Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti

Meet Maya Deren’s unusual circle of friends

In 1936, experimental filmmaker Maya Deren got a grant to shoot voodoo rituals in Haiti from the Guggenheim Foundation and soon found herself dancing in a circle praising someone named “Gbadu.” This may have violated a few academic standards of the day; it certainly fueled rumors that Deren’s death from malnutrition at the age of 41 was the result of a curse and that she made several supposed posthumous visits to friends. But it also led her deeper into the circle (figuratively and literally) and allowed her access to actual sacrifices of goats and chickens. The resulting footage was cobbled together into Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti 20 years after Deren died. The hands-off editing style means the viewer gets 52 minutes of almost pure, National Geographic-like ritual footage, but for those with a keen eye and a lot of patience, there’s some gritty stuff here. 8:30 p.m. Domy Books, 1709 Westheimer. For tickets and information, call 713-523-3669 or visit www.domystore.com. Free.
Fri., Aug. 1, 8:30 p.m., 2008

 
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