To what extent can a documentary film maker go to make a film? People have gone to the extent of risking their lives to capture the perfect shot. But something sets Britisher Sarah Begum apart from the rest. She was a young girl, barely 21-year-old when she made the film.
Sarah is different because she agreed to move ahead with her documentary on the Huaroani tribe in the Amazons who are now threatened by oil firms. She also agreed to 'marry' a person 30-years older to her.
"Sarah Begum underwent the symbolic ritual after she left London to spend two weeks with the Huaroani tribe, which has 3,000 members in the mineral-rich Ecuadorian rainforest. She was barely 21-year-old then. Despite historically tense relations with outsiders dating to the 1950s, when five US missionaries who tried to infiltrate the tribe were killed, she claimed she was welcomed with open arms"—reported The Daily Mail.
But it was not so easy for Sarah to immediately accept what was happening.
"Begum was told that a ceremony was being organised in order for her to be fully integrated with their culture – a decision made by the tribe’s elders. She admits the experience was somewhat nerve-wracking, especially as she hadn’t realised that she was, in fact, being married off"—The Independent reported.
And who was her groom? It was a tribal warrior named Ginkto who was in his 50s. More than the marriage itself, it was the rituals that surprised Sarah.
The filmmaker was called into a hut where she was shocked to find everyone naked inside. The traditional dress made of plant fibres which she was given to wear was even smaller than a thong. For a London girl, it was an obvious cultural shock.
"'I thought, "I can't get naked, this is being filmed", and for a split second I thought about running away, but I wanted to fully embrace and understand their traditions. One of the women pulled off my underwear, and I gave in from there"—Sarah told the Daily Mail.
Fortunately, for Sarah the marriage is not legally binding. Sarah's documentary Amazon Souls was part of the Cannes Film Festival last year.
Updated Date: Dec 17, 2014 18:49:34 IST