John Frum and the Big Death: World War II and the Pacific Islanders

Location:Vanuatu; Solomon Islands
Subject:Cargo Cult
Length:28 minutes
Format:16 mm; VHS-PAL
Year Released:
Library Code:UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 12376
Description:During the war, supplies for American troops were regularly unloaded on Tanna in Vanuatu by a pilot who introduced himself simply as "John from USA." The islanders came to believe that "John Frum" was a god who would bring riches from the sky. Later, when an American Red Cross medical officer visited the area, the Tannese associated his airplane with John Frum and took the insignia of the cross as their symbol. Attempts by church and government to stamp out the cult of John Frum as the reincarnation of an ancient deity have failed. A different sort of legend centers on the crash of a B-17 off Guadalcanal after a bombing run in September 1942. The final segment is a visual exploration of the grim remains of World War II scattered throughout the Pacific -- rotting carcasses of metal transformed over the years into strange sculptures overgrown with flowers and jungle vines, seaweed and barnacles, home to uncounted creatures of sea and land.
Record No:942
Resources: Distributors's List

If you see any mistakes in this record, please notify the database maintainer (