Friday, April 6, 2007

FILM- New Release and Screening in NYC: In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

FILM- New Release and Screening in NYC: In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman

Posted by: Anya Bernstein <>

1. New Film Release:
In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman (72 min., Russia, 2006)
an ethnographic documentary by Anya Bernstein

New release now available from Documentary Educational Resources:

2. Upcoming Screening in New York:
Friday, April 13
5:20-7:20 pm

At the ASN World Convention at Columbia University. Address: Room
1201, International Affairs Building on Columbia University Campus,
420 W. 118th St.

Filmmaker will be present for post-screening discussion and Q&A.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Long suppressed by missionaries and then by Soviet
anti-religious campaigns, Siberian shamanism has experienced an
unprecedented revival following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and
the number of shamans continues to rise. But who are these new
shamans? Are they tricksters, magicians, businessmen, or cultural
activists? This film takes a behind-the-scenes look at a Buryat shaman
living on an island in the Lake Baikal as he moves between intimate
shamanic rituals performed for local clientele and shows performed at
various resorts for Western tourists in search of "primitive"
cultures. The film captures cross-cultural miscommunication as the
shaman and tourists misunderstand one another, usually comically,
sometimes disturbingly, made all the more poignant by the conflict
between the dominant Russian Orthodox Church and the local shamanic
tradition. Juxtaposing 1920s archival footage of a shamanic
performance with its contemporary counterparts, the film grapples with
the long-standing tension between the "indigenous" and the
"cosmopolitan" in a rapidly transnational world. This is an excellent
film for the classroom, appropriate to many different subjects,
including anthropology, religion, Russian and Asian studies,
globalization, tourism, and economic development.

Anya Bernstein

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