By Ricardo Leizaola
color, 60 min, 1999
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A healer on healing, medicine & religion...Filmed in the modern city of Caracas, capitol of Venezuela, Uncle Poison is an intimate portrait of a traditional faith healer, set against the backdrop of his community's Easter celebrations. Every day Benito Reyes receives people at his house looking for all sorts of cures. Through his own testimony this documentary looks at the healer's role as mediator between the social, natural and spiritual worlds. Curing someone or harvesting medicinal leaves, he must first seek permission from the plants he uses and from a variety of Saints. And Like some plants and spirits, Benito has the power to extract the sickness and spells from his patients. A conjunction of sacred and profane, celebrating and mourning, Easter provides a rare opportunity to look at traditional faith healing in a wider social and religious context. The film suggests an underlying cultural rationale behind a broad spectrum of apparently contradictory health related practices, where man and the environment are inextricably linked.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
2001 Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Paris
2000 March 7th International Festival of Ethnographic Film, RAI - SOAS London
May 2000 Gottingen International Ethnographic Film Festival Germany.
1999 AAA Annual Meeting. Society for Visual Anthropology. Chicago, USA
Mostra Etnografica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The 19th International Nordic Anthropological Film Festival Arhus, Denmark
Tel Aviv Documentary Film Festival, University of Tel Aviv
Society For Latin American Studies, Annual Meeting. Cambridge
Premiere. Bolivar Hall, London
Seminar/Pre-view. Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. Manchester