75 Holy Hustler

Holy Hustlers (75)

09:00, Friday 03rd July, Theatre A

  • Director: Richard Werbner (UK)
  • Year: 2009
  • Run time: 53'
  • Format:

Charismatic, street-wise young men, living in Botswana’s capital, command the prophetic domain in Eloyi, their Apostolic faith-healing church, at a time of escalating crisis.  Bitter, sinful accusations divide Eloyi’s village-based archbishop and his son, the city-based bishop.  The church itself, seen to be ‘under destruction’, splits.
Prophets take sides.  Waging a spiritual war of good and evil, they swing passionately.   With reckless energy, they whirl dance in ecstasy, ‘flying’ while  feeling their lavish robes, glorious for God’s sake, charged by holy electricity. They run wild, exorcising demons.  Calm, they meditate and pray.   Inspired in trance by the Holy Spirit, prophets suffer vicariously.  Patients see them feeling patients’ pain in their own bodies.  But beyond empathy and avowed compassion, prophets hustle and shock.  Pushing impatiently, they jostle or even batter their patients emotionally with fear of hidden malice, cunning and entrapment by trusted relatives or intimates, usually witchcraft from home beyond the city. For protection, they extract fees the church forbids.  As young city men with strong village ties and village origins, prophets impose their own street-wise vision of deceptive appearances, dangers in a familiar world of belonging.
This film illuminates the creative tension between holiness and hustling by showing how, in this Apostolic church’s time of crisis, city prophets assert themselves powerfully because they are both holy and hustlers.

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About this Festival

Sponsored by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival was held from Wednesday July 1st to Saturday July 4th 2009, and included over 50 hours of screenings of new films, a major international conference, and a targeted selection of events focusing on anthropological ethics in filmmaking, youth participatory film, and archiving ethnographic film.

Read more about the RAI 2009 festival

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