DER Documentary

Shadows & Illuminations

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From the Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia series
by Robert Lemelson
color, 35 min, 2010





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Shadows & Illuminations follows an older Balinese man, Nyoman Kereta, as he struggles with the intrusion of spirits into his consciousness. Kereta says he has been living in two worlds, the world of his family and community and the world of the spirits, for the past 40 years. His experiences skirt the borders of cultural and spiritual norms, simultaneously manifesting and exceeding Balinese beliefs about the supernatural world and the possibilities for human interaction with it.

Kereta's reported experiences seem credible or explicable to some, bizarre and extraordinary to others, enigmatic or doubtful to his wife, and the sign of major mental illness to his psychiatrist. The film documents his painful history of trauma, loss and poisoning, and draws on his other family member's interpretations of how to understand his struggles and distress. Central questions of how to interpret his experiences, and what role a schizophrenia diagnosis entails are explored.

This film is also available as part of the set Afflictions Volume 1: Psychotic Disorders.

Related Resources
Study guide (PDF)

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
1st Place Documentary Feature, Los Angeles Reel Film Festival, 2012
Winner, Best Documentary Feature, Los Angeles Int'l Underground Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA, 2012
Nominee, Honorable Mention, Richmond International Film Festival, Richmond, VA, 2012
Award of Merit, Best Shorts, 2011
Fallbrook Film Festival, Fallbrook, CA, 2013
Jean Rouch International Ethnographic Film Festival, Paris, France, 2011

Other films in the Afflictions series
The Bird Dancer
Family Victim
Kites and Monsters
Memory of My Face
Ritual Burdens

Recommended Reading
"Cultural Formulation of Psychiatric Diagnoses: The Spirits, Penyakit Ngeb and the Social Suppression of Memory: A Complex Clinical Case from Bali". Lemelson R, Suryani L.K. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. 30(3): 389-413, 2006

"Epilogue: Trauma and the Vicissitudes of Interdisciplinary Integration" by Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. in Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2007

"Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Traditional Healing in Indonesia: The Question of Efficacy" by Lemelson, R. in Maldonado, M. ed. Psychiatrists and Traditional Healers: Unwitting Partners in Global Mental Health. London, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

"Traditional Healing and it's Discontents: Efficacy and Traditional Therapies of Neuropsychiatric Disorders in Bali". Lemelson R. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18(1): 48-76, 2004

"Trauma in Context: Integrating Biological, Clinical and Cultural Perspectives" by Lemelson, R., Kirmayer, L, Barad, M. in Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

"Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives". Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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