DER Documentary

Changa Revisited

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by Peter Biella and Leonard Kamerling
color, 61 min, 2016
in Maasai
with English subtitles


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Changa Revisited is the story of Tanzania Maasai elder Toreto ole Koisenge and his family, seen from two points in time across a thirty year divide. His life has drastically changed since anthropologist Peter Biella first visited his home thirty years ago. Then he had six hundred cattle. Now disease has reduced his herd to twenty. The world of Maasai pastoralists has gotten smaller and smaller since the Tanzania government forced them to live in permanent villages and end the seasonal cattle migrations. “The world is upside-down…what can you do except change?” says Toreto.

The film draws on hundreds of photographs and audio recordings taken in 1980 by Peter Biella. These images, woven with contemporary video footage, create a deeply personal portrait of the unfolding of a family's life through three decades of tumultuous change.

“A beautiful, heart-rending unfolding of a man's life and how it affects and alters the life around him. What is perfectly conveyed is how larger "social forces" push at, sway and block him, and yet, amid which he is clearly also responsible for how he lives. The film doesn't presume to provide an "answer". These are people whose lives, and life together, even as solidarity has failed, are respected by the film.” — Katherine McNamara, Publisher, Artist's Proof Editions

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