Trance Cinema - Fri. Nov 25 - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Trance Cinema, An Evening of Ritual and Trance Films from Bali and Indonesia. This program showcases remarkable, rarely seen award-winning films plus unique shorts exploring the unique cultural rituals and ceremonies of Bali and Indonesia. Films include Trance and Dance in Bali (1937-39), Island of the Spirits, Ma’Bugi: Trance of the Toraja, A Balinese Gong Orchestra (1971) and the cinema curio Belles of BaliTrance Cinema is part of a series of ongoing film programs exploring ritual, higher consciousness and altered states of awareness.

Date: Friday, November 25th at 8:00PM
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco

Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating - RSVP to: 415-558-8117 or


Trance and Dance in Bali (1937-39) The film was produced by Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead and records a performance of the Balinese ceremonial kris (dagger) dance-drama, which depicts the never-ending struggle between witch (death-dealing) and dragon (life-protecting), as it was given in the village of Pagoetan in the late 1930s. The dancers experience violent trance seizures, turn their krises against their breasts without injury, and are restored to consciousness with incense and holy water. Narrated by famed anthropologist Margaret Mead against a background of Balinese music. This “ecstatic ethnography” was an extraordinary effort to use film and photography in the field, and the precursor to much of the visual anthropology that has gone on since then

Island of the Spirits (1970s)
Among the Hindus of Bali, cremation is thought to release the soul for its journey to Nirwana. The joyous and spectacular ceremony shown in Island of the Spirits is reserved for high-born princes today. Hugely costly, the preparations for the cremation of Prince Sudharsana include the building of fantastic effigies and a tower nine stories high. Eight hundred men carry the tower in procession through the hundred thousand celebrants. The body of his small granddaughter and the souls of twenty-seven villagers accompany the prince. At the close of this long and auspicious day, when towers and effigies together with coffins, food, money, and incense have long been consumed by flames, when the crowds have departed, the ashes of the dead will be cast into the sea. Only then will the newly liberated spirits rise unrestrained to join the heavenly soul of all the universe, Nirwana.


Ma’Bugi: Trance of the Toraja This film depicts an unusual trance ritual that functions to restore the balance of well-being to an afflicted village community. The film communicates both the psychological abandon of the trance state and the often neglected motivation underlying activities such as the ascent of a ladder of knives and the supernatural curing of the chronically ill. Ma’Bugi portrays the song, dance and pulsating tension that precede dramatic instances of spirit possession in the Toraja highlands Sulawesi (Celebes) Island, Indonesia.

A Balinese Gong Orchestra (1971)
A film explaining the famous "Gamelan Gong" that includes the orchestra Tunjuk. Each instrument is described and explained, then the orchestra performs a piece taken from the Ramayana ballet suite (written in the 1950s and based on traditional themes). An excellent introduction to this kind of strange and exciting music to Western ears.


Belles of Bali (1930s)
An unusual curio examining the female culture and day to day activities of “exotified” Balinese women.