This, the first film in renowned ethnographic filmmakers David and Judith MacDougall’s classic Turkana Conversations Trilogy, is a multifaceted portrait of Lorang, the head of the homestead and one of the important senior men of the Turkana. Because they are relatively isolated and self-sufficient, most Turkana (including Lorang’s son) see their way of life continuing unchanged into the future. But Lorang thinks otherwise, for he has seen something of the outside world.
“Lorang’s Way” is a study of a man who has come to see his society as vulnerable and whose traditional role in it has been shaped by that realization. The film explores Lorang’s personality and ideas through his conversations with the filmmakers, the testimony of his friends and relatives, and observation of his behavior with his wives, his children, and men of his own age and status.
In Turkana, with English subtitles.
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"Probably the finest aspect of the MacDougalls´ technique is the way their methods expose the basic structure of human interaction and create drama out of the movements and exchanges of daily life." — Ross Lansell and Peter Beilby, A Brief History of the Documentary
"Cannot fail to appeal to a wide audience and to prompt discussions in any teaching situation…. The film could be described as a ´philosophical essay´ which resists written description, so rich and detailed are its images and statements. In coming to know Lorang, it is possible to know something of the domestic, social, and psychological dimensions of Turkana life." — James Woodburn, Royal Anthropological Institute
"The point about ethnographic filmmakers acknowledging their own interactions with the people being filmed is a crucial one, and in this respect the MacDougalls´ work is exemplary. What is innovative about the MacDougalls´ films is precisely that they get away from the ´voice of authority´ of the omniscient narrator and establish instead the direct, open acknowledgement of their active first-person presentation of the different sorts of filmic material that comprise their films." — James Roy MacBean, in Film Quarterly
"In the Turkana Conversations the intertitles, in their mock-interactive structure, remain closely aligned with the particulars of person and place rather than appearing to issue from an omniscient consciousness. They show clear awareness of how a particular meaning is being produced by a particular act of intervention. this is not presented as a grand revelation but as a simple truth that is only remarkable for its rarity in documentary film." — Bill Nichols, Prof. of Cinema, San Francisco State Univ., in Film Quarterly
Prix Georges Pompidou (best ethnographic film), Cinema du Reel Festival, Paris