Ethnographic Misrepresentation through Voodoo Dolls

In our discussion of misrepresentation of indigenous tribes through cinema, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom acts as a perfect example of a complete ignorance to indigenous tribes of India. In fact when I have to admit the first and only time I watched the film, I came in halfway through, and was sure that the indigenous people were from South America. But I digress. Aside from the dinner scene which is just a comical representation of the culture there was something that I couldn’t get over and that was the use of Voodoo Dolls in the film. As we watched it I felt as though something was off,  so I decided to investigate and looked up the culture origins of Voodoo dolls. And the reality is it’s something that comes from New Orleans and can be traced back to Western African cultures. But the film uses as a action ploy to heighten the tension. It’s true that the film does much worse but it’s interesting to note how far the creators of this film takes the audience ignorance in order to create an action packed block buster.

One thought on “Ethnographic Misrepresentation through Voodoo Dolls”

  1. You’re spot on with this. In my opinion, it isn’t even a good action movie. Most of the action is just swinging some pipes, rocks, and fists, and a little wrestling. The lack of continuity at so many points in the film really pulled me out of any action on screen. The most obvious example is on the conveyor belt. Indie should have been paste about three times by the time Shorty actually saved him. I could not get into that kind of action. Maybe it’s just the 80s style, but I find it to be a huge mistake.

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