DER Documentary

The Al Hadji and His Wives


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by Jie Li
color, 50 min, 2006
subtitled in English and French




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The Al-Hadji and His Wives is a film portrait of a Mbororo Fulani patriarch, Al-Hadji Isa, his savvy wives, and their rebellious daughters. The documentary provides a glimpse into their everyday lives, religious and moral practices, as well as the political opinions the Al-Hadji has to offer from his particular corner of the world.

With a critical but sympathetic gaze, it also chronicles and investigates the process and rationale by which Amina, a 16-year-old daughter of the family, is forced into an unwanted marriage. While her attempted escape had been in vain, Amina has inscribed her silent protest on the walls of her mother's hut and onto the film, serving as a testimony of women's resistance and resilience under an oppressive patriarchy.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Taiwan Public Television (an earlier version), 2006
Bilan du Film Ethnographique at Musee de L'Homme, Paris, 2007
Parnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival, Parnu, Estonia, 2007
Africa World Documentary Film Festival, St. Louis, MO, 2007
Mostra International Ethnographic Film Festival, Brazil, 2007
Africa World Documentary Film Festival, Lagos, Nigeria, 2007
American Anthropological Association/S.V.A. Film Festival, Washington D.C., 2007
Days of Ethnographic Film, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2007
Second Prize in the Debut Competition, Moscow International Visual Anthropology Festival, Russia, 2007
Festival of Visual Culture, Finland, 2009
African Studies Association Conference, New Orleans, LA, 2009
Maine African Film Festival, 2010


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