The Wedding Camels


Release Date: January 1, 1980

Status: Released

Running time: 1h 43m

Filming Locations: Kenya

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In this, the second film in renowned ethnographic filmmakers David and Judith MacDougall's classic Turkana Conversations Trilogy, one of Lorang's daughters, Akai, is going to marry one of his friends and age-mates, Kongu. Because of the close ties between the two men everything should go smoothly, but the pressures within the two families are such that the wedding negotiations over the bridewealth become increasingly tense. Arranging the number and type of animals to be given as bridewealth demands an intricate balance between psychology and economics: Kongu must offer enough animals to please Lorang and his relatives, but not so many that he appears weak or foolish, or depletes his own family's herds. Negotiations drag on for several days, then threaten to break down altogether. The outcome depends not only on traditional patterns of behavior, but also on the influence exerted by Lorang's wives and the manner in which Lorang chooses to resolve the dilemma that confronts him.

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The Wedding Camels is an ethnographic film directed by David MacDougall and Judith MacDougall, filmed in 1974 and released in 1980 (108 min., Turkana with English subtitles), that examines the negotiations and cultural practices that surround the tradition of the Turkana people of Kenya of giving a bridewealth before a wedding. The film was funded and distributed by the University of California Extension Center for Media.

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