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Filmography - Belief Systems, Animism: Home

Titles available streaming and on DVD as of June 2018.

Belief Systems - Animism

Titles available on DVD as of August 2018.


This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings (including VHS tapes) please refer to the library catalog.



Animism People Who Love Objects. 1 online resource (1 video file (51 min., 39 sec.)). Animism is the belief that inanimate objects are sentient beings and that we can communicate with them. This documentary follows people who are finding true, emotional and sexual love with objects. This emerging sexual orientation, Objectum-Sexuality (OS), is explored through five characters who openly declare their love for objects, from carnival rides to cars and trains, not as fetishes, but as loving life partners. Candid and courageous narratives reveal people who prefer intimate and loving relationships with objects rather than people. For them it's quite normal and real-all they want is tolerance as they attempt to 'live and love out loud' like the rest of us. Above all, the film challenges our definitions of love. Streaming video.  

Children of the seven-headed snake. 1 online resource (52 min.). In the kingdom of Cambodia the pace of life has always been determined by the Tonle Sap, which is both a river and a huge lake. Its waters abound with fish and its flooding supports the rice crop, so essential to the peasants. Cambodians say that the Tonle Sap contains a respected yet feared divinity: the sacred Naga, a giant seven- headed snake which they must honor on important holidays. One such occasion is the Water Celebration, when thousands of farmers come with their families to enjoy the boat races as well as to barter their rice for the fish which will feed their families for months to come. After the races, the "genies of protection" must be satisfied, granting the participants and their families safe passage back to their villages and a productive year. The genies are supernatural beings of animist origin which have haunted Cambodians for millennia, dating back to times before Buddhism. This colorful film also explores other areas bordering the Tonle Sap, one of which is the world-renowned Angkor Wat, where the Khmer civilization thrived eight centuries ago. The documentary provides a remarkable picture of a country that endured political upheaval and genocide, yet renewed itself by reconnecting with its ancient beliefs and traditions. Streaming video.;1650430

Paper gods aspects of religion in Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Mali. 1 streaming video file (51 min.).  Christianity, Islam, and a broad range of indigenous religions coexist side by side in Africa, in many cases blending into unique hybrids. This program-an inquiry into the nature of the continent's spiritual practices-spotlights the Reverend Pastor Benoit D. Agbaossi, supreme head of the Celestial Church of Christ, in Benin, and footage of an exorcism and The Ceremony of the Infertile Woman; the village of Kukoe, Ghana, where women accused of witchcraft find welcome and sanctuary; the Rifai Sufis of Cairo, who provide insights into the meaning of Sufism; Yin believers of the Niger River, who venerate water spirits, and footage of the Holey Horey Ceremony; and a pilgrimage to the Sof Omar Cave, in Ethiopia, where a blend of Christianity, Islam, and animism is practiced. Streaming video.   

Prajna Earth. 1 streaming video file (85 min.). Prajna is the Sanskrit word for radiant wisdom, and yatra is the word for pilgrimage or spiritual journey. This visually stunning second documentary is a cinematic pilgrimage exploring the lost civilization of Angkor in Cambodia, including the largest temple in the world: the magnificent Angkor Wat. The journey continues to sacred sites of the natural world, traveling through Hindu Bali, witnessing trance dancers in the jungles of Java, and discovering the gigantic seven-level mandala wonder of Buddhist Borobudur. Prajna Earth visits spiritual intersections where Buddhist and Hindu wisdom traditions merged with the animist worship of nature, revealing a profound understanding of sacred nature existing both in the environment and within all living beings. Streaming video.   

Standing on sacred ground. 1 streaming video file (57 min.). From Ethiopia to Peru, indigenous customs protect biodiversity on sacred lands under pressure from religious conflicts and climate change. In the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia, scientists confirm the benefits of traditional stewardship even as elders witness the decline of spiritual practices that have long protected trees, meadows and mountains. Tensions with evangelical Christians over a sacred meadow erupt into a riot. In the Peruvian Andes, the Q'eros, on a pilgrimage to a revered glacier, are driven from their ritual site by intolerant Catholics. Q'eros potato farmers face a more ominous foe: global warming is melting glaciers, their water source. Andes farmers, scientists and visiting Ethiopians struggle to adapt indigenous agriculture to the changing climate. Streaming video.   

West Africa. 1 streaming video file (48 min.). A collection of extraordinary plaques, seized as loot during the colonial aggression that ended the powerful Benin Empire in 1897, depict life in the African kingdom's royal court at its height. In this program art historian Gus Casely-Hayford travels to legendary Timbuktu, the Great Mosque of Djenn, the Oba Royal Palace, and Dogon country to learn more about how the plaques were made and what they reveal about the continent's sophisticated pre-colonial civilizations. In addition, Casely-Hayford meets with local historians, village elders, and craftspeople from hereditary guilds still using an ancient mix of metallurgical skill and spiritual practice to create traditional works of art. Streaming video.