These beautifully drafted and sensitive presentations [including Women under Siege and The Price of Change] fill a large gap in anthropological filming. B. Aswad

25 minutes Colour 1982
Film-makers: Marilyn Gaunt and Elizabeth Fernea

The Middle Eastern use of the veil symbolizes for many Westerners oppression and constraint. Egypt in 1923 was the first Arab country where women cast off the veil. Now, sixty years later, women are taking back the veil of their own free will, wearing what they call Islamic dress. In exploring the reasons for this change, this film confronts stereotypes and replaces them with insight.

After the 1920s, middle-class Egyptian women began wearing Western clothes, but then, in the 1970s, some began to wear turbans and many now wear long skirts and veils. To understand this change, the film-makers interview several women. An office worker first began wearing modest dress when she was nineteen and at twenty-five is still wearing it. She says she does this because the Koran tells her to, and because in the office, the dress maintains her respectability in a country where women who work are considered shameful. A female engineer says she wears Islamic dress because it gives her more freedom of movement in her work.

The head of the Egyptian television news wears Western clothing but says she admires those women who do wear the Islamic dress. Another woman has decided to withdraw completely by wearing full Islamic dress with face covering and gloves. She does this for religious reasons, and her brother, who is conservative in his views, treats her choice with open respect. Yet this woman attends university, despite her attire. This is a point also made by four students. They say the modest dress takes courage and they respect those who wear it. Those who do not wear modest dress speak of themselves as less worthy than those who do. Some women who are interviewed dislike the change. Some of the older women who had much involvement with women's struggle for independence see the veil as a return to the old ways, representing the abandonment of hard-earned freedom. At the same time, women also see the dress as liberating, as a separation from the West, as a way of asserting themselves as Egyptians. And indeed, women are now studying in the mosque, learning the law themselves and seeking freedom through their own Islamic traditions. This film is powerful in portraying these changes and the motives behind them. Elizabeth Fernea has written a study guide that makes excellent background for those who wish to use the film in the classroom. This is available from: Elizabeth Fernea, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1193, USA. 

R.T. Antoun, 1968. `On the Modesty of Women in Arab Muslim Villages: A Study of the Accommodation of Traditions'. American Anthropologist, Vol. 70, pp. 671-97.

B. Aswad, 1985. Review of the film. American Anthropologist, Vol. 87, pp. 233-35.

L. Beck and N. Keddie, 1979. Women in the Muslim World. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass.

E. Fernea and R. Fernea, 1979. 'A Look Behind the Veil'. Human Nature, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 68-77.

E. Fernea, 1982. A Study Guide to the Film `A Veiled Revolution'. University of Texas Film Library, Austin Texas.

E. Fernea and R. Fernea, 1987. The Arab World. Anchor Press, New York.

N. Minai, 1981. Women in Islam. Seaview Books, New York.

J. Williams, 1979. `Return to the Veil in Egypt'. Middle Eastern Review, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 49-54.

If you are interested in hiring or purchasing this film please contact the Film Officer.

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The MacDougalls] capture and convincingly portray the Turkana as individuals who are caught up in their world and vicissitudes.B. Blount

72 minutes Colour 1981
Film-makers: David and Judith MacDougall

In this final segment of the MacDougalls' trilogy on the Turkana of northern Kenya, they consider the role of women in the society. The film begins with a diary as the MacDougalls allow the audience to follow them while they search for an elusive wedding they want to film. Along the way they stay with friends and talk with them about the role of Turkana women.

Three sisters talk about the parts of life that are important to them, the nomadic life, the traditions, taking care of the animals. The Turkana are polygamous and many men have five or more wives. When the MacDougalls ask about jealousy, one woman replies that they are talking about their own culture, not the Turkana. Among the Turkana a man is not fully married until he has more than one wife; to have only one wife is a misfortune. As a Turkana woman points out, a society that has only one wife per household is one where houses are bought and not built by the inhabitants. Wives need each other because of the work they do. A wife alone would carry a heavy burden, building the house, taking care of the herds, and seeing to all the other parts of life. A first wife is often the one who asks her husband to take a second wife and no new wife is chosen without the approval of the other wives.

