Descending with Angels # 239

Descending with Angels

09:15, Friday 14th June, CMB 1&2

rai 239 descending-with-angels

  • Director/Anthropologist: Christian Suhr
  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Duration: 75 mins
  • Country of Production: Denmark
  • Location: Aarhus, Denmark
  • Ethnic Group: Arab, Somali, Afgham, Danish
  • Language: Arabic, Danish, English (English)

A film about Islamic exorcisms and psychiatric healthcare in Denmark. A Palestinian refugee has been committed to psychiatric treatment after a severe case of spirit possession that caused him to destroy the interior of a mosque, crash several cars, and insult a number of people. He sees no point in psychotropic medication since his illness has already been treated with Quranic incantations. A psychiatrist and nurse try to understand his point of view but find that even further medication is needed. In the meantime a local imam battles with a stubborn jinn-spirit of Iraqi origin and tries to explain to the Muslims of Aarhus that they should stop worrying so much about jinn, magic, and other mundane affairs since nothing can harm anyone except with the permission of God. The film compares two systems of treatment that despite differences both share a view of healing as operating through submission of faith to an external non-human agency - namely God or biomedicine.

Return to the programme >>>


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.

Our Sponsors

The Festival gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from:

UDDA NMS SSGS ED Unversity of Aberdeen StAndrews WILEY