Shadows and Illuminations is part of a series of ethnographic films on severe mental illness in Indonesia, based on material drawn from 12 years of person-centered research by director and anthropologist Robert Lemelson. The film focuses on Nyoman Kereta, a rural Balinese man in his late sixties, who suffers from a psychotic-like illness. The film explores Kereta's personal history of trauma, loss, and environmental illness, all of which may have contributed to his illness experience. It places his experience in the context of local community and cultural beliefs and practices, drawing on family members and local mental health practitioners' observations and perspectives. It concludes with a consideration of how Kereta has adapted to his illness and hallucinations with the love and support of his family. Shadows and Illuminations explores how non-normative mental events and behavior, including auditory and visual hallucinations, can be understood or interpreted in multiple ways ... Written by
A Balinese man haunted by the spirit world
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When 1965 happened... I was sought by the police, the reserves. When people were looking for me, I felt really afraid. Some of them were my old schoolmates. They restrained their hands. They were hit with clubs. Plok! Plok! And they were killed. The dead were thrown into a hole. Those who weren't dead were hit again. Some of them were friends of mine. Communists were forced to participate as well. 'If you don't kill them, you'll be killed.' Those were the orders.