“The White Darkness,” a film by Richard Stanley

Last night I watched “The White Darkness,” a 2002 documentary by director Richard Stanley. Of the three Vodou documentaries I’ve viewed recently, this one was by far the most intriguing. Interspersed with footage of actual rites and possessions are interviews with the people who actually live and breathe Vodou on a daily basis: the Haitian practitioners themselves.

One practitioner stated that “spirit” is a Judeo-Christian way of thinking, and that in Haiti there are only the lwa. His description was quite different than those given in most of the books I’ve read:

Lwa is that energy that is transcendent through someone, maybe energy hidden within yourself that is liberated at some point.

Also interviewed during the film are Christian missionaries and U.S. armed forces personnel providing “humanitarian” aid. These segments create an interesting counterpoint to the Vodouist perspective, and also expose the prejudices and misconceptions about Vodou.

The film is brief at 52 minutes, and available for rental via Netflix. Anyone with a serious interest in Vodou should see it.


One Response to ““The White Darkness,” a film by Richard Stanley”

  1. Yes I thought that was interesting also…I never heard the lwa expressed in these words.

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