All Films • 9m 27s
A rural Bulgarian family fights to keep a millenia-old demon chasing festival alive. “Kukeri,” directed by Daniel Ali and Jake Schühle Lewis, is a mesmerizing portrait of an ancient tradition where elaborately costumed individuals make their way through local villages aiming to bring happiness and prosperity. The captivating images of the large, dancing figures in their swinging fur costumes with attached bells provide a sense of surreal joy, but the profile also benefits from getting to know the people in the suits. The family of four describe their inspiration and excitement for the ritual, a life-affirming depiction tapping into the spiritual and performative pleasures that connect past with present. Especially touching are the reflections of the family’s teenage daughter who delights in surprising onlookers they’re witnessing a woman under the costume, in a traditionally men-only ritual.
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