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Jathilan: Trance and Possession in Java (2011)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History, Music
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Jathilan is a Javanese folk dance that uses the power of music and dance to channel powerful and sometimes terrifying forces. Led by a spiritual guide and a whip-bearing ringleader, a group... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Budi ...
Hari ...
Jajuli ...
Himself - Jathilan Performer
Kasidy ...
Bondon Nusantara ...
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Storyline

Jathilan is a Javanese folk dance that uses the power of music and dance to channel powerful and sometimes terrifying forces. Led by a spiritual guide and a whip-bearing ringleader, a group of dancers ride woven horses in rhythmic unison until spirits enter them. Once possessed they engage in a range of self-mortification behaviors until safely emerging from their altered state, left with no memory of the event and no lingering ill effects. The film, 'Jathilan: Trance and Possession in Java,' combines footage of a number of Jathilan performances with interviews with dancers, spiritual leaders, anthropologists, and enthusiasts. Multiple interpretations of Jathilan's significance ultimately emerge, from an empirical proof of spiritual presence, to a strategy of community building, to a resistant expression of folk identity. Written by Elemental Productions

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The terrifying power dance of Java.


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Did You Know?

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Kasidy - Jathilan Performer: I never experienced real trance myself. But when I performed Jathilan and pretended to be in trance, the audience saw it as a real trance. Actually I was pretending, I just made it up. Not everyone can experience trance.
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