This article investigates the representation of childhood in ethnographic films among the indigenous peoples of the Russian North. The article focuses on the documentary film Malen’kaia Katerina (Tiny Katerina; Ivan Golovnev 2004), which depicts the childhood of a Khanty girl in northwestern Siberia. The article employs the concept of ethnocinema as a synthesis of scientific and aesthetic approaches for perceiving and understanding traditional culture. Based on field diary recordings, reflections on the anthropological knowledge of childhood are represented via the audiovisual medium. Particular attention is paid to the visual representation of the world of childhood in traditional Khanty culture, including the child’s relation to nature, the world of adults, games, and the development of gender identity.
Ivan Golovnev, PhD, is a researcher at the Institute of History and Archeology, Ural branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, film director, and a member of the Russian Filmmakers Union.
Elena Golovneva, PhD, is associate professor of Cultural Studies at the Institute for Arts and Humanities, Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, Russia. Her scientific interests include visual studies, cultural geography, ethnic and regional identity, as well as contemporary religious practices.