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Clips (4)

  1. Part one of three from this full length documentary.

  2. Part two of three from this full length documentary.

  3. Part three of three from this full length documentary.


Tattooing — "The world's oldest skin game" — is the subject of this documentary made by Geoff Steven who scored a major coup when he obtained the services of Peter Fonda as his presenter. Shot in NZ, Samoa, Japan and the United States, it traces the history of tattooing from Ancient Egypt through its tribal importance in the Pacific, to a counter culture renaissance that began in the 1960s. Leading practitioners (including superstar Ed Hardy) are interviewed and observed at work, while their clients wince their way towards becoming living canvasses.

Credits (7)

 Geoff Steven
 Andrew Ennever
 Piers Davies

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Comments (4)



The young Maori guy with the Ta Moko is my stepdad. Going to post it on FB, see his reaction (lol). (clip 1)



wow, this brings back a pile of memories and I'm grateful to be here to see it again. I'm in part 2 @ 6:50, winged creature on my left shoulder. Still getting inked to this day ;)



Never seen his before, very interesting, thanks for sharing.



wow i still have this on video from 84!


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There’s a certain percentage of the populace everywhere always that will want to be tattooed and I’m sure none of us will every fully understand why. And that’s part of the attraction. 
Long after the price is forgotten, you still have your tattoo 
Most everyone that comes in here treats us real good. I guess they better since they’re going to be on the other end of the needle. 


1985 San Francisco Film Festival
Best Arts and Humanities Documentary 

Released at: Chicago Film Festival (October 1984)