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Signs Out of Time: The Story of Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Signs Out Of Time examines the life and work of world-renowned archaeologist Dr. Marija Gimbutas. Drawing from her extensive knowledge of mythology and linguistics, Lithuanian-born Gimbutas uncovered the life-affirming and goddess-worshipping civilizations of pre-historic "Old Europe." Weaving together footage of Gimbutas herself, as well as interviews with her supporters and critics, Signs Out Of Time reveals a visionary scholar whose theories challenged the "establishment" of her time and influenced a generation of scholars, feminists, and social thinkers.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00199PPDI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,392 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Women & Spirituality

I found Signs Out of Time to be incredibly informative. I, and I suspect most Americans, have little knowledge of prehistoric societies. As one of the archaelogists in the film notes, for most of us, civilization begins at Sumer and Egypt, and war has always been a fact of life. This film highlights the existence of Eastern European prehistoric societies (some rather large) that created art, song, and dance, and lived largely in egalitarian harmony, free of violence. A controversial figure in the dry, methodical, male-dominated field of archaelogy, Lithuanian-born Marija Gimbutas argued that many of the civilizations of Neolithic Europe were Goddess-worshipping, even matriarchal societies.
Signs Out of Time chronicles Marija Gimbutas' life as well as her fascinating discovery, and with an even hand, dares to ask a very big philosophical question: Does human civilization really have to be the way it is, so full of strife? Rarely has so much fascinating material been concisely presented in the course of one hour.
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Just as minorities have been portrayed as violent for various political and economic agendas (i.e. - blacks and Native Americans portrayed as 'savages' to rationalize the injustices perpetrated by 'civilized' Anglos), there has been a similar defamation campaign against the human species as a whole. Elites quite consciously try to convince people of their barbarism to justify the military establishments and prison complexes they build and profit from Why We Fight America's Prisons: The Movement Toward Profit and Privatization. For example, not a day goes by over the right-wing airwaves when they aren't trying to tell their audience about how dangerous and threatening and irrational people are; of course, they then present themselves as the rational protectors of the people as they divide the general public and concentrate wealth and power in their own hands Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy.
Gimbutas's reading of history undercuts the efforts of authoritarian ideologues to convince us that life inevitably is 'nasty and brutish', as Hobbes asserted. Rather, human nature and the societies we develop are capable of much more than the madness we see in so many Hollywood films and D.C. policies. Predictably, her unorthodox archaeolgy has been met with much criticism, but there is a growing number of scholars who agree that humans are much more peaceful than corporate warlords want us to believe.
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SIGNS OUT OF TIME is driven by the personal life-narrative of Dr. Maria Gimbutas (who has often times been referred to as the female Joseph Campbell.) She was an archaeologist and intellectual whose bold theories endeavored to rediscover lost elements of ancient human cultures. Through its examination of Gimbutas's story, the film entices the viewer to consider not only the tenacity and integrity she displayed in her life, but also the implications of the ideas that her work was guided by.

Gimbutas focused much of her effort on discerning the meaning of ancient art and symbols and in doing so helped to reveal the goddess-worshiping facets of the societies of "old Europe" and its connection to a mystical reverence of nature. Her visionary approach to archeology drew from a unique background in linguistics, mythology, and folklore.

Such an interesting character makes for the perfect impetus for an engaging and thought-provoking documentary. But rather than let the aptitude of the premise do all of the work, the filmmakers behind SIGNS deftly integrate archival footage and animation into the structure of the films narrative. Even if you lack an intense interest in archeology per se, SIGNS OUT OF TIME delves deeply into the life of a woman truly worthy of having her story through film.
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I don't know whether it's the mix of religious, scholarly and mainstream pop culture appreciation and assistance for Marija's work, or whether it's the fact that I'm just so dang happy that these kinds of things are available to us in this modern age, but I absolutely love this movie.

It could be longer -- Marija conducted so much research, and some things have since changed/been updated since her passing -- and I hope they make more at some point as part of a series on women's history, which has been given the short shrift for the past 1000 years in much of Western education.
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