Howling for God (Les Amoureux de Dieu)| 1hr : 02mins
Director: Dan Alexe | Producer: Vivi Films
Focus Years: 1998 | Country: Belgium
In Macedonia, former Yugoslavia, two Sheikhs squabble for power in a Dervish brotherhood. In this fragile, unsteady society, far from God and traditional Sufism, their petty quarrel focuses on the issue of which group will pierce themselves at the Nevruz ceremony. Through the rivalry between these two characters, who correspond two opposing archetypes of religious leaders, the documentary offers a living glimpse of spiritual experience at a popular level which, despite the humorous situations and extraordinary images, may shock our sensitivity. The Dervishes practice a form of Islamic yoga consisting of rhythmic movements, repetitive chants and controlled breathing. During the ceremony, the Dervishes pierce their face, neck or limbs with nails and spikes. In their state of trance no blood flows. But the mystical market place is over-crowded. Each Sheik attempts to attract the greatest number of faithful and thus diminish the importance of his rival.