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Natpwe (le festin des esprits)

As from the first images, the spectator mingles with the crowd of pilgrims from the village of Taungbyon, in Myanmar, gathered like each year to honour the “Nat” spirits during this Natpwe. Both a musical and an ethnographic film, with its skilfully dated grain, this Feast of the Spirits takes place between processions and parades, drinking binges and trance, staging a colourful and disguised fauna.

Four dolls on a swing, pushed silently by an elderly woman: this shot encloses the film, giving it both its introduction and its conclusion. As though it were our magic word to the special space and time of the Nat spirit festival where all laws seem suspended except those specific to the ceremonies. This elderly woman could thus well be a man as the film is a constant echo of blurred boundaries between genders as well as between rhythms and itineraries. An exultation of cross-dressing that gains ground in the film in its very form: a “sketch” type structure creating the effect of endless repeatability, a play on speeds between slow and fast motion, short focal lengths threatening the Euclidian representations of sites or faces, the musical logic of silent movies, and that powdery black and white - contrasted – that discourages any precise dating. Natpwe thus offers itself up as a spatial-temporal enclave where, through passages and transgressions, the stupor of trance is to be achieved.


Source : Mathieu Capel

Dubrel, Jean

Jean Dubrel was born in 1972. After studying philosophy and journalism, Jean Dubrel made his debut on the radio, on France Culture before working for a few years for television reporting magazines. In 2003, he made his first documentary film, "On Earth as in Heaven", as part of a documentary filmmaking course at Ateliers Varan. This film, which describes the life of a place of prayer in an international airport, was selected in several French and foreign festivals, and won an award in Buenos Aires. The following year, with photographer Tiane Doan na Champassak, he began making his second film, "Natpwe, the Feast of the Spirits", dedicated to possession rituals in Burma. The film was awarded the Scribe Prize for Cinema in 2012 and selected in several festivals on the American continent and in Europe. This collaboration with Tiane Doan na Champassak continues with the production of "Jharia, a life in hell" in 2014. This film, which tells the story of a mining region in northeast India, received in 2016 the Olivier Quemener / RSF prize at the International Festival of Major Current Affairs Reporting.

Doan na Champassak, Tiane

Tiane Doan na Champassak (born in 1973 in Puyvert) is a French photographer artist of Asian origin. He has developed a complex body of work that infuses his own photographic production with techniques of appropriation, variation, reuse and repetition. Champassak subjects materials from the Internet, personal memories, vernacular photographs and magazine clippings to a wide variety of processes related to the conceptual arsenal of postmodernism, exploring themes such as sexuality, gender identity and censorship.

Natpwe (le festin des esprits)

Artistic direction / Conception : Jean Dubrel, Tiane Doan na Champassak

Production / Coproduction of the video work : T. Doan na Champassak, J. Dubrel

Duration : 31'

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