When Spirits Ride the Horses # 130

When Spirits Ride Their Horses

11:15, Saturday 15th June, CMB 1&2

rai 130 when-spirits-ride-the-horses

  • Director/Anthropologist: Itsushi Kawase, National Museum of Ethnology, Japan
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 28 mins
  • Country of Production: Japan
  • Location: Gondar, Ethiopia


In Gondar, the possessed body of the Zar spirit medium is referred to as Yäzar Färäs (literally meaning ‘the horse of Zar') In this rhetoric, spirit possession can be understood as the spirit riding the body of the medium. The film portrays a woman who devotes her life to Zar spirits and explores the sensory quality of the interaction between her and various spirits including Seyfou Tchengar, who is said to be one of the most powerful spirits in the region.

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Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival will be held from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 16 June 2013 in Edinburgh, hosted by National Museums Scotland and the STAR consortium. Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Over 60 new films will be screened alongside a conference 'New Observations' and a selection of special events and workshop about art & anthropology and the use of archival film.

The RAI Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California.

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