Season 1 | Episode 1

Shamans of the Blind Country

Nature/Society, Nepal/United States 1980

SCHAMANEN IM BLINDEN LAND achieved cult status in wide circles, especially those interested in art. The film has been screened at major film festivals worldwide and is now one of the classics of ethnographic film. The film is an epic documentary on shamanic practice in a village of the northwestern Himalayas. There, in the shadow of the Dhaulagiri massif, live the Northern Magar. Largely cut off from the environment by traffic and a language not understood by neighboring peoples, these mountain people have developed and maintained a cultural tradition characterized by a high degree of distinctiveness. One of these peculiarities is the local practice of healing. The film attempts to capture this practice in its characteristic features: What do the nocturnal séances look like? On which ideological ideas do they build? How does one become a shaman and under which conditions; in which ways does an initiation take place? How are the necessary ritual objects made? Which ceremonial dances and which mythical chants must a prospective healer learn? The film links the various questions and themes to form an overall portrait of a local society at a point in time before the digital uniform culture took hold. Michael Oppitz has created a work that brought together the results of intensive ethnological field research, reflection on the culturally incomprehensible and unbelievable, and the art of documentation, even before ethnology was debating representation. This project, financed by the WDR, received worldwide attention and recognition and was dubbed "undoubtedly the most important German ethnological film ever" on the occasion of the film series "Die Fremden Sehen" at the Munich Film Museum. Michael Opitz (2008): "The ethnologist's activity is uniformly grounded: It is the color of melancholy. Every present into which he enters as a researcher already bears the signs of decline - of the past, which casts its shadow as a beautiful ruin on the conditions he finds; and of the present he describes, which in turn will confront the still unknown future as a crumbling past." SHAMANS OF THE BLIND LAND achieved cult status in wide circles, especially those interested in art. The film has been screened at major film festivals worldwide and is now one of the classics of ethnographic film. The film is an epic documentary on shamanic practice in a village of the northwestern Himalayas. There, in the shadow of the Dhaulagiri massif, live the Northern Magar.
98 min
HD
Starting at 12
Audio language:
EnglishGerman

More information

Director:

Michael Oppitz

Original title:

Shamans of the Blind Country

Original language:

German

Format:

4:3 HD, Color

Age rating:

Starting at 12

Audio language:

EnglishGerman

Further links:

IMDb