A Maori village is portrayed as shaped both by Western influence and by the forces of nature, rather than by the residents’ will.
The village, probably Ohinemutu on New Zealand’s North Island, is “modern, almost hyper-modern”, Colin Ross assesses in the middle of the sequence. This alleged modernity has two sources. One is the Western influence that is visible in the young women’s clothes and the houses strewn over the hills, the other the hot springs in the village area, which the residents use as hearth, bath tub, and central heating.
However, compared to Ross’s grand speculations about how to use Australia’s artesian wells to cultivate the land (see: “The sea below the desert”), their functions here are made to seem quaint, dictated more by nature than by the will of a people. As often in Ross’s writing and filmmaking, the modernity of native inhabitants is defined mainly as a loss of innocence. Here, a building formerly taboo is used as a pantry.
Colin Ross. Australien - Indien - Neuguinea - Neuseeland [archive title]
[Excerpt from] Colin Ross. Achtung Australien! Achtung Asien! Das Doppelgesicht des Ostens. Germany: Ufa/Ullstein; 1930.
reel 2: 35mm | b&w | sound | 522m | 24 fps | 19’
Master: 0001-01-0926_Australien_ROSS_Colin_XY_Omnimago_2016_PR422HQ_2048x1768_PCM_24fps.mov; 0:23:53,13-0:24:56,22