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Bontoc Eulogy

Artist in Person (correction: couldn't make it) Markod sought adventure and new sights traveling to America. He found them at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. But Markod was an exhibit-one of eleven hundred natives brought to the fair from the "Philippine Reservation"-and part of the largest "ethnological display rack" the world has ever seen. Bontoc Eulogy is a compelling reconstruction of the painful story of Filipinos who were brought to America as curiosities, then used as commodity for the profit of the exhibitors of the World's Fair and fairs throughout the country. With remarkable archival footage and well-produced recreations, Marlon Fuentes has made a powerful work that speaks to the complications of telling history; to the involvement of subject, maker, and viewer, both in the retelling and in the actual history. Fuentes imagines Markod as his own grandfather, who may have been displayed side by side with other marvels at the fair. He also doesn't spare the "truth" of his people and their culture of violence and "primitivism." One watches with utter fascination this history of the Filipino/Other in this country, and one is forced to question assumptions about ethnic identity, place, and power in contemporary life everywhere in the "developed" world.

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