Slaves of the Saints

Directed by: Kelly Hayes

This ethnographic documentary about Afro-Brazilian religions focuses on devotion to unruly spirits called exus and pomba giras, controversial entities often associated with black magic who are believed to be active in the lives of human beings, for good or ill. Ritually summoned from their otherworldly abode through drumming, song and dance, the spirits are invited to “mount” their trained mediums. Director Kelly Hayes incorporates ten years of video footage of ceremonies around Rio de Janeiro and personal interviews with participants to present an overview of this fascinating possession religion where ritual performance replaces scripture. (2011, 64 min.)

Director Kelly Hayes and Writer/Editor Catherine Crouch will be present to discuss the film and Hayes’ companion book Holy Harlots, published by University of California, Berkeley Press.

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