Upstairs @ the RAI Screening
colour, 52 minutes, 2003
Filmmaker: Dirk Dumont Anthropologist: Philip Hermans
followed by Q&A with Philip Hermans
When they emigrated to Europe in the 60’s and 70’s, Moroccans brought with them their culture and their “diseases” (caused by the jinn that inhabit some of them). In Europe, most North African families will include someone who is undergoing this kind of disorder, with diverse manifestations (asthma, paralysis, epilepsy, “crises”, sterility etc.) which, if left untreated, may be extremely serious and destructive, causing suffering and delinquent behaviour.
In the film we follow two Moroccan women: Hind and Fatima who are looking to solve their problems caused by invisibles. They are visiting healers in Europe and Morocco. The healers “negotiate” with invisible forces and are using therapeutic rituals.
Philip Hermans is professor of anthropology at the Interculturalism, Migration and Minority Research Centre (IMMRC) of the Catholic University of Leuven, Faculty of Social Sciences. He studied psychology (MA) and anthropology and completed a PhD in anthropology at the same university. His PhD dissertation dealt with the education and integration of Moroccan youths living in Brussels. He worked as a school psychologist, intercultural therapist, researcher and lecturer. His research interests include educational anthropology, ethnicity, healing, and Moroccan culture. In the context of his research on Islamic healing in Morocco he collaborated with Dirk Dumon in the documentary ‘Vivre les Invisibles’ (‘Living with the invisibles’) which explores the quest for traditional Islamic healing by people of Moroccan descent who live in Europe. They often experience their illnesses and problems as being caused by jinn (the invisibles) and feel therefore insufficiently understood and assisted by Western therapists.
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