The Shaman Show

Anya Bernstein
39 minutes


A film about an indigenous shaman on a remote Siberian island.

This film takes a behind-the-scenes look at an indigenous shaman living on a remote Siberian island as he moves between intimate shamanic rituals performed for local clientele and shows performed at various resorts for Western tourists in search of "primitive" cultures. The film captures cross-cultural miscommunication as the shaman and tourists misunderstand one another, made all the more poignant by the conflict between the dominant Russian Orthodox Church and the local shamanic tradition. Meanwhile, a close look at the early Soviet archival footage of Siberian shamans raises questions about what remains hidden behind the cinematic image, exposing the gap between Western romantic fantasies and the actual plight suffered by contemporary indigenous peoples.