The MacDougalls continue their stay as the wedding season approaches. They keep asking about prospective marriages but everyone is vague. Only God knows when a marriage will be. Strangers begin to arrive in the area, however. They are men looking for wives. They play games, talk, and wait. Finally Kongu wants to take Akai, a woman young enough to be his daughter, as his fifth wife and negotiations for the bridewealth begin. A problem is evident when Akai doesn't want to get married and runs away. According to one man, women have recently begun to go off with men of their own choosing.

The MacDougalls use a provocative style for this film, asking the Turkana about their ideas for relevant questions and about which important aspects of life they should film. At one point they give the camera to a Turkana woman and ask her to film.

It is suggested that this film be shown with the other films of the "Turkana Conversations" trilogy (Lorang's Way and The Wedding Camels, both discussed in the RAI Film Library Catalogue, Volume I). Catalogue number (16mm): 7RA100 £21.

G. Best, 1983. Culture and Language of the Turkana, N.W. Kenya. Carl Winter, Heidelberg. [A linguistic analysis.]

B. Blount, 1984. Review of the film. American Anthropologist, Vol. 86, pp. 803-6.

University of Durham, 1983. Durham University South Turkana Expedition. Durham.

P.H. Gulliver, 1955. The Family Herds: A Study of Two Pastoral Tribes on East Africa , the Jie and Turkana. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.

P.H. Gulliver, 1960. `Jie Marriage'. In S. Ottenberg and P. Ottenberg (eds.) Cultures and Societies of Africa. Random House, New York.

D. MacDougall, 1975. `Beyond Observational Cinema.' In P. Hockings (ed.)Principles of Visual Anthropology, Mouton, The Hague.

D. MacDougall, 1978. `Ethnographic Film: Failure and Promise'. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 7, pp. 405-25.

D. MacDougall, 1982. `Unprivileged Camera Style'. RAIN, No. 50, pp. 8-10.

C. Young, 1982. `MacDougall Conversations'. RAIN, No. 50, pp. 5-8.

If you are interested in hiring or purchasing this film please contact the Film Officer.

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ACROSS THE TRACKS: THE VLACH GYPSIES OF HUNGARY

`Across the Tracks' is a gripping film for the general viewer ... It is beautifully filmed in observational style (lingering scenes of muddy courtyards) with enough subtitled interview material to provide context. A. Sutherland

51 minutes Colour 1988
Film maker: John Blake
Anthropologist: Michael Stewart

Rom is the word that describes Vlach Gypsies, unassimilated descendents of Gypsy slaves in Wallachia in Romania in the 19th century. A larger group, the Romungro, are more obviously part of Hungarian society: they speak Hungarian, not Romany. Romungros are the people who play violins in restaurants; `true' Rom, the Vlach, wouldn't dream of it. The total Gypsy population in Hungary forms 3% of the population-the same proportion as people of Asian or Caribbean origin in Britain.

The film explores the Vlach Gypsies' position in socialist Hungary through the eyes of three related families. Maron and her husband Jozi are compelled by government policy to work in conventional jobs. The Rom consider this a step towards becoming more like the gazo-the contemptuous Romany term for all Hungarians, meaning `peasants'.

Jozi's first wife, Terez, and her husband Mokus try to realise their dreams in a different fashion. Terez scavenges in rubbish bins for bread to fatten pigs which she hopes to sell for Mokus to buy horses. Mokus reluctantly works in a factory but wants to be a horse dealer like his brother-in-law, Sera. Sera is disqualified from work by a `dubious' disability, and instead buys and sells horses, `turning money around, so that more comes to me.'

The market is central to the Gypsy economy, but it is not seen as a means of accumulating wealth. The market exists to circulate wealth, to ensure that money passes through as many hands as possible-so that all may benefit from it. If a Gypsy acquires money, he is expected to celebrate with his friends, his `brothers'. Horses are like temporary bank deposits, ready to be exchanged or cashed in when a `brother' needs money.

This film provides an interesting view of the tensions between the Hungarian state and the Gypsies, and of the complex contradictions of the Gypsies' lives. It was made for Granada Television's Disappearing World series and is recommended for classes in anthropology, sociology, European studies, ethnicity, ecology, and political studies.

