Ruqya, psychotropics, and montage
in Descending with angels
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Chapter 6 explores the healing encounters between Muslim healers, patients, psychiatrists, and nurses as ritual practices. It analyses the aesthetic forms applied in the healing encounters in order to facilitate the possibility of self-sacrifice, and to move beyond the boundaries of the immediately visible. Inspired by recent attempts to apply the film theory of Eisenstein, Vertov, and Deleuze to the theorisation of ritual and religious art, the chapter analyses the interaction during exorcisms and the psychiatric treatments that are shown in the film as a ritual dialectic moving toward dissolution by way of disruptive montage. The chapter shows how submission to a particular form of healing is facilitated by the healers’ ability to conjure the sense of an all-encompassing world of knowledge and total vision to which the patients’ limited and partial perspectives must subject themselves.

Descending with angels

Islamic exorcism and psychiatry: a film monograph


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