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Masks, Fetishes and Other Obsessions

Year: 2008, 52 mins
Code: VL-Masks
ISBN: 978-1-921882-35-7

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Masks and statues from various cultures in Africa have been described in the past as mysterious, dark, fascinating, as well as dynamic, powerful, expressive, and yes - also brutal and primitive. People unfamilair with these objects often find them unapproachable, strange and awesome. In her film, Masks, fetishes and other Obsessions Lekha Sarkar explores these hidden myths and stereotypes and takes us with her on a journey into these unique cultures. She traces her journey to Togo and the Cameroon, to High priests, healers, and magicians, a voodoo temple and traditional ritualistic feasts. 

Sarkar also searches in Switzerland for the answers to her questions about the fascinating traditional African art.  Here, a small scene of art collectors creates the extraordinary.  She questions collectors, gallery owners, dealers, curators, and missionaries in Zurich, Geneva and Zug. For the first time ever, some of these people have opened up their doors, giving us an insight into their collections of African masks and figures.

Chitra-Lekha Sarkar was born 1955 in Bombay (today Mumbai) to an Indian father and an Italian mother and was brought up in Switzerland. After graduating in 1981 from her studies of literature and art history at the University of Zurich, she worked as a journalist for various Swiss newspapers, magazines and the Radio. In 1993 she started filming reports and documentaries mainly for Swiss National Television (SRF) and 3sat. Her works cover areas of multicultural and multi-religious subjects. But also modern India and its culture always remained in her focus.

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