DESCENDING WITH ANGELS
color, 75 min, 2013
in Arabic, Danish, English
with English subtitles
Available on DSL and DVD: https://store.der.org/descending-with-angels-p865.aspx
Islamic exorcism or psychotropic medication?
Descending with Angels explores two highly different solutions to the same problem: namely Danish Muslims who are possessed by invisible spirits, called jinn. A Palestinian refugee living in the city of Aarhus has been committed to psychiatric treatment after a severe case of jinn possession which caused him to destroy the interior of a mosque, crash several cars, and insult a number of people. He sees no point in psychotropic medication since his illness has already been treated with Quranic incantations. A psychiatrist and nurse try to understand his point of view but find that even further medication is needed.
In the meantime a local imam battles a stubborn jinn-spirit of Iraqi origin and tries to explain the Muslims of Aarhus that they should stop worrying so much about jinn, magic, and other mundane affairs since nothing can harm anyone except by the permission of God. The film compares two systems of treatment that despite vast differences both share a view of healing as operating through submission of faith to an external non-human agency — namely God or biomedicine.
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