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Two Laws (1981)

Carolyn Strachan & Alessandro Cavadini  |  NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Carolyn Strachan & Alessandro Cavadini
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: FACETS
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2008
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000WC8CN8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,081 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Two Laws" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In this truly one-of-a-kind documentary, an Aboriginal community from the remote Northern Territory of Australia tells the story of their people through their eyes. The Borroloola Aborigines were in control of the filmmaking process, so their history unfolds through their storytelling conventions and focuses on the issues important to them, such as native law and land rights.
The Borroloola render this four-part film in dramatic, sensual visuals and a dream-like pacing, but also offer a completely different logic to documenting history and culture. The result is a fascinating film that not only pushes the boundaries of documentary but also challenges the stilted style of ethnographic filmmaking so often found on television.

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By Lauren
In the DVD booklet the Producer Jill Godmilow explains why the filmmakers of Two Laws have been hesitant to distribute the film in any other format besides 16mm. It was shot in a wide angle lens with the camera on the ground, and when projected on a large screen it "invites us to sit nearby and listen to the conversations" of small and large collective groups. Over twenty years after the making of this landmark film it became available to a wider audience in 2008 because DVDs allow for easy projection. The style of the documentary is very original because it is made by members of the four language groups around Borroloola in the Northern Territories of Australia. It is a mixture of oral history and reenactments of events as recounted by members of the communities. You can feel a history being patched together, elucidated by each member who is given their own turn to speak. The concept of "two laws" is successfully captured because the film is made and owned by the people of Borroloola and not outside observers. There is a law that the aboriginal people follow and a law brought by Europeans which is forced upon them. This is a very interesting and informative film unlike anything I have seen before. The DVD booklet contains lots of additional information like an Intro by Jill Godmilow and an Essay, "Watching Two Laws" by Fred Meyers. The special features add to the viewing experience, most notably a short film about the return of a group of islands to the Yanyuwa people in 2006 and an annotated version of the film.
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