Visions du Réel Review: Many Chickens, Lots of Luck

Arjun and his four wives

When you mention the word ‘documentary’ to most people their first response is often to think you’re talking about some investigative TV programme. As a genre, evidenced by the fact it’s actually categorised as such, it’s much maligned and misunderstood. What many fail to understand is the wide range and breadth of what falls within non-fiction filmmaking. Animation, observation, experimentation, reconstruction, documentation and dedication and much, much more; from just about every nation.

Occasionally a documentary appears which is so out there. So bafflingly mysterious and wilfully abstruse. One that doesn’t play by the rules. Like Many Chickens, Lots of Luck. Önar Önarsson & Riboet Akbar’s new film is like nothing you will have ever seen before. Our protagonist is the polygamous Arjun.  We’re told his story through the voices of, and from the perspective of, his four wives. Not to mention his many fans and admirers.

Many Chickens, Lots of Luck is an offbeat, irreverent and playful documentary which tackles the subject of polygamy through an intriguing premise. There’s a serious point here, which is made in a very clever way. However, there’s also a whole lot of fun. You never know what’s going to happen next or where the plot is going to take you. Önarsson and Akbar have a great eye for detail, particularly in the first hour. Many Chickens, Lots of Luck is finger lickin’ good.

Many Chickens, Lots of Luck screens at Visions du Réel.

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