John Marshall

John Marshall

Actor, Director, Director of photography, Camera Operator

BIO

John Kennedy Marshall (November 12, 1932 – April 22, 2005) was an American anthropologist and acclaimed documentary filmmaker best known for his work in Namibia recording the lives of the Ju/'hoansi (also called the !Kung Bushmen).

Marshall first traveled to the Kalahari Desert and met the Ju/'hoansi of the Nyae Nyae area in 1949 on a trip initiated by his father. Throughout the 1950s and 1960's members of the Marshall family returned to the Kalahari Desert numerous times to conduct an ethnographic study of the Ju/'hoansi. From 1950-1958 Marshall filmed the hunting and gathering life of the Ju/'hoansi. His first edited film, The Hunters, was released in 1957 and was an almost instant classic of ethnographic film.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Marshall produced many short films about the Ju/'hoansi of Nyae Nyae and pursued other film projects in the United States. He was the cinematographer and co-director for Fred Wiseman's first documentary film, Titicut Follies. In 1968-1969, he shot, edited and directed the ground-breaking Pittsburgh Police series of short films. In 1968, Marshall and Tim Asch founded Documentary Educational Resources, a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating the use of cross-cultural documentaries in the classroom.

Marshall became involved in grassroots organizing and development in Nyae Nyae in the 1980s, forming a foundation that would become the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia and devoting himself to advocating on behalf of the Ju/'hoansi. In 2003, the Society for Visual Anthropology bestowed on Marshall a lifetime achievement award for his work among the hunter gatherer society.

Marshall's documentary footage and edited films and videos of Ju/'hoansi are held at the Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution. Known officially as the John Marshall Ju/'hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection, 1950–2000, the collection was added to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register for documentary heritage of world importance in July 2009.

Birthday

Nov. 12, 1932

Known for

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Baobab Play

Children and teenagers throw sticks, berries, and leaves at each other from perches in a large ba... Read more

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The Meat Fight

In this film, an argument arises between two bands when an antelope killed by a hunter from one b... Read more

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A Curing Ceremony

Sha//ge, a very young woman about to have her first child, falls ill, probably with malaria. /Ti!... Read more

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The Wasp Nest

In this film, a group of women and children gather sweet, fresh /ole berries and sha roots. The y... Read more

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A Group of Women

Ju/'hoan women often share an intimate sociability and spend many hours together discussing their... Read more

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A Joking Relationship

This film depicts a moment of flirtation between N!ai, the young wife of /Gunda, and her great-un... Read more

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Playing with Scorpions

Between 1950 and 1958, John Marshall made four expeditions to film the Ju/'hoansi (a group of !Ku... Read more

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N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman

This film provides a broad overview of Ju/'hoan life, both past and present, and an intimate port... Read more

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A Rite of Passage

This film, shot in 1952-53, documents the scarification ceremony called "marking" which was tradi... Read more

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A Kalahari Family Part One: A Far Country

Encapsulating 50 years of Namibian history, A Kalahari Family represents a lifetime of documentat... Read more

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N/um Tchai: The Ceremonial Dance of the !Kung Bushmen

Tchai is the word used by Ju/'hoansi to describe getting together to dance and sing; n/um can be ... Read more

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The Hunters

The Hunters is a 1957 ethnographic film that documents the efforts of four !Kung men (also known ... Read more

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N!owa T'ama: The Melon Tossing Game

Women from three separate Ju/'hoan bands have gathered at a mangetti grove at !O to play an inten... Read more

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Debe's Tantrum

In this film a five-year-old named Debe refuses to let his mother Di!ai go gathering without him.... Read more

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Men Bathing

In Nyae Nyae, water often remains in open pans. Sometimes if the rains have been heavy, water sta... Read more