IN SEARCH OF THE SHAMAN
Pierre Boccanfuso | Philippinea, France 2016 | 95 Min. | OmeU
In one of the last remote forests of the Philippines on the island of Palawan, Medsinu an old shaman, traditional healer and spiritual guide is worrying about his own people’s survival. He feels his aura diminishing to the profit of missionaries of which he laughs about and mocks. He claims that, in the past, a pastor came into the forest, pretending to spread god’s word but in fact were more interested in tchatting up their young women. In his mind, spirits are worth fare more than any missionaries. Medsinu is resigned and guesses his people will be dragged down by dangers coming from the coast. He is expecting death as a liberation. When he died, Medsinu left behind him an orphan society. A deafening sound of bulldozers, backhoe machines, opening a track close to the Palawans’ huts. As they are frightened by those big machines the natives run away. During the rainy season the path is unusable.
A foreign mining company is considering settling on Palawan land of which the earth abounds with nickel. An open cast mine means large scale deforestation a large use of chemical products, river pollution, a global and definitive destruction of the forest‘s natural resources. Without a shaman and having lost their bearings, facing modern intrusion from an outside world, the Palawan people feel like orphans. They are looking for a new shaman.