, cruelty to animals were cited as the reasons. However, the only indecent aspect of the film is the ethnocentric narration that accompanies it.


  • 1950

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (49 minutes) : sound, color ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (49 minutes)) : sound, color ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 16mm. print.



Edgar M. Queeny and Fort B. Guerin, photographers; Charles L. Tedford, script; Paul E. Prentiss, narration; William K. Chulack, editor; Jack Clink, sound; produced and re-recorded at the Jarville Studios; RKO Radio Pictures, distributor.

Latuko, 1950
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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