The Sorceress of Dirah (1992) [Short]

Indonesia (MIFF 1993 , Indonesian Short Films)
Director: Sardono W. Kusuma


The Sorceress of Dirah is a performance event by the Javanese performance artist and choreographer Sardono W. Kusuma, of Bali­nese dances and legends, developed and restaged over many years, working with a group in the village of Teges in Bali. Presented widely in Europe and the USA in the mid-1970s, a film version of The Sorceress of Diirah has recently been shot by Sardono, working in Bali with American cinematographer/director Bob Chappell.

The film opens with images that conjure up the combined earthiness and communality of life in Bali, that facilitate shared rituals and performances whereby village communities have for generations sought to balance the forces of good and evil, and where there is no distinction made between reality and the world of religion and myth. Incarnations of the sorceress of the village of Dirah are performed by an actor from the village. This in turn pro­vides "an opening for real sorcery to enter the village", against which the villagers must defend themselves.

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