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Daughters of Anatolia    cover photo

Daughters of Anatolia 2015


Distributed by Grasshopper Films, 12 East 32nd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Produced by Halé Sofia Schatz
Directed by Halé Sofia Schatz
DVD, color, 88 min.

High School - General Adult
Agriculture, Anthropology, Family, Feminism, Food, Geography, Migration, Sustainable Living, Technology

Date Entered: 07/26/2017

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Every year, the Gök family of central Turkey migrate large herds of horned black hair goats from the Mediterranean Sea to the Taurus Mountains and back again. It is a traditional nomadic cycle that has been maintained for centuries by the family but is now gradually slipping away. The beautifully photographed film traces the 4-6 week seasonal trek, recording the routine tasks, challenges, and quiet joys of a pastoral lifestyle. From herding and milking the goats to preparing food and meals for the family, from weaving and mending the distinctive black tents to tending the camels, horses, guard dogs, and sheep that also accompany the family, the days of sisters Saliha and Meryem Gök are filled with activity.

Recorded over a four-year period, filmmaker and author Schatz captures the details of the family’s work, while also chronicling how the encroachment of technology and other aspects of 21st century life impact the nomads. Tractor-trailers replace camels for transport; the family gathers around a mobile phone to listen to music; the children want the parents to settle in one spot so they can attend school.

As with many ethnographic documentaries, the use of natural, synchronous sound and dialogue rather than scripted narration successfully captures the details of daily life that is in transition. This lyrical examination of a disappearing culture is recommended.