The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Documentary Film - The Devil and the Holy Water

Director Diego Malara

Friday 24th November 2017

Centre for Open Learning, Godfrey Thomson Hall, Thomson's Land, The University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ

2:00 to 3:00pm, A Centre for Open Learning Open Lecture by Diego Malara.
The Devil and the Holy Water: a documentary film

The struggle of an exorcist with the new demons of Ethiopia and the paradoxes of visual representation.

For centuries, exorcism has been a daily practice in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. But as Ethiopia has undergone extensive social change, exorcism has been revolutionized. New problems produce new demons, and new demons require dramatic new rituals.

Shot in Addis Ababa, The Devil and the Holy Water is a short documentary that portrays contemporary forms of exorcism conducted by a priest whose charisma gathers hundreds of people from across Ethiopia and around the world.

Narrated by a formerly possessed woman, the film gives an intimate account of the reality of demonic affliction in modern Ethiopian life.

Diego Maria Malara completed a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, focusing on Orthodox Christianity in urban Ethiopia. His research interests include kinship and domestic rituals, religious pluralism and media, personhood and embodiment, spirit possession and modernity, intimacy and hierarchy, as well as emerging forms of urban vulnerability and subjectivity. He has conducted extensive ethnographic research in northern Ethiopia and Addis Ababa, and is currently planning a new project on the Ethiopian diaspora in the United Kingdom and Italy. Beyond classic anthropological methods, Diego Maria Malara has a keen interest in visual ethnography. His recent documentary film, The Devil and the Holy Water, explores new forms of public orthodox exorcism and has been screened widely across film festivals in Europe and Australia, receiving various awards.

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