Nat Pwe: Burma's Carnival of Spirit Soul (2003)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Anthropology, Religions & Belief Systems  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Journey into the heart of Burma, where indigenes build their lives around a belief in the existence of spirits, called 'NATs.' According to local religious custom, the NATs dominate and manipulate events from the lives of those who acknowledge their power; they may either destroy or enable depending on the willingness of the locals to appease them. The fastest (and smoothest) road to appeasement involves a 'PWE,' or religious ceremony where the NATs are summoned through a 'Kadaw,' or priest-like mediator. The eighty-five minute ethno-religious documentary Nat Pwe's Carnival of Spirit Soul travels to a Burmese festival conducted every August, in the village of Taungbyon, to appease two NATs. This remains one of the most exciting and electrifying cultural celebrations in the world, radiant with bright colors, and booming, percussive Nat Pwe religious music, that pulls participants into a mesmeric state of rapture. Nat Pwe's Carnival of Spirit Soul provides an intimate glimpse of this long-held carnival - one of the few cinematic records of it in existence.

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Keywords

Burma, carnival, celebration, ceremony, costume, cultural-traditions, festival, ghost, medium [psychic], orchestra, ritual, spiritual-leader, trance, transvestite