Signs Out of Time: The Story of Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thought I was getting a book and at first was put off by the idea of a DVD, but I found it to be fascinating and insightful and informative so I am glad I got it.Published on October 4, 2013 by Philip C. Wei
Lots of Info. on Marja Gimbutas, but I was disappointed that there wasn't more focus on the results of her research.Published on August 9, 2013 by Andrea Shalit
Great DVD, very interesting and informative. Life of a controversial woman in a male dominated field. Read morePublished on August 5, 2009 by S. Goffstein