DER Documentary

N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman

N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman
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From the !Kung series
by John Marshall and Adrienne Miesmer
Michael Ambrosino, Executive Producer, PBS
color, 59 min, 1980

This DVD is closed-captioned for the hearing impaired




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This film provides a broad overview of Ju/'hoan life, both past and present, and an intimate portrait of N!ai, a Ju/'hoan woman who in 1978 was in her mid-thirties. N!ai tells her own story, and in so doing, the story of Ju/'hoan life over a thirty year period.

"Before the white people came we did what we wanted," N!ai recalls, describing the life she remembers as a child: following her mother to pick berries, roots, and nuts as the season changed; the division of giraffe meat; the kinds of rain; her resistance to her marriage to /Gunda at the age of eight; and her changing feelings about her husband when he becomes a healer. As N!ai speaks, the film presents scenes from the 1950's that show her as a young girl and a young wife.

The uniqueness of N!ai may lie in its tight integration of ethnography and history. While it portrays the changes in Ju/'hoan society over thirty years, it never loses sight of the individual, N!ai.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
CINE Golden Eagle
American Film Festival Blue Ribbon
Grand Prize, Cinema du Reel
Best Television Documentary, International Film & Television Festival, NY
Grand Prize, International News Coverage Festival
Highest Film Commendation, RAI

Other films in the series:
An Argument about Marriage
Baobab Play
Bitter Melons
Children Throw Toy Assegais
A Curing Ceremony
Debe's Tantrum
First Film
A Group of Women
The Hunters
A Joking Relationship
A Kalahari Family
!Kung Bushmen Hunting Equipment
The !Kung San: Traditional Life
The !Kung San: Resettlement
Lion Game
The Meat Fight
Men Bathing
N!owa T'ama: The Melon Tossing Game
N/um Tchai: the Ceremonial Dance of the !Kung Bushmen
Playing with Scorpions
Pull Ourselves Up or Die Out
A Rite of Passage
To Hold Our Own Ground: A Field Report
Tug-Of-War, Bushmen
The Wasp Nest

Related Resources
Study Guide



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