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Maya Deren's Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti

Director: Maya Deren
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Mystic Fire Video

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A journey into the fascinating world of the Voudoun religion of Haiti filmed by Maya Deren during 1947-1951, and edited posthumously by Teji and Cherel Ito. The viewer attends the rituals of Rada, Petro and Congo cults, whose devotees commune with the cosmic powers through invocations - ritual offerings, song and dance. The Voudoun pantheon of deities, or Ioa are introduced as living gods, actually taking possession of their devotees. Also featured are the Rara and Mardi Gras celebrations. Although best known as a pioneer of independent experimental cinema, Maya Deren was also a Voundoun initiate, and hence able to take her camera and recorder where few have gone before or since. The soundtrack conveys the stirring, invocatory power of the ritual drumming and singing. Maya went first to Haiti as an artist, thining to make a film in which Haitian dance should be a leading theme. But the manifestation of rapture that first fascinated and then seized her transported her beyond the bounds of any art she had ever known. She was open to the messages of that speechless deep, which is, indeed, the wellspring of the mysteries.

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