In-hi, a 28 year-old woman experienced paralysis in her upper body for no reason. Moreover accidents happened to her family incessantly. She regarded this as some kind of curse and visited Hae-kyung, the female shaman. In-hi found out that she is destined to be a shaman and fell into dilemma. Korean Shamans are the intermediaries between the living world and the spiritual world. They sometimes play a role as an advisor of life, sometimes as the cursed messenger of evil gods. They are a group of people who are usually despised by others, but they have been around for more than 5000 years, carrying the burden of the gift that god has bestowed upon them.
In Sorok-do where traveled by chance, we encountered an old woman, Lee Hang Sim, 78-years old, who was dragged into Sorok-do at the age of 4 by her parents because of Hanses’s disease. Pregnant after emancipation, she hid her pregnancy for 10 months for she was forbidden to give a birth. She couldn’t even scream in travail until cock crow in case she should get caught. It was all the bitter pain.
This film depicts the Gonya festival among the Tamang ethnic group in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal. The celebration for Gonya revolves around the performance of the bonbo, an equivalent for the more universal term “shaman” in Tamang culture. The film consists of three parts: The first part shows how the Gonya is incorporated within the overarching tradition of Janai Purnima, a Hindu religious festival, and the way it is celebrated locally in a unique collaboration involving shamans. The second part shows how shamanistic beliefs are experienced and maintained communally by focusing on a young shaman and his family holding a small ritual in a village during the Gonya. The third part follows a group of shamans led by one master shaman on the Gonya day, and demonstrates how they create a “collective effervescence” in this religious festival.