French explorer and director Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau traveled to what was then Dutch New Guinea to film a trek into deep jungle, up mountains measured in thousands of feet, and into high plateaus, just to make this documentary. Since this area was not a spot where camera crews had gone before, Le Ciel et la Boue called attention to itself almost immediately. As admirable and daring as the expedition was -- Gaisseau and his crew had to be dropped provisions when they ran out -- it is regrettable that more ethnological research did not precede the trip. The people Gaisseau incredibly terms "pygmies" are the Una, and while Gaisseau considers them stone age (not without merit), much of their culture and art and beliefs remain a glaring blank in this documentary. In later epoches other explorers like Lorne and Lawrence Blair would go in with cameras and come out with an impressive and entertaining compendium of sights, sounds, and information that educated along the way.
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