Reed Dance | Chicago Reader

Reed Dance

The title of this documentary refers to a Swaziland tribal ritual in which young girls, presumed virgins, dance with long reed stalks to demonstrate their fitness to the king and other men. Filmmaker Andrzej Fidyk meanders back and forth among the young King Mswati III, his courtiers, a witch doctor, and girls about to take part in the dance. The film touches on royal history, polygamy, birth control, and AIDS, which it mentions so many times that it begins to seem like a public service announcement; with its perfunctory visuals and analysis it squanders the opportunity to investigate the ceremony's socioeconomic significance, the anachronism of Africa's last absolute monarchy, and the irony of customs that have outlived their usefulness. 57 min.

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