In Myanmar, where spirit worship has survived the triumph of Buddhism, colonial dictates and the vagaries of successive military regimes, a lively cult peopled by talented mediums—many of them gender fluid—makes life more bearable. FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES takes us on a journey into the “nat” cult and into the lives of several mediums—known as “nat kadaw.” “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 elderly female Burmese 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 play in Myanmar society.
The digital restoration was 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).
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