DER Documentary

Jero Tapakan series

Jero Tapakan Series

A five-part series by Linda Connor, Patsy Asch, and Timothy Asch

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Jero Tapakan, a spirit medium in a small, central Balinese village, consults with a group of clients in her shrinehouse. An introduction precedes the main seance, providing a visual impression of a seance and background information on the medium and her profession. The clients wish to contact the spirit of their dead son to discover the cause of his death and his wishes for his cremation ceremony. Jero is possessed several times in the course of the seance: first by a protective houseyard deity who demands propitiary offerings that had previously been overlooked; then by the spirit of the petitioner's deceased father, who requests further offerings to ease his path to the other world; and finally by the spirit of the son. In an emotional scene the son's spirit reveals the cause of his premature death (sorcery) and instructions for his forthcoming cremation. Between each possession the medium converses with her clients, clarifying vague points in the often ambiguous trance speech.

Related Resources
Study Guide

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Films in the Jero Tapakan series:
A Balinese Trance Seance & Jero on Jero: A Balinese Trance Seance Observed
The Medium is the Masseuse & Jero Tapakan: Stories from the Life of a Balinese Healer
Releasing the Spirits: A Village Cremation in Bali

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts