The film follows the life of Gusti Ayu Suartini, a young Balinese woman with Tourette’s Syndrome, as she struggles to create a life for herself while coping with a society who doesn’t understand her disease, doctors with no cures, and a family that rejects her. Gusti has spent many years struggling to overcome the stigma and suffering that has resulted not primarily from her illness, but from the web of cultural significance spun around it in the context of Balinese values and belief, social and familial structure, and health care practices. She will have to use all her strength and courage to find her place in society free from shame and humiliation.
Robert Lemelson is a cultural anthropologist, ethnographic filmmaker and philanthropist. Lemelson received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles. Lemelson’s area of specialty is transcultural psychiatry; Southeast Asian Studies, particularly Indonesia; and psychological and medical anthropology.
Lemelson currently is a research anthropologist in the Semel Institute of Neuroscience UCLA, an adjunct professor of Anthropology at UCLA, and a visiting professor at USC. His scholarly work has appeared in numerous journals and books. Lemelson founded Elemental Productions in 2008, a documentary film company. He has directed and produced over a dozen ethnographic films related to culture, psychology and personal experience. He is also the founder and president of the Foundation for Psychocultural Research, which supports research and training in the social and neurosciences.
FILMOGRAPHY OF ELEMENTAL PRODUCTIONS:
SHADOWS AND ILLUMINATIONS (2011)
MEMORY OF MY FACE (2011)
RITUAL BURDENS (2011)
THE BIRD DANCER (2011)
KITES AND MONSTERS (2011)
STANDING ON THE EDGE OF A THORN (2012)