Chasing the Spirit: Gorovodu in Southern Togo is an ethnographic film dedicated to the rituals and ceremonies of Gorovodu religion in West Africa. Gorovodu is a medicine religion practiced by a many Ewe peoples in Ghana and Togo that co-exists with other Vodu groups, Christianity, and Islam. The film is set in Gbedala, a semi-rural seaside village near the capital city of Lome. Here, ritual and religion are embedded in everyday life as people struggle with poverty and marginalization.
After exploring life in the village, the head priest of the community is introduced and serves as our guide throughout the film. Outlining the Gorovodu pantheon of spirits at the village shrine, the film then turns to a vodu ceremony held to welcome and thank the gods. Throughout the ceremony, important elements of Gorovodu life are laid bare as participants engage in possession-trance and commune with the spirits. Afterwards, the head priest holds a Salah ceremony to address the immoralities plaguing the village. Borrowing heavily from Islam in dress and prayer, Salah's place in Gorovodu truly lays bare the complexity and inclusiveness of African religion and life.