J. Okely, 1984. The Traveller-Gypsies. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

M. Stewart, 1989. `True Speech'. Man N.S., Vol. 24, pp. 79-101.

A. Sutherland, 1975. Gypsies: The Hidden Americans. Tavistock, London.

A. Sutherland, 1989. Review of the film. Anthropology Today, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 20-21.

This catalogue was a cooperative effort and would have never been possible had it not been for the help of many people. Firstly I wish to thank my fellow staff at the RAI, particularly Jonathan Benthall and Eileen Walters, for their support and encouragement. Polly Strauss helped considerably in the final weeks of production. The editorial advice that James Woodburn gave me was invaluable. Karen Godden helped put the manuscript in final form, and Gustaaf Houtman did the lay-out. The RAI Film Committee, who first envisioned this catalogue, gave continual advice and support. Here I must particularly thank David Turton, who chairs the Film Committee.

Although I have written most of the entries, some have been either partly or largely written by the filmmakers involved, and those in the Other People's Lives series have been largely compiled from summaries of the films that were written by the relevant anthropologists and published in a booklet of the same title by the RAI. Some of the entries for films in the People of the Western Desert series are copied directly from the 1982 RAI Film Catalogue (ed. James Woodburn). This is noted further in the test. Other anthropologists have also greatly assisted with the bibliographies. To all of these contributors I offer my grateful appreciation. Finally I wish to thank Mauro Nascimento for his personal support.

These people gave their help and advice, but I alone am of course completely responsible for the completed manuscript, and for any errors or omissions.

`Across the Tracks' is a gripping film for the general viewer ... It is beautifully filmed in observational style (lingering scenes of muddy courtyards) with enough subtitled interview material to provide context. A. Sutherland

51 minutes Colour 1988
Film maker: John Blake
Anthropologist: Michael Stewart

Rom is the word that describes Vlach Gypsies, unassimilated descendents of Gypsy slaves in Wallachia in Romania in the 19th century. A larger group, the Romungro, are more obviously part of Hungarian society: they speak Hungarian, not Romany. Romungros are the people who play violins in restaurants; `true' Rom, the Vlach, wouldn't dream of it. The total Gypsy population in Hungary forms 3% of the population-the same proportion as people of Asian or Caribbean origin in Britain.

The film explores the Vlach Gypsies' position in socialist Hungary through the eyes of three related families. Maron and her husband Jozi are compelled by government policy to work in conventional jobs. The Rom consider this a step towards becoming more like the gazo-the contemptuous Romany term for all Hungarians, meaning `peasants'.

Jozi's first wife, Terez, and her husband Mokus try to realise their dreams in a different fashion. Terez scavenges in rubbish bins for bread to fatten pigs which she hopes to sell for Mokus to buy horses. Mokus reluctantly works in a factory but wants to be a horse dealer like his brother-in-law, Sera. Sera is disqualified from work by a `dubious' disability, and instead buys and sells horses, `turning money around, so that more comes to me.'

The market is central to the Gypsy economy, but it is not seen as a means of accumulating wealth. The market exists to circulate wealth, to ensure that money passes through as many hands as possible-so that all may benefit from it. If a Gypsy acquires money, he is expected to celebrate with his friends, his `brothers'. Horses are like temporary bank deposits, ready to be exchanged or cashed in when a `brother' needs money.

This film provides an interesting view of the tensions between the Hungarian state and the Gypsies, and of the complex contradictions of the Gypsies' lives. It was made for Granada Television's Disappearing World series and is recommended for classes in anthropology, sociology, European studies, ethnicity, ecology, and political studies. Catalogue number (VHS):RA/VHS185.

J. Okely, 1984. The Traveller-Gypsies. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

M. Stewart, 1989. `True Speech'. Man N.S., Vol. 24, pp. 79-101.

A. Sutherland, 1975. Gypsies: The Hidden Americans. Tavistock, London.

A. Sutherland, 1989. Review of the film. Anthropology Today, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 20-21.

If you are interested in hiring or purchasing this film please contact the Film Officer.

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