Sky Above and Mud Beneath

Sky Above and Mud Beneath (French: Le Ciel et la boue), also released as The Sky Above –The Mud Below,[1] is a 1961 French documentary film. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature[2][3] and was entered into the 1961 Cannes Film Festival.[4]

Sky Above and Mud Beneath
Directed byPierre Dominique Gaisseau
Produced byArthur Cohn
René Lafuite
Written byPierre Dominique Gaisseau
CinematographyJean Bardes-Pages
Gilbert Sarthre
Edited byGeorges Arnstam
Distributed byThe Rank Organisation (France)
Release date
May 1961 (1961-05)
Running time
92 minutes

The film documented a 7-month, thousand-mile Franco-Dutch expedition led by Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau, into uncharted territories of what was then Netherlands New Guinea.[1] The expedition began in the northern region of the Asmat. The group interacted with tribes of cannibals, headhunters and Pygmies; battled leeches, hunger, and exhaustion; and discovered and named the Princess Marijke River, named after Princess Maria Christina (Marijke) of the Netherlands.[5]


  • Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau - team leader
  • Gérard Delloye - co-leader
  • Herve de Maigret - radio operator
  • Jan Sneep - liaison officer
  • Tony Saulnier-Ciolkkowski- photographer
  • William Peacock - Narrator (English version)


  1. Daniel Blum, Daniel Blum's Screen World 1963 (Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 1963), 185.
  2. "NY Times: Sky Above and Mud Beneath". NY Times. Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  3. "The 34th Academy Awards (1962) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  4. "Festival de Cannes: Sky Above and Mud Beneath". Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  5. Kenneth White Munden, The American Film Institute catalog of motion pictures produced in the United States, Issues 1921-1930 (University of California Press, 1971), 999.
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