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Bird of the Thunderwoman

Australia, 1980 (MIFF 1983)

Director: David Parer

In the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea the Wola people are preparing for a long awaited event which they call the “Sa”. Unlike the materialists of the West, the Wola accumulate wealth only to give it away as gifts. They have no formal laws or police , and this continuous cycle of gift exchange helps to bind them together in a leaderless society. The traditional items of wealth -pigs , pearl shells and the cassowary , “the bird of the thunderwoman”, are highly valued by the Wola. The film shows how a small group of the Wola prepare for the “Sa” , and gives us an insight into their daily lives.

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