||Produced by Judith MacDougall,David MacDougall. 1980.
The Turkana are a group of semi?nomadic pastoralists who inhabit a harsh environment of dry thorn country in north?western Kenya. The film chronicles a series of events which surround the marriage of Lorang's daughter Akai to Kongu, his age?mate. A large section of the film is concerned with a dispute which arises over the number and size of large and small animals ? goats and camels ? to be given as bridewealth to Lorang and his kin. Kongu proclaims his poverty, whilst Lorang seeks unsuccessfully to obtain sufficient animals to meet what he sees as the just claims of himself and his relatives. This dispute is not confined to the two men and by the end of the film there are two parties composed of relatives and other interested persons putting forward their own accounts of the dispute.
By concentrating on a single theme, the film is able to show the views of the participants in their full richness and detail. The MacDougalls deploy a technique of filming which has been termed 'participatory camera' (Hockings, 1975, pp.109?124) which depends for its success on skilful sound and camera work and on an intimate knowledge of the people themselves. The Wedding Camels explores the values, attitudes and expectations of the people. One says 'We Turkana are not farmers and so children are our gardens'. Remarks such as this are shown in context and fully subtitled as are interviews and asides, allowing the Turkana to speak for themselves about their own lives. A beautiful and fascinating picture of these pastoralists is presented which cannot fail to appeal to a wide audience and to prompt discussions in any teaching situation in which a film of this length is acceptable.
The MacDougalls have also made a second film ? Lorang's Way (see entry) ? about these same individuals.
1 videocassette (108 min.) : sd., color ; 1/2 in
Turkana Conversations Trilogy
Directed and edited by Judith and David MacDougall
Camera: David MacDougall
Sound: Judith MacDougall
Social life and customs, marriage