DER Documentary

Return to Belaye: A Rite of Passage

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by Amy Flannery of Yellow Cat Productions
color, 79 min (short version 53 min), 2002



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Return To Belaye: A Rite of Passage is an insider's look at a manhood initiation ritual in the village of Belaye, Senegal, West Africa. The documentary focuses on filmmaker, Amy Flannery and her husband, Papis Goudiaby, as they leave their home in the United States and journey back to Papis' birthplace where he must undergo the tribe's traditional initiation rite. Dressed in colorful ceremonial costumes and under the influence of hallucinogenic roots, the villagers fire cannons, wave knives in the air, and dance themselves into a frenzy. The initiates reveal their fears about entering the sacred forest. It's a tough ordeal for the initiates and agonizing for Flannery, who wavers between feelings of alienation and angst watching her husband go through the ritual. More than an anthropological study of an ancient initiation rite, Return To Belaye is also an honest and intimate cross-cultural love story.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Gold award, Documentary, WorldFest, Houston 2002

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