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Rain-making ritual shown
. Fifty Australian aborigines, members of the Myall tribe from the Nullarbor Plain, danee their spectacular rain-making cor- roboree in a sequence of "Kangaroo," the technicolor film made by 20th Century-Fox
ia South Australia.
THE aborigines per-
formed the corroboree on an area of smooth, red vi nd above eucalypt-lined Spear Creek, 18 miles from Port Augusta.
While they danced, execu- tives and staff associated with "Kangaroo" watched, and fol- lowed an explanation of the rain-making ritual given by Australian ethnologist Charles P Mountford and technical adviser Colin Simpson.
Utogether, five dances were performed - the rain-making rite, the Kipara or Wild Tur krv Dance, the Mamu or Dance of the Evil Spirits, the
Tarrawunba Dance, and what the performers would call a "playabout" dance.
At the beginning of the rain- making corroboree an old
rainmaker is seated on the
ground rubbing the sacred rain-stone, the ringili, across a flat boulder covered with blood. Seated on either side of
him are three aborigines chanting magical songs.
In aboriginal mythology the pearl-shell rain-stone is a con-
centrated mass of kuranita
(life essence) of the water. When fragments of it arc re- moved by rubbing, they are believed to go into the sky.
and, aided by rain-making rites, form into clouds.
A linc of painted men, dan- cing sinuously, enter thc scene carrying a painted symbol of the rainbow serpent. In abor- iginal lore, this serpent lives in caverns and in thc clouds.
As the dancers circle and spread thc rain essence upward by brandishing their boomer- angs, four grotesquely decor- ated figures suddenly appear. These are the Mamu-wati
(devil men), who muk be de- stroyed.
The dancers advance on the Mamu-wati, who are overcome and fall to the ground. The dancers pass over them with a wild shout, throwing their boomerangs into the sky to
cut the clouds and allow the rain to fall.
Few white people have ever before seen the strange ritual. Even aboriginal women and uninitiated youths are for- bidden to do so. But, when "Kangaroo" is released, film goers will view in the corrobo- ree authentic expressions of an ancient culture.
SERPENT DESIGN of the shield of a towering aboriginal dancer intrigues Mr. Robert Snody, associate-producer of the
technicolor production "Kangaroo."
OLD RAINMAKER, leith singers seated on the ground, rubs a decorated pearl-shell across a stone. Behind him dancers throw
their boomerangs into the air.
ETHNOLOGIST Charles P. Mountford, who is an authority on aboriginal dances, and director Lewis Milestone tieft) inspect two of the prin- cipal dancers before the rainmaking corroboree.
TO THE RHYTHMIC CHANT of singers in the right fore- ground, gaily decorated dancers show American film men making "Kangaroo" near Port Augusta the dance of the
Mamu-wati (devil men).
MRS. LEWIS MILESTONE, wife of the film's director, finds some fascinating sub- jects for her cine-camera.