This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Goona-goona epic" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Poster for Legong: Dance of the Virgins (1935)
Poster for Legong: Dance of the Virgins (1935)

"Goona-goona epic" refers to a particular type of native-culture exploitation film set in remote parts of the Far East, Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, and the South Pacific. These include documentaries (often of questionable authenticity) and dramas, both of which rely heavily on travelogue and stock footage scenes (and sometimes fabricated scenes) of semi-nude native peoples performing exotic rituals and customs.

In Hollywood trade magazines "goona-goona" was a descriptive word for films or photos showing women of color with bare breasts,[1] usually in a supposed spirit of ethnographic interest like National Geographic.

The word goona-goona comes from the 1932 film Goona-Goona, An Authentic Melodrama of the Island of Bali by Andre Roosevelt and Armand Denis.[2] Supposedly "goona-goona" is an aphrodisiac or "love powder" made from a narcotic plant. In Indonesian, the word actually means a type of evil magic[3] or a love spell cast upon an unwilling victim.[4]


See also


  1. ^ Fatimah Tobing Rony, The third eye: race, cinema, and ethnographic spectacle, p. 145 et seq.
  2. ^ Goona-Goona, An Authentic Melodrama of the Island of Bali website describing the film.
  3. ^ Rony, p. 148.
  4. ^ Unni Wikan, Managing Turbulent Hearts, A Balinese Formula for Living (University of Chicago Press, 1990).
  5. ^ "AFI|Catalog".