Film Analysis N!ai, The Story of a !kung Woman Essay

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N!ai, the story of a !Kung woman is a 58 minutes film that provides a wide overview of !Kung past and present life. The film, which is considered to be more than a biography, highlights the life and change of a group of individuals who are personified through one person’s existence. The film is about the story of N!ai, a !Kung woman who was in her mid-thirties when it was produced by John Marshall and Adrienne Miesmer. This story effectively integrates ethnography and history as it presents scenes from 1950s, which portray N!ai as a young girl and a young wife simultaneously. This film is considered as an important historical piece that shows changes in !Kung society for more than three decades (Marshall & Miesmer, 1980).

One of the most fascinating aspects of the film is its depiction of !Kung’s life before and after Whites’ settlement in Africa. Prior to the settlement, !Kung’s life and society is portrayed as a happy society since bushmen had relatively no difficulties in finding food, had freedom, and had peaceful relations with others. This is demonstrated through N!ai’s early nomadic life that was characterized by hunting and gathering. Despite the relatively happy times from the tribe before the settlement, N!ai was dissatisfied with her husband who she married when she was still young.

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She struggled with the experiences of being a young girl who is still growing and encountering childhood fears as well as the struggles of being a wife at a young age.

N!ai’s relationship with her husband did not commence on good terms, which contributed to her dissatisfaction in marriage. She became terrified and hated her husband as she disregarded or refused to listen to advice from her elders about her relationship and eventual marriage to her husband. The difficult start to the relationship was fueled by N!ai’s desire to have the liberty to choose her own husband and do things as she pleases. The dissatisfaction, hate, and resentment contributed to cheating and extra-marital affairs. However, things changed as N!ai grew older and started heeding to the advice she received from others, particularly the elderly. Unlike before when she considered her husband’s medical practice as crazy practices, she started seeing it as a good thing that benefited and cured other people (Marshall & Miesmer, 1980).

As the Whites settled in this society, the….....

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Marshall, J & Miesmer, A (Producers). (1980). N!ai: the story of a !Kung woman [Video file]. United States: IMDb


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