Was this 1909 Morobe film PNG’s first movie?
14 January 2023
MORRISET – ‘Aus dem Leben der Kate auf Deutsch-Neuguinea’ (‘From the life of the Kate in German New Guinea’ may well be the first moving film made in what is now Papua New Guinea.
It was the creation of Professor Richard Neuhauss (1855-1915), an ethnologist from Berlin on an expedition to German New Guinea in 1909.
I was very excited to find this 114 year old 16mm film about Kate’s life in German New Guinea.
It is black and white, as all those early films were, just 6½ minutes long and silent (the first moving pictures that talked appeared in 1926).
You can download it from the website linked to here.
Professor Neuhauss, as well as being the adventurous type, was interested in moving film production including processes whereby coloured films could be produced.
For this 1901 self-portrait at left, Neuhauss chose a bright tartan jacket which owed more to his interest in investigating film coloration than it did for stylish men’s clothing.
The film was apparently shot in coastal and inland areas of the Huon Gulf in Morobe Province and shows a variety of activities in village life.
These include collecting cooking bananas, smoking tobacco in rolls of leaves, a war dance using sticks as ‘weapons’ and ghost dancing with masks.
Early films from the German colonies, most of which came from Africa between 1906 and 1916, have found a home at the German Historical Museum in Berlin.
The technology then should have been able to capture (and was capable) the audio files accompanying the video file as well. Thanks regardless. Interesting record.
"The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades passed before sound motion pictures became commercially practical" - Sound Film, Wikipedia
Posted by: Corney Korokan Alone | 15 January 2023 at 08:17 AM
Thanks Phil. I thought so.
Much of the traditional 'bilas' in the film clips is consistent with areas I was familiar with in the Finschhafen, Sialum and Kate or Kotte (Lutheran Mission Language) speaking areas of the Huon Peninsular.
Mana Kopa, Mana Kopa.
Posted by: Paul Oates | 14 January 2023 at 08:28 PM
This link has got some geographic references Paul;
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 14 January 2023 at 03:02 PM
Any idea where these people were filmed Peter? Some of the head gear looks familiar.
Posted by: Paul Oates | 14 January 2023 at 02:04 PM