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Lindsey Merrison takes us on a journey to her home country Myanmar and into the “nat” cult. This worship has survived the triumph of Buddhism, colonial dictates and the vagaries of successive military regimes. “Nat” are beings, somewhere between gods and spirits, who suffered untimely deaths as victims of the injustice of Burmese kings of yore. They are revered in elaborate ceremonies—called “natpwe”— in which their stories are interwoven with the history of Myanmar in elaborate pageants and morality plays. Guided by two lively female narrators, we enter an unknown world of moving stories, extravagant costumes, ecstatic music and flamboyant dance where we discover the unique role the spirit mediums —many of them gender fluid— play in Myanmar society. For further information see also the article „Friends in High Places: The Art of Survival in Modern Day Burma“.

FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES premiered at Berlinale Panorma in 2002 and was subsequently distributed by Arsenal alongside Merrison's film OUR BURMESE DAYS.

The digital restoration was undertaken by Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst in 2022 and made possible through the film heritage support program (FFE) financed by the Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the states of Germany, and the German Federal Film Board (FFA).

    Funded by:

    • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media