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The Tribal Eye: The Complete BBC Series [1975] [DVD]

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22 customer reviews

Price: £9.54 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: David Attenborough
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Aug. 2007
  • Run Time: 350 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000R343KS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,182 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

This DVD release features David Attenborough’s original 1975 Tribal Art: The Complete Series and includes all seven programmes commissioned for the BBC. Through the series, Attenborough gives viewers a fascinating guide to the world’s tribal art traveling to intriguing places and tribal communities.

Attenborough’s love of tribal art grew out of his early programme-making days at the BBC and took him to all corners of the world. From his first trips he accumulated souvenirs and eventually became a serious collector of tribal art. This series was commissioned shortly after he resigned from his job as Director of Programmes. He believed there was room on television for totem poles and masks as well as old master paintings. The resulting lavish series examined sculpture, weaving, metal casting and other artistic activities in tribal societies around the world.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Palmer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 July 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a great series. Not quite as high a standard as the best of the legendary 'sledgehammers' (Life on Earth, The Living Planet, etc.), but still leagues ahead of most TV offerings. Attenborough studied anthropology, and accidentally became an art collector. Both of these threads are combined in this highly interesting series.

This set comprises the seven original Tribal Eye programmes:

1) "Behind the Mask" - The Dogon people of Mali and their masks and rituals.
2) "Crooked Beak of Heaven" - Art and rituals of the 'First Nation' peoples of the Pacific Northwest. The colourful scuptures featured on the DVD cover are from this episode. I love this kind of art. Some examples appear, and to great spooky effect (albeit in black and white) in Jim Jarmuch's unusual moody 'Western' Dead Man.
3) "The Sweat of the Sun" - Latin America and gold!
4) "Kingdom of Bronze" - The bronze sculptures of Dahomey (these legendary artefacts are also covered in A History of the World in 100 Objects).
5) "Woven Gardens" - Persian Rugs.
6) "Man Blong Custom" - Melanesian tribes. Fans of Attenborough will know that, as a result of his frequent trips to this part of the world, he possesses pretty impressive and often amusing pidgin English skills.
7) "Across the Frontiers" - thoughts on anthropology reviewing the series.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By H. Lim on 16 Feb. 2010
Format: DVD
"The Tribal Eye" is a look by Attenborough at the persistence of unspeakably ancient tribal art and customs from prehistoric times into the 1970s. The first episode of Tribal Eye is my favourite, a look at Dogon wood carving and the Dogon religion and rituals, including a rare look at the porridge-coated figures inside the temples themselves. Another good episode is the one depicting the continuing tradition of naturalistic bronze portraiture in Benin. Both the Dogon and Benin are rare examples of unchanged primitive cultures that nevertheless make a large number of metal objects (iron objects among the Dogon, bronze in Benin).

However, I regard the best thing on the disc set, by far, to be the bonus two part documentary "The Miracle of Bali". Here Attenborough presents the Balinese culture in very interesting detail.

The first episode "Midday Sun" deals with what you might call the "bright, daytime" side of Balinese culture, with a detailed and fascinating look at the gamelan music and ladong dancers of Bali. The gamelan orchestra, which so fascinated Claude Debussy, is one of the few types of nonWestern music to use large orchestras with something like multi-part harmony, with many eerie local musical scales used only by a single village and no other.

The dancing is also really fascinating, a remnant of the Hindu princely culture of Java. This culture was brought to Bali when invading Muslims drove out the Hindu princes around 1500.

The second episode, however, is unmissable. Entitled "Night", it offers a very, very rare look at the "dark, nocturnal" side of Balinese Hinduism. Balinese Hinduism was formed from a combination of indigenous Javanese and Balinese paganism with Hinduism brought from India.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Collector on 11 July 2011
Format: DVD
This is a refreshing deviation from David Attenborough into the study of tribal man and his art. He approaches these topics with his usual excuberant enthusiasm and each episode is an in-depth look into particular areas of tribal art - North American indians and their totem poles or the gold craftwork of the Aztecs and Incas or tribal masks from Africa - one often feels that when these films were shot in the 1970's this was one of the last opportunities to see these peoples before the 'civilized' (or uncivilized) world changed them forever. Unique television.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Simon Goodwin on 8 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I found this series amazing and informative. The quality is actually very high, considering it was filmed over 35 years ago - it seems that Mr Attenborough has always been associated with top quality output.

Because of its age, it is actually a valuable record of cultures which have now almost certainly have been wiped out or irreversibly changed due to exposure to the growing western world. Sir David interviews one tribesman who personally remembers a British invasion party in 1897! Again considering when it was filmed, Attenborough is remarkably free from condescension - his trademark enthusiasm and genuine fascination is all too apparent.

I haven't even watched the Bali 3-part special yet, as far as I'm concerned the seven parts of the main series are more than worth the money on their own.

Warning: Those viewers of a fragile disposition may need warned that one sequence shows the veritable Sir David dressed in nothing but a grass thong...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Antony on 14 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you enjoy David's documentary it is worth getting this one. Since it was filmed in the 1970s some of these tribes still showed how they originally lived and Westernisation had not fully taken effect in some of these areas, so I think this documentary got to them just in time. Since I think if these places were visited today they would not have as many people alive that still knew the olds ways. Worth watching I learnt a lot watching this.
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