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"The Way of the Shaman Drum" film screening at ISCTE, Lisbon

19 April 2024

It is a pleasure to announce that the ISCTE team is involved in the organisation of the film screening of "The Way of the Shaman Drum" by João Meirinho on Wednesday 24 April from 14h30 to 16h (GMT +1) at Iscte - University Institute of Lisbon, Building 2, Auditorium B203. Sofia Gaspar will be chairing the rountable discussion to discuss the content of the film.



Yunde Guan followed his father to learn the drum production, and followed his mother and aunt to learn the art of Shaman paper cutting more than 50 years ago. He devoted his personal income to the inheritance of Manchu culture and established the "Guan Yunde Manchu folk custom museum" located in the Liu village in the Jilin Province. “The way of the shaman drum” follows his life during the production of one of his special drums until it’s able to be played through the lens of a foreigner director passionate about shamanism and its contemporary relevance in China and the world.


The original title for this film was: Tiao Tchin (跳神, literally means "spirit-jumping" or "god's dance") and it refers to Tiao Shen, the Chinese name of the Manchu shamanic ceremony. During the workshop, I was advised this name was not appropriate or allowed to be used in China. Furthermore, I was requested to delete a scene of the film, from 3:47 to 3:55, because it referred to the persecutions of the Chinese government of shamans and shamanism during the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1977. The absence of freedom of speech is one of the stereotypes Western countries have of China. I think Chinese people are very smart and aware of what they can and cannot share in public and, in my case, were overzealous and preferred "not to risk it". Either way, it was unfortunate to experience firsthand censorship in the XXI century even at such a small scale during my wonderful stay in this wonderful country.


Produced for LOOKING CHINA YOUTH FILM PROJECT 2017. Shot, edited, and subtitled in 8 days.

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