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A WIFE AMONG WIVES

USA / Australia, 1974 (MIFF 1984)

Director: David MacDougall, Judith MacDougall

This is the last film in David and Judith MacDougall's award-winning trilogy."Turkana Conversations". (The two earlier films were "The Wedding Camels" and "Lorang's Way"). It is an inquiry into how the semi-nomadic Turkana of northwestern Kenya view marriage, filmed through a dry and wet season while the MacDougall's waited for the events that are chronicled in "The Wedding Camels" .

Beginning with their first uncertain queries, the film proceeds through the testimony of three remarkable sisters to the gradual unfolding of a marriage being planned in a neighbouring homestead. From the Turkana we begin to learn about the roles and attitudes of women in a society very different from our own: why a woman would want her husband to take a second wife, and how the system of polygamy can be a source of solidarity among women yet at other times ride rough-shod over the feelings of individuals.

The Turkana speak rationally about their choices. They are well aware of the conflicts between individual liberty and communal survival. This film attempts to show how Turkana culture—and by extension human culture—is a living thing, shaped by the people who carry it. In Turkana, with English sub-titles.

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