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The Representation of Childhood in Ethnographic Films of Siberian Indigenous Peoples

The Case of the Documentary Film Malen’kaia Katerina (Tiny Katerina)

Ivan Golovnev and Elena Golovneva

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.