Itineraries through the sacred
Documentaries in Africa, Asia and Latin America 1975-1987
We could call them visual experiences of invisible worldsâ€¦
Intellectually curious and passionate filmmakers with a vocation for anthropology. The authors of the films in this section ventured along remote paths in search of the elusive dimensions of the human spirit in widely different cultural expressions.
In decades which are chronologically close but which may already appear distant in the contemporary
perception of the globalized world, intercultural contacts were being established to free the West from an ethnocentric approach and to explore knowledge of other peoples. Visual anthropology was a bridge in the difficult approach to realities which are often unknown and far from our sensitivity, using the great communicative and emotional power of images which go beyond the limited codes of linguistic and conceptual communication.
Confident in these methodological tools, the filmmakers brought back sounds, gestures and forms often enveloped in an aura of mystery, but always capable of arousing a strong empathetic response, decoding messages which behind their cultural specificity transmit universal questions, anxieties and visions.
In Benin, Achille Mauri and Maria Pace Ottieri set off in a quest of the roots of Voodoo. Giuliano Tescari returned on several occasions to the Western Sierra Madre in Mexico following the trail of the peyote, a plant sacred to the WirrĂˇrika Indians, better known as the Huicholes; in Venezuela, Lanfranco Secco Suardo and Bebetta Campeti ventured into the syncretism of Maria Lionza, a modern pagan goddess and in Ghana they met the picturesque prophets of 1001 churches; Antonio Marazzi takes part in the mysterious night-time ritual of fire on a Japanese mountain during the initiation of the Yamabushi; in Mali, Piero Coppo and Lelia Pisani begin their three-decade research on rites of possession and their applications for health and knowledge.
Anthropologist, chairman (1992-2002) of the Commission on Visual Anthropology, